Virginia Film Festival

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Coordinates: 38°1′51.2″N 78°29′0.2″W / 38.030889°N 78.483389°W / 38.030889; -78.483389 The Virginia Film Festival is hosted by the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, held usually in late October or early November.


Created in October 1988,[1] the Virginia Festival of American Film (renamed The Virginia Film Festival) was endorsed by the state's Department of Economic Development and adopted by the University of Virginia. The intent was twofold: to stimulate economic development by encouraging film production in Virginia and increasing tourism, and to meld the creative interests and crafts of the American film industry with the intellectual resources of a nationally ranked university.

In 1996, the festival was affiliated with the drama department of the U of VA. In 2002, the Festival moved to the Dean's office in the College of Arts and Science and then to the media studies department. The Festival's focus was expanded to encompass a broader range of international films, year-round programs and a very active Film Society that presents films and guest speakers at the downtown Vinegar Hill Theatre.

The first two premieres at the festival were Child's Play and Mystic Pizza.[1]

In 2009, Jody Kielbasa, the founding director of the Sarasota Film Festival, was brought on as the new director of the Virginia Film Festival.[2]

From 1990 through 2009, Virginia Film Festival chose a different theme each year, on which to base its film program. Past themes are listed below. Starting in 2010, the Festival announced its intention to leave the themed approach in favor of more flexible programming. The VFF celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2012.[3][4]

  • 1990 - "Music & The Movies"
  • 1991 - "Movie Made In America"
  • 1992 - "The Reel South & Other Worlds"
  • 1993 - "Film Noir"
  • 1994 - "Love & Other Obsessions"
  • 1995 - "U.S. & Them"
  • 1996 - "Wild Spaces, Endangered Places"
  • 1997 - "Caged!"
  • 1998 - "Cool"
  • 1999 - "Techno Visions"
  • 2000 - "Animal Attractions"
  • 2001 - "Masquerades"
  • 2002 - "Wet"
  • 2003 - "$$$"
  • 2004 - "Speed"
  • 2005 - "In/Justice"
  • 2006 - "Revelations"
  • 2007 - "Kin Flicks"
  • 2008 - "Aliens!"
  • 2009 - "Funny Business"

Venues that have hosted the festival include the Paramount Theater, the Violet Crown and Vinegar Hill theaters in downtown Charlottesville, Morvern Farm in eastern Abermarle County and facilities at the University of Virginia.[5][6]

Films & Guests[edit]

Notable screenings have included a 25th Anniversary tribute to In the Heat of the Night and Sidney Poitier; Distinguished Filmmaker presentations to Robert Altman, John Sayles, Emile de Antonio, and Arthur Penn; and Roger Ebert's “shot by shot” workshops on classics such as Vertigo, Sunset Boulevard, and The Third Man. Memorable premiere events have included an advance screening of Mother & Child with actress Cherry Jones and director Rodrigo Garcia; and a live producer's commentary of the show True Blood featuring its creator Alan Ball.

Notable guests have included Jimmy Stewart, Fay Wray, Gregory Peck, Ossie Davis, Nick Nolte, Norman Mailer, Jerzy Kosinski, Sissy Spacek, William Kennedy, Ann Beattie, Sandra Bullock, Nicolas Cage, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Mitchum, Gov. Doug Wilder, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Richard Roundtree, Jack Valenti, bank robber John Wojtowicz[1] Vanessa Redgrave, Gena Rowlands, William Styron, Ross McElwee, Matthew Broderick, John Waters, Norman Jewison, Cherry Jones, Mary Badham, Horton Foote, Sherman Brothers, who wrote all the songs for Mary Poppins, Tony Goldwin, Robert Duvall, Calder Willingham, Christoph Waltz, Peter Bogdanovich, Allen Hughes, Martin Luther King III, Derrick Borte, Robbie Jones,[7] Ethan Hawke, Annete Bening, Terry McAulife, Diane Rehm, Vince Gilligan,[8] Wanuri Kahui, Liana Liberato, Ann Dowd, Steven J. Kung, Ric Burns, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Shelly Chopra Dhar, Dennis Christopher, Kevin Jerome Everson, John Grisham, Debra Martin Chase, Patrick O’Connell, Kwaku Alston, Jamelle Bouie, Soraya Nadia McDonald, Alonso Duralde,[9] Jeremy O. Harris, Martha Plimpton,[10] Danny Strong, Carlos Aguilar, Robert Daniels, William Antholis.[11]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Provence, Lisa (2007-10-01). "COVER- Back story: 20 years of stars, screenings and survival at the Virginia Film Festival". Retrieved 2021-10-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "Virginia Film Festival". Virginia Film Festival. 2019-08-29. Retrieved 2021-10-08.
  3. ^ "Virginia Film Festival Announces Silver Anniversary Program". UVA Today. 2012-10-02. Retrieved 2021-10-08.
  4. ^ "History & Mission - Virginia Film Festival". 2015-07-28. Archived from the original on 2015-07-28. Retrieved 2021-10-08.
  5. ^ Webb, rew; NBC29. "Virginia Film Festival holding events online and drive-in movies". WHSV. Retrieved 2021-10-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Mahmud, Miranda (2021-09-17). "Feel Good Friday: Virginia Film Festival returning". Retrieved 2021-10-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ "Special Guests - Virginia Film Festival". 2018-10-20. Archived from the original on 2018-10-20. Retrieved 2021-10-08.
  8. ^ Kelly, John (2020-10-06). "Virginia Film Festival Announces Program, Combining Virtual and Drive-In Offerings". UVA Today. Retrieved 2021-10-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ "Special Guests - Virginia Film Festival". 2020-09-18. Archived from the original on 2020-09-18. Retrieved 2021-10-08.
  10. ^ Kelly, John (2021-09-28). "Film Festival Highlights: Martha Plimpton, 'Dopesick' and Wes Anderson's Latest". UVA Today. Retrieved 2021-10-08.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Special Guests - Virginia Film Festival". 2021-09-30. Archived from the original on 2021-09-30. Retrieved 2021-10-08.