Preview: Virginia Film Festival

by | Nov 3, 2009 | COMMUNITY

This year the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville has welcomed a new leader. Veteran film festival director, filmmaker and actor Jody Kielbasa has joined the University of Virginia as the new director of the Virginia Film Festival. Kielbasa comes to the University from Sarasota, Fla., where for the last decade he served as the founding executive director of the Sarasota Film Festival. Under his leadership, that festival became one of the top regional film festivals in the United States.

This year’s Festival is a celebration of Virginia filmmaking. In fact, the festival opens with a very special and unique Virginia film, Marching Band, created and directed by acclaimed French director Claude Miller.

You can support Virginia film, AND Virginia’s oldest film festival by coming to Charlottesville for this year’s Festival!

· Marching Band: (Nov. 5, 7 pm) This French documentary opens the 2009 Festival and follows the last three months of Barack Obama’s presidential election campaign through the lens of the two marching bands of University of Virginia and Virginia State University. Young American voters made history during the election, and students were involved in the campaigns like never before.

· Tenure and Neighborhood Watch (Nov. 5, 10 PM; Nov. 6, 5PM) English professor Charlie Thurber is up for tenure at Grey College and the timing couldn’t be worse. The film, directed by 1993 UVA alum Mike Million, has stirred a great deal of buzz as academics anticipate how the film will deal with the unique process of gaining tenure. It is paired with Neighborhood Watch, winner of the 2009 Richmond 48 Hour Film Project. This locally-made comic short sets a major dog poop problem within the detective cop genre.

· 9500 Liberty (Nov. 6, 5 PM) Prince William County, Virginia becomes ground zero in America’s explosive battle over immigration policy when elected officials adopt a law requiring police officers to question anyone they have “probable cause” to suspect is an undocumented immigrant.

· UVA Alumni Shorts (Nov. 7, 10 AM) This series of seven short films directed by recent UVA alumni demonstrates the talent and creativity of Wahoos breaking into the film industry. From science fiction to historical drama to romantic comedy, these films demonstrate an astounding variety of themes and the Virginia Film Festival is excited to bring them together at the home of their directors’ alma mater.

· Virginia Creepers (Nov. 7, 2:30 PM) Virginia Creepers examines more than 50 years of television horror hosting in the Commonwealth of Virginia as a reflection of a national cultural phenomenon.

· Bedford: The Town They Left Behind: (Nov. 7, 5 pm) During World War II, Bedford, Virginia had the country’s highest losses per capita on D-Day after a group of young Bedford soldiers were the first to come under the fire of German artillery. History repeats itself when the same National Guard unit suffers loses in the wars with Iraq and Afghanistan.

· With These Hands: (Nov. 7, 5 pm) This powerful documentary tells the tale of the aftermath of the closing of the Hooker Furniture Co. factory in Martinsville, Virginia.

· Locked Out: The Fall of Massive Resistance (Nov. 7, 5 PM): After the US Supreme Court mandated that all schools be desegregated, the Virginia government instead chose to lead a movement called Massive Resistance that locked students out and left a permanent scar across most of the South.

· Adrenaline Film Project: (November 7, 10 PM; Nov 8, 10:45 AM.) The always popular festival tradition returns, this time with a Saturday night premiere and an encore the following morning. Twelve groups of filmmakers write, shoot, and edit short films in 72 hours during the Film Festival.

· Claw: Documentary and Lullaby: (Nov. 17, 11:15 PM) Fighting like a girl isn’t a problem for the Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers. These women are sexy, tough, glamorous, and sometimes drunk, but never delicate. Calling into question preconceived notions of femininity and sportsmanship, this is a celebration of Charlottesville’s sporting phenomenon.

Of course, Virginia based films are only a part of this year’s festival. Classic films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington share the screen with today’s newest films such as AJ Schnack’s Convention, a Toronto FilmFestival favorite Youth in Revolt. Cult underground filmmaker John Waters will be on hand to introduce Hairspray, and film and stage star Matthew Broderick will introduce his newest film Wonderful World. Monty Python, The Little Mermaid, My Man Godfrey and His Girl Friday, Alan Ball, American Beauty and True Blood are just a sampling of the many exceptional films scheduled for this year’s Festival. Tickets are available online, and it is advisable to purchase them in advance. For a complete schedule, festival information or to purchase tickets, visit the Festival at

RVA Staff

RVA Staff

Since 2005, the dedicated team at RVA Magazine, known as RVA Staff, has been delivering the cultural news that matters in Richmond, VA. This talented group of professionals is committed to keeping you informed about the events and happenings in the city.

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