Virginia Film Society Kicks Off Fall Season with "Flash of Genius"

August 29, 2008

Aug. 29, 2008 — The Virginia Film Society, the year-round program of the Virginia Film Festival, begins its fall season with a special screening of "Flash of Genius." The screening, to be held Sept. 16 at 7 p.m. at Vinegar Hill Theatre, will include a live teleconference interview with director Marc Abraham.

The film comes to Charlottesville fresh from the Toronto Film Festival and in advance of its October release by Universal Pictures.

"Flash of Genius" is Abraham's directorial debut feature. The University of Virginia alumnus and long-term member of the Virginia Film Festival Advisory Board previously produced "Children of Men," "Air Force One," "The Commitments" and numerous other hit films.

"We like to launch the Film Society with previews of new releases produced by our board members, like 'The Jane Austen Book Club' and 'Hollywoodland' in the last two years," said Virginia Film Festival artistic director Richard Herskowitz.

"Marc has good reason to be proud," he added. "His film is also screening in September at two of the most prestigious fall festivals, Toronto and Telluride."

Based on the true story of Robert Kearns (Greg Kinnear), a college professor and part-time inventor who battled the U.S. auto industry, "Flash of Genius" tells the tale of one man whose fight to receive recognition for his ingenuity comes at a heavy price. The film also stars Lauren Graham, Dermot Mulroney and Alan Alda.

The season continues Sept. 23 with the return of the popular "The Manhattan Short Film Festival" and will be followed by "Operation Filmmaker" on Oct. 7; "Waltz with Bashir," which will screen during the Virginia Film Festival, Oct. 30 through Nov. 2; "Our Disappeared (Nuestros Desaparecidos)" on Nov. 11; and "Documenting the Face of America: Roy Stryker and the FSA/OWI Photographers" on Dec. 2.

The Virginia Film Society is presented by the Virginia Film Festival with major support from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

Most screenings feature guest speakers. Screenings are held at 7 p.m. at Vinegar Hill Theatre, 220 Market St., in downtown Charlottesville Admission is free to Film Society members.

Tickets for remaining seats will be available at the box office for $9 each 30 minutes before the screening.

A full-year membership in the Virginia Film Society is $60 ($50 for students and seniors). Membership benefits include admission to Film Society screenings throughout the year, one free pass to Regal Cinemas, $2 off Mondays at Sneak Reviews and $6 Tuesday movies at Vinegar Hill Theatre. In addition, the first 20 applicants will receive a vintage Film Festival T-shirt.

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(All events 7 p.m. at Vinegar Hill Theater, 220 Market St., Charlottesville, unless otherwise noted)

  • Sept. 16: "FLASH OF GENIUS" with live teleconference interview with director Marc Abraham
    Based on the true story of college professor and part-time inventor Robert Kearns' (Greg Kinnear) long battle with the U.S. automobile industry, the film tells the tale of one man whose fight to receive recognition for his ingenuity would come at a heavy price. The film also stars Lauren Graham, Dermot Mulroney, and Alan Alda.
    The most creative short films in the world, judged by the cinema-going public around the world. Audience members in Charlottesville and 50 other cities within a 10-day period, will be asked to vote for the one film they feel should win the festival. Last year's program delighted the audience and according to Virginia Film Festival artistic director Richard Herskowitz, the quality of this year's selection of films is certain to be exceptionally strong.
  • Oct. 7: "OPERATION FILMMAKER" with director Nina Davenport
    Davenport chronicles two years in the troublesome life of aspiring Iraqi filmmaker Muthana Mohmed. Offered a position on the set of "Everything Is Illuminated" after director Liev Schreiber saw an MTV report on the young filmmaker’s plight in Iraq, Mohmed proves generally incompetent and squanders opportunity after opportunity. Far from the feel-good story one would expect given Schreiber’s noble intentions, Davenport's film is a painfully aware examination of another failed American mission in Iraq.
  • Oct. 30- Nov. 2 (time and location to be announced): "WALTZ WITH BASHIR"
    Ari Folman's animated documentary feature recounts the 1982 invasion of Lebanon through both his own eyes and those of his comrades in a delirious mix of facts, half-remembrances and dreams. The result is startling personal and brutally honest. As inventive as it is intelligent, this Israeli film proved to be one of the major revelations at Cannes this year and is due to be released later this year by Sony Pictures Classics.
  • Nov. 11: "OUR DISAPPEARED (NUESTROS DESAPARECIDOS)" with director Juan Mandelbaum
    After learning that Patricia, a long-lost girlfriend from Argentina, is among the thousands who were kidnapped, tortured and then "disappeared" by the military during the 1976-83 dictatorship, director Juan Mandelbaum embarks on a journey to find out what happened to her and others he knew who mysteriously vanished. Mandelbaum combines extraordinary archival footage and contemporary interviews with parents, siblings, friends and children of the disappeared to unearth the buried past.
    Narrated by Julian Bond, this documentary brings to life the remarkable stories behind the legendary group of New Deal-sponsored photographers who traversed the country in the 1930s and early '40s, chronicling the lives of Americans — rich and poor, urban and rural, black and white — to create one of the most astonishing documentary portraits of America ever compiled. The film features the personal vision and the struggles experienced by photographers Gordon Parks, Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Walker Evans, Marion Post Wolcott and Jack Delano, who created some of the most iconic images in documentary history.