Second Place: James River Film Festival
Third Place: Environmental Film Festival
Peter and Françoise Kirkpatrick's exhaustive celebration of French cinema marked its 20th anniversary earlier this year with an expanded program of exclusive screenings. And for the second year in a row it takes the top festival prize from readers. Held inside the historic Byrd Theatre, the event has allowed area audiences — and jet-setting out-of-towners — to experience a wide assortment of modern French films that never get screened here (or anywhere in the United States) and to meet the filmmakers and discuss the art of the craft. Thanks to the Kirkpatricks' expert curative efforts, it's almost always good stuff (the French did invent cinema, you know — as we're constantly reminded). The James River Film Society's annual James River Film Festival is another springtime treasure for movie-lovers, showcasing lost classics and the best in underground cinema on screens across the city. Also housed in the Byrd, the green Environmental Film Festival takes third.