Virginia Film Festival is once again bringing the best in film to Charlottesville this year with more than 150 films and 100 special guests highlighted by two-time Academy Award-winner Christoph Waltz.
Waltz burst on the Hollywood scene with his unforgettable performance as Austrian S.S. Colonel Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds in 2009 – a role that earned him a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Waltz repeated the feat just three years later, earning the Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe and Oscar as bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz in Tarantino’s Django Unchained. These triumphs launched Waltz to the forefront of the film scene, where he has been featured in a string of high-profile roles including Bond nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld in 2015’s Spectre and Dusan Mirkovic in 2017’s Alexander Payne film Downsizing. Downsizing, which opened last year’s VAFF, was produced by Academy Award-winning producer and Virginia Film Festival Advisory Board Chair Mark Johnson, who will moderate a conversation with the actor for “A Tribute to Christoph Waltz” at The Paramount Theater on Saturday, November 3 at 1:00 PM.
Waltz will be joined by a host of other film industry luminaries at this this year’s VAFF, including noted writer/directorAllen Hughes and Turner Classic Movies’ Ben Mankiewicz.
Allen Hughes will be serving as a guest programmer at this year’s VAFF. He will be presenting the Orson Welles’ film F for Fake which Hughes has cited as a major influence on his approach to filmmaking. Hughes will also present and discuss his popular HBO docuseries The Defiant Ones, which profiles the unlikely, and often contentious, music mogul partnership between Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Hughes will also be on hand for a special screening of Menace II Society, Hughes’ and his brother Albert’s directorial debut. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Hughes moderated by VAFF advisory board member and star of ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19, Jason George.
TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz will return to Charlottesville once again to present a series of classic films. He will present the recently completed Orson Welles’ film, The Other Side of the Wind. After laying on the cutting room floor for over forty years, the film was completed by Welles’ close friend and collaborator, Peter Bogdanovich. Mankiewicz will introduce a pair of classic horror films celebrating anniversaries this year. George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, made in 1968, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Its influence is still greatly felt in the critically acclaimed horror films of recent years. Mankiewicz will also present a screening of Bride of Frankenstein. This year marks the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s genre-defining novel, Frankenstein.
Additional guests include documentary filmmaker Alexis Bloom (Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes), filmmaker Michelle Jackson (Another Slave Narrative), and actor Robbie Jones (American Dreamer). A full list of guests can be found at virginiafilmfestival.org/special-guests.
The Festival recently announced four exciting additions to its 2018 film program. Julian Schnabel’s At Eternity’s Gate will screen on Friday, November 2 at 4:00 PM at The Paramount Theater. At Eternity’s Gate features Willem Dafoe as painter Vincent van Gogh in the last years of his life. Schnabel, a painter himself in addition to his film career, marries the dueling mediums of impressionism and photography to bring us an imagined vision of how van Gogh might have seen the world. The documentary Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. which follows controversial rapper and activist M.I.A. on her rise to fame and utilizes much of her personal footage, will screen on Saturday, November 3 at 8:30 PM at Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas. On Sunday, November 4 at 4:00 PM at The Paramount Theater. the Festival will present Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk. Jenkins, who won an Oscar two years ago for his film Moonlight, brings his trademark vivid imagery and sensitive touch to this adaption of a James Baldwin novel.
The world premiere of the new documentary Virginia 12th will take place at this year’s Festival. The film tells the story of Chris Hurst, who was suddenly and tragically thrust into the limelight in 2015 when his fiancée and fellow reporter Alison Parker and their colleague, Adam Ward, were murdered during a live broadcast of the morning news. The film follows Hurst after he quits journalism and enters the world of politics by running for state delegate in Virginia’s deeply-divided 12th House District. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion in which Hurst will be joined by the film’s director, Salem, Virginia native Tim Johnson; Athan Stephanopoulos, president of the producer, NowThis; and Leslie Cockburn, the Democratic candidate to represent Virginia’s 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
While the Festival has no shortage of high-profile films that have been making their rounds on the festival circuit, there are plenty of hidden gems not to be missed. Capernaum is the story of a 12-year old runaway who sues his parents for giving him life. The film won the Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Border is an unlikely romance from the writer of the cult film Let the Right One In which follows the relationship between two people with troll-like features. Karenina and I is a documentary on a woman who learns Russian in order to play Anna Karenina, the role of her dreams. The film features interspersed scenes of Liam Neeson as Leo Tolstoy.
The 31st annual Virginia Film Festival will take place November 1-4, 2018 in Charlottesville and will include more than 150 films and over 100 industry guests from around the world.
Tickets to the Festival are available at virginiafilmfestival.org and during the Festival at the Festival Headquarters located inside Violet Crown on the Downtown Mall and at the UVA Arts Box Office in the lobby of the UVA Drama Building. The Virginia Film Festival is a program of the University of Virginia.