November 4th marks the start of the 22nd Annual Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville, VA. The films, spread between six area theaters, range from the classic Mr Smith Goes To Washington to John Waters cult Classics Hairspray and Pink Flamingoes with plenty in between to entertain a wide range of audiences.
The festival runs through Sunday night with parties and panels from the “Pope of Trash” John Waters, actor Matthew Broderick, and Academy Award winning writer and director Alan Ball of the HBO series True Blood. A wide range of UVa professors will also lead panels on Death at a Funeral, Monty Python’s Holy Grail, Some Like it Hot, Transamerica, Do the Right Thing and more. Joining the Virginia Film Festival as the new director is Jody Kielbasa. He was previously the director of the successful Sarasota
Film Festival and replaces Richard Herskowitz who served as artistic director
for 15 years. I spoke with Jody as he shared his vision for moving the festival forward. After joining the festival, he immediately took to the “funny business” theme by adding in films that shine lights on the humor of business, elections and the business of humor as well. This approach gives “funny” a more layered approach than mere comedy by shining lights on other forms of “funny business” which have become common throughout politics, business and society. “More than anything, I want to see more contemporary films, and to engage the community by shining a light on the local films and filmmakers who have added so much to the area.” The festival also highlights Charlottesville films and filmmakers featured, like Charlottesville Kitchen Killers and CLAW (about the Charlottesville Lady Arm Wrestlers). A Digital Media Lounge on the mall that will be open from Friday through Sunday featuring the work of a number of young filmmakers in the area including several from UVa. The Digital Media Lounge is free to the public. Another great story is the Adrenaline Film Project. Now in its seventh year, the AFP is a 72-hour filmmaking blitz headed up by Charlottesville’s own Jeff Wadlow. A collection of teams are given a theme for their film and a prop and a line they must work into their film, then must go out and write, direct, edit and show their work by Saturday evening’s 10PM screening. It’s a great, high energy event and an annual highlight of the festival. Panels and discussion are free and tickets for the rest of the event can be purchased from the Virginia Film Festival web site at http://www.vafilm.com/tickets/ The full film schedule is located at http://www.vafilm.com/schedule/ By Dave Saunders