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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Field of Dreams Fest Moved to Altria

Friday show featuring Charles Bradley begins at 6:30 p.m.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 7:30 PM

Like Baudelaire's swan, Charles Bradley cranes his neck toward the sky as if to wonder, "Water, water, why do you fall so hard" every time he comes to Richmond.
  • Like Baudelaire's swan, Charles Bradley cranes his neck toward the sky as if to wonder, "Water, water, why do you fall so hard" every time he comes to Richmond.

Originally scheduled for the Diamond on Friday, Oct. 2, the Field of Dreams fest featuring soul man Charles Bradley and the Congress has been moved to Altria Theatre. Tickets are still available but the time has changed -- see below.

From the press release:

The RVA Field of Dreams Fest scheduled for this Friday at The Diamond has been moved to Altria Theater starting at 6:30 pm due to inclement weather forecasts. RVA Field of Dreams Fest features music, craft beer and local cuisine with musical appearances by Charles Bradley, Black Joe Lewis, and The Congress.

Advanced non-tasting tickets are $25 and tasting tickets are $30 (plus applicable fees) with day-of tickets at $35. Tickets are available online www.ETIX.com and charge by phone (800) 514-3849 (ETIX). ADA seating tickets are available. Box office hours are Monday through Friday from 10 am to 5 pm and two hours before performances. For additional show and venue information visit www.AltriaTheater.com.

The Barton Malow Foundation, Flying Squirrels Charities, and RIR Cares have come together to create this fun-filled event! We invite you to join us for live music, a selection of craft breweries and local cuisine.

Proceeds will go towards our mission of "Renovating Richmond's Recreation," ultimately renovating Richmond's inner-city youth baseball facilities. This initiative will enhance the baseball experience for youth within city limits, so they may benefit from the many life lessons the all-American game has to offer.

Virginia Film Festival Announced

Includes "Mercy Street" preview and Richmond film artists Rick Alverson and Devin Druid.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 30, 2015 at 12:01 AM

Opening night film at the 28th Virginia Film Festival features "I Saw The Light," the Hank Williams biopic starring Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen.
  • Opening night film at the 28th Virginia Film Festival features "I Saw The Light," the Hank Williams biopic starring Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen.

And the winner for biggest press release so far this week? The Virginia Film Festival and it's announcement of the 28th annual festival to be held Nov. 5 through 8 in Charlottesville. Should be a nice little fall weekend getaway -- and the real good news? Some rising Richmond film artists are in the fray.

There's over 100 films and guests including Meg Ryan, who will present her feature "Ithaca" shot in Virginia, as well as director Oliver Stone, veteran critic Leonard Maltin and noted writer and activist Larry Kramer.

Devin Druid, the talented young actor from Richmond, will also be there to speak after his big Cannes favorite, "Louder Than Bombs" -- where he was named a breakout star for his performance alongside Jesse Eisenberg ("The Social Network"). The film screens on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 1:00 pm, with discussion to follow. Tickets go on sale this Friday, Oct. 2.

Here's the trailer which features Druid.

Druid's mother tells me via email that her son is currently having a great time filming "Imperium" locally with Daniel Radcliffe.

"Everyone is lovely. Seth Numrich, from 'TURN' [and our current cover feature] is also in the film, as are Tracy Letts and Toni Colette," his mom tells me via e-mail. "Devin's little brother, Aidan Fiske, also landed a smaller supporting role and will have a scene with Daniel."

Also, Richmond filmmaker Rick Alverson will be there to present his acclaimed new film, "Entertainment," starring Gregg Turkington, otherwise known as comedian Neil Hamburger.

Another spotlight screening that should be highly anticipated is Todd Haynes' "Carol" starring Cate Blanchett.

Some other highlights from the fest include the opening night film, the Hank Williams biopic "I Saw The Light" starring Tom Hiddleston and a sneak preview of the new PBS Civil War drama "Mercy Street" which is being shot locally.

Put your comfy pants on, pull up a chair. Here's the full release and schedule:

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – September 29, 2015 – The Virginia Film Festival returns to Charlottesville for its 28th year from November 5-8 with a collection of more than 100 films ranging from highly-anticipated first-run features to compelling documentaries as well as new works by the industry’s most exciting up-and-coming filmmakers and outstanding films from around the world, and right here in Virginia.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

This year’s guest list will be highlighted by actor Meg Ryan with her directorial debut Ithaca, filmed in Virginia; legendary director Oliver Stone; noted writer and activist Larry Kramer (The Normal Heart); celebrated film critic and historian Leonard Maltin; Emmy Award®-winning actor Cherry Jones; actor Scott Haze in his directorial debut documentary Mully, along with Academy Award®-winning filmmaker James Moll; actor Maddie Hasson; and cast members from the upcoming filmed-in-Virginia PBS Civil War dramatic series Mercy Street, including Norbert Leo Butz (Bloodline); Tara Summers (Boston Legal), and Central Virginia native Hannah James.

“This year’s Virginia Film Festival will offer audiences an incredibly strong program of films that once again run the gamut of cinematic experiences. We are thrilled to welcome back Oliver Stone for a conversation about his extraordinary Academy Award-winning film Born on the Fourth of July. We are honored to be hosting Meg Ryan in celebration of her directorial debut and are looking forward to showcasing another Virginia production, the new PBS Civil War dramatic series Mercy Street. And we are honored to welcome the Tony® and Emmy® -winning writer and LGBT activist Larry Kramer, who has for decades stopped at nothing to help gay men and women literally fight for their lives.”

Along with the headline names, Kielbasa said, comes a reaffirmed commitment to cinematic discovery. “We have, as always, focused on creating a program that is as deep and broad as the interests and passions of our unique VFF audiences, and have further expanded our efforts to share new voices and talents with our audiences by bringing in a wide array of emerging filmmakers working across a vast landscape of genres, styles, and topics.”

Opening Night Film: "I Saw the Light"

Opening the 2015 Festival, on Thursday, November 5 at 7:00 PM, will be I Saw the Light, the Hank Williams film from director Marc Abraham that chronicles the country music legend’s meteoric rise to fame and its tragic consequences on a life cut short at the age of only 29. The film stars Tom Hiddleston in the lead role and Elizabeth Olsen as Williams’ wife Audrey Mae, and is directed by Marc Abraham, a University of Virginia alumnus and VFF Advisory Board member. Marc will be on hand to present the film along with cast members including theater legend and Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Cherry Jones, and rising Hollywood star Maddie Hasson, who plays Williams’ second wife and widow. “We are delighted to share this film with our audiences,” Kielbasa said “and to celebrate a University of Virginia alumnus and his film, which shines a light on the incredible legacy and troubled life of one of America’s most renowned musical figures.”

Centerpiece Film: "The Lady in the Van"

The legendary Maggie Smith stars in this funny, poignant, and life-affirming true story about an elderly woman of uncertain origins who “temporarily” parked in the London driveway of acclaimed writer Alan Bennett (History Boys) …and proceeded to stay for 15 years. The film is directed by longtime Bennett collaborator Nicholas Hytner (The Madness of King George), and also stars Alex Jennings and Jim Broadbent.

Closing Night Film: Son of Saul

Hungarian director László Nemes’ astonishing directorial debut created an international sensation when it captured the Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. The film offers a raw and rarely-seen first-person perspective on the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust through the story of a Jewish prisoner and Sonderkommando worker forced to work in a Nazi crematorium. When the man comes across the body of a boy he takes to be his son, he embarks on the impossible task of saving the body from the flames, finding a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish, and offering the boy a proper burial.

"Ithaca" – Featuring Special Guest Meg Ryan

The famed actor’s directorial debut, filmed in Virginia, tells the story of a 14-year-old boy in 1942 working as a bike messenger to deliver messages of love, hope, pain…and death, to the people of Ithaca, and how he deals with one particular message that will change him forever. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Saroyan’s 1943 novel The Human Comedy, Ithaca is a coming-of-age story about the exuberance of youth, the abruptness of change, the sweetness of life, the sting of death, and the sheer goodness that lives in each and every one of us.

Oliver Stone – "Born on the Fourth of July"

The Virginia Film Festival welcomes back legendary director Oliver Stone for a special screening and discussion of his powerful Academy Award-winning film adaptation of the bestselling book by famed Vietnam veteran turned ardent anti-war activist Ron Kovic. Mr. Stone wrote the film’s screenplay with Kovic and received a Best Director Academy Award for the film, which earned eight Oscar® nominations and won four Golden Globe Awards®. Mr. Stone will be featured in a discussion with noted educator, author, and Vietnam War expert Robert Toplin.

Special Event – An Evening with Larry Kramer

The VFF is honored to welcome the distinguished American playwright and LGBT rights activist Larry Kramer for a pair of events at this year’s Festival. Mr. Kramer will be on hand for a discussion of the acclaimed HBO documentary Larry Kramer in Love and Anger on Sunday, November 8 at Newcomb Hall Theater. Later that afternoon at Old Cabell Hall, the Festival will present “An Evening with Larry Kramer,” a wide-ranging talk about his remarkable career and life, at Old Cabell Hall later that afternoon. Mr. Kramer is one of the most dynamic and influential forces for political activism, gay rights, public health policy, and AIDS awareness, and is renowned for both his ardent social activism and literary achievements. At the root of both is his life-long commitment to criticizing gay apathy and government and social indifference to AIDS. He is the founder of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, an AIDS service organization, and ACT UP, a widely effective direct action AIDS advocacy group. His most acclaimed plays include The Normal Heart (1985) and the Pulitzer Prize-finalist The Destiny of Me (1992).The recent revival of The Normal Heart in May, 2014 won three Tony Awards including Best Play, and the HBO television adaptation that same year earned the Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie.

Leonard Maltin

Celebrated critic and film historian Leonard Maltin comes to the Virginia Film Festival for the first time to guest program a number of films and to be a part of the annual VFF and the Library of Congress. series. Mr. Maltin’s guest programmer appearances include a conversation with the legendary animator Bill Plympton after a screening of his celebrated film Cheatin’. Maltin will also present a screening of the Academy Award-nominated film Songcatcher followed by a conversation with director, Maggie Greenwald. In addition, Mr. Maltin, a voting member of the National Film Registry, will present hand-picked, restored 35mm prints from the Library of Congress archives in Culpeper of The Maltese Falcon (1941) and Employees’ Entrance (1933).

"Mercy Street"

The Festival will present a sneak preview of an episode of the upcoming PBS television drama Mercy Street. Set to debut following Downton Abbey on Sunday, January 17, the six-part series was produced in and around Richmond, Virginia. Part medical drama, part family saga, the series is based on true stories and is set in Alexandria, Virginia, the longest Union- occupied town of the war. The show follows two volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the Civil War; Mary Phinney, (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) a staunch New England abolitionist, and Emma Green, (Charlottesville-area native Hannah James), a naive young Confederate belle, who collide at Mansion House, the Green family’s luxury hotel that has been taken over by the Union and transformed into an Army Hospital. The world of Mansion House is a complex one populated by doctors, nurses, corrupt officials, soldiers, spies, escaped slaves, speculators, and more. Juxtaposed with the hospital is the story of the Green family, southern loyalists who have stubbornly chosen to stay in their hometown despite the occupation. The intersection of North and South within the confines of a small occupied city creates a rich world that is chaotic, conflicted, corrupt, dynamic and even hopeful. The screening will be followed by a discussion with several Mercy Street cast members including Hannah James, Norbert Leo Butz (Bloodline), Cherry Jones (24), and Tara Summers (Boston Legal) along with one of the series’ Executive Producers Lisa Quijano Wolfinger, and renowned U.Va. Civil War expert Gary Gallagher.

Spotlight Screenings

"Carol" – Set in 1952 New York, this new film from award-winning director Todd Haynes tells the story of an aspiring young photographer (Rooney Mara) whose chance department store encounter with an older, married woman (Cate Blanchett) sparks a relationship that changes both of their lives forever.

"Entertainment" – Richmond, Virginia native Rick Alverson presents this nightmarish account of an entertainer on the brink as an aging comedian tours a series of fourth-rate venues in the California desert while trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter. Director Alverson will be on hand for a post-film discussion.

"In Transit" – The final project of the late legendary documentarian Albert Maysles takes viewers on a journey into the hearts and minds of everyday passengers aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder, America’s busiest long-distance train route, capturing a beautiful portrait of America told in gorgeous landscapes and fascinating interconnected vignettes. Lamb – A man’s journey to self-discovery, fueled by the disintegration of his marriage and death of his father, takes an unexpected detour when he meets an awkward and unpopular eleven-year-old girl who he takes on a mountain road trip that affects them both in surprising ways. The film’s writer, director and star Ross Partridge will be on hand for a discussion of the film.

"Last Days in the Desert" – Ewan McGregor plays Jesus and The Devil in an imagined chapter from his 40 days in the desert that finds the two tangling over the fate of a family in crisis in this latest film from director Rodrigo Garcia and produced by U.Va. alumna Julie Lynn and her producing partner Bonnie Curtis at Mockingbird Pictures. Lynn will be on hand for a discussion of the film.

"A Light Beneath Their Feet" – A high school senior must choose between going to college and taking care of her bipolar mother (played by Taryn Manning) in this film starring Maddie Hasson, who will be on hand to participate in a discussion of the film.

"Louder Than Bombs" – Writer/director Joachim Trier’s drama follows a father (Gabriel Byrne) and his two sons, played by Jesse Eisenberg and Devin Druid, as they confront their very different memories of their wife and mother, a famed war photographer. Druid will be on hand to discuss the film along with its producer, VFF Advisory Board member Ron Yerxa. Mully – Actor Scott Haze, a graduate of The Miller School in Albemarle County, makes his directorial debut with this inspiring story of Charles Mully, a one-time Kenyan orphan who rose to great wealth and power then risked it all to launch a foundation dedicated to creating a better life for orphans in the country today. Haze will be on hand for a discussion of the film along with the film’s executive producer, Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Moll.

Project Greenlight Film – Enjoy a sneak peek at the result of HBO’s acclaimed documentary series about filmmaking from executive producers Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. The series focuses on the challenges facing a first-time director as cameras roll from pre-production to casting through principal photography and post production. Director Jason Mann will take part in a conversation about the film.

Documentary Films

"Another Way of Living: The Story of Reston, VA" –Visionary American planner Robert Simon dreamed of “another way of living” in the suburbs, and in 1964 created the New Town of Reston, Virginia. The film follows his unwavering belief in the project, despite being fired due to financial challenges in its earliest stages, and highlights his insistence that the town remain true to its core principles, even with the challenges brought on by financial success.

"The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution" –Filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders) examines the rise of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and its impact on civil rights and American culture. Nelson weaves together a treasure trove of source material with the voices of those who lived it- from the Black Panthers themselves to detractors, FBI informants, journalists, white allies, and others.

"Bound: Africans versus African Americans" – Controversial and illuminating, this documentary from Kenyan-born Peres Owino uses testimonials to expose the seldom-discussed ways that Africans and African Americans view each other, and looks at the cultures’ shared history to foster mutual understanding. Owino will be present to share her film and a post-screening discussion.

"Generation A: Portraits of Autism in the Arts" – This powerful and insightful film, which features Temple Grandin and Ed Asner, shows how young people on the autism spectrum use the arts to reach their highest potential and to connect with others and build pathways into their community.

"Harry & Snowman" – This heartwarming documentary about renowned Central Virginian equestrian Harry deLeyer tells the Cinderella love story that began when he paid $80 for a broken down Amish plow horse headed for the glue factory. Two years later, the pair won the triple crown of show jumping, gaining worldwide fame and forging friendship that lasted a lifetime.

"Imba Means Sing" – An eight-year-old star drummer from Uganda’s Grammy®-nominated African Children’s Choir leads audiences on an inspirational journey highlighted by a life-changing opportunity and showcasing the importance of education.

"Rosenwald" – Filmmaker Aviva Kempner’s latest film tells the incredible yet too-little-known story of how businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald joined with African-American communities in the South to build schools during the early part of the 20th century, and the ongoing efforts to reconfigure those schools. The screening will be in tribute to Julian Bond, who is featured in the film. Mr. Bond’s wife, Pamela Horowitz, Rita Dove, and director Kempner will be in attendance.

"Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot" – The true story of the forgotten heroes in the fight for voting rights—the courageous students and teachers of Selma, Alabama, who stood up against injustice despite facing intimidation, arrests, and violence. Presented in partnership with the U.Va. Center for Politics.

"Sol LeWitt: Wall Drawings" – Filmmakers Edgar B. Howard and Tom Piper present a retrospective of LeWitt’s wall drawings in North Adams, Massachusetts. Born in 1928, LeWitt is considered one of the key pioneers of conceptual art for his belief that concept is more important than execution. This screening supports an exhibition this fall at the Fralin Art Museum.

"Until 20" – When James Ragan was 13, he received the most devastating news: he had a rare childhood cancer. What he did after he heard that news is the basis for this film, a moving account of James' life after his diagnosis that asks the question "how would you live if you knew your life would end at 20?"

Spotlight on Virginia Filmmaking

“This year’s crop of films that were either made in Virginia or have Virginia roots are particularly impressive,” said VFF Programmer Wesley Harris, “which really speaks to the growing base of talent and creativity in the Commonwealth. It’s an honor to be able to showcase their work each year.”

This year’s Virginia Filmmaking lineup includes:

"Coming Through the Rye"– Jamie Schwartz, obsessed with Holden Caulfield, runs away from boarding school in the year 1969 to find reclusive author JD Salinger. Inspired by actual events, Jamie's search for Salinger becomes a journey into sexual awakening, love, and loss in this film directed by James Steven Sadwith.

"H8RZ" – With the intrigue of a crime thriller, this story of a mysterious high school “incident” tells a many-layered story that unravels throughout the course of the school’s investigation, and cleverly deals with issues of bullying, school corruption, and the darker side of teen interactions. The screening will feature a discussion with writer/director Derrick Borte (from Norfolk, Virginia) and the film’s star, Israel Broussard.

"Monroe Hill" –This historical documentary-essay film from Charlottesville-based documentarian Eduardo Montes-Bradley traces the roots and historical context of James Monroe’s first home in Albemarle County. The property known as Monroe Hill serves today as the administrative offices of Brown Residential College and is located on the Grounds of the University of Virginia.

"Paradise"–Produced over the course of eight years beginning in 2007, Paradise is a feature-length non-fiction video by U.Va. professor Lydia Moyer that focuses on seven American stories of abandoned sites, including Wounded Knee, South Dakota; the mining town of Centralia, Pennsylvania; and the site of the Jonestown massacre in Guyana. Moyer’s work will also be featured in this year’s Digital Media Gallery, located in Second Street Gallery.

"Polyfaces" – Four years in the making, this documentary celebrates the unique connection between food and community found at the third-generation family farm of internationally-acclaimed author and activist Joel Salatin (called the “world’s most innovative farmer” by Time Magazine). The screening will feature a conversation with Joel Salatin alongside filmmakers Lisa Heenan and Darren Doherty.

"Night of the Living Deb"–Endearingly awkward Deb wakes up in the apartment of the most attractive guy in Portland, Maine. One problem…she doesn’t remember how she ended up there. A second problem…said guy ushers her out the door…and straight into a full-scale zombie apocalypse! Virginia native director Kyle Baker, star Maria Thayer, and cinematographer Tom Ackerman will be present to discuss the film.

Library of Congress Series

The Virginia Film Festival celebrates the fifth year of its unique partnership with the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia, presenting a series of films that celebrate the National Film Registry and the Campus’ dedication to film preservation. This year’s lineup will include the Humphrey Bogart classic The Maltese Falcon (1941), the seedy pre-Code drama Employee’s Entrance (1933), and D. W. Griffith’s landmark 1915 film Birth of a Nation, which remains one of the most controversial films in American history. The screening of Birth of a Nation will be followed by a panel discussion led by The Miller Center’s Director of Public Programs, noted journalist and author Douglas A. Blackmon, who earned the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for his book, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II.

International Films

"Cemetery of Splendour" (Thailand) – Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives) returns in this mysterious and funny new film about a young medium and middle-aged hospital volunteer who investigate a case of mass sleeping sickness that may have supernatural roots.

"Dough" (UK/Hungary) – An endearing and heartfelt tale about an old Jewish baker (Jonathan Pryce) who is struggling to keep his business afloat, and then sees sales soar when a young Muslim apprentice accidentally drops cannabis into the dough.

"Eisenstein In Guanajuato" (Netherlands/Mexico) – Filmmaker Peter Greenaway looks into the mind of the Russian creative genius Sergei Eisenstein and how that filmmaker’s ten days in Mexico in 1931 and the desires and fears of love, sex, and death, he faced there, helped shape the career and legacy of one of the great Masters of Cinema.

"In the Basement" (Austria) – Ulrich Seldl heads deep into his nation’s consciousness by delving into what its people get up to in their basements, one of the most utilized rooms in Austrian homes. The answers run the gamut from mundane hobbies to shocking obsessions and reveal, in some cases, more than we ever hoped to know.

"The Kindergarten Teacher" (Israel/France) – A young woman becomes enchanted, then obsessed, with the otherworldly poetic talents of a five-year-old boy, ultimately pushing boundaries in an effort to protect that talent before his purity is lost.

"The Pearl Button" (Chile) The great Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán uses the metaphor of water, inspired by his nation’s vast coastline, to chronicle the history of the indigenous peoples of Chilean Patagonia, whose decimation by colonial conquest foretold the brutal Pinochet dictatorship. Mountains May Depart (China) – A sweeping tale from noted Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhang-ke about a town beauty and two suitors that that jumps from the past to the near future to show how China’s economic boom has impacted the bonds of family, tradition, and love.

"My Friend Victoria" (France) – Adapted from a short story by Nobel Prize®-winning writer Doris Lessing, this powerful tale of race and privilege shifts the scene to Paris to focus on a young orphan girl whose one night in the home of a wealthy family changes has reverberations that change the course of her life.

"Sembene!" (Senegal) – The unbelievable real life epic about Ousmane Sembene, the “father of African cinema,” tells the tale of an ordinary man who fought enormous odds to give African stories to Africans from the perspective of the man who knew him best.

"Summer of Sangaile" (Lithuania/France/Netherlands) – A chance meeting between two restless teenagers sets the stage for a summer of awakening, learning to fly, and learning to love, in this beautiful film that earned a prestigious World Cinema Directing Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

"Taxi" (Iran) – Exiled Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi takes the helm, and the wheel, in this slice-of-life documentary that finds him posing as a taxi driver to get a look inside the lives of Tehran residents. The film earned the coveted Golden Bear at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival.

"Victoria" (Germany) – Shot in a single two hour-plus take, this edge-of-your-seat thriller tells the story of a runaway party girl who spontaneous night out with three men turns into a bank robbery.

U.Va. Center for Politics

This year, the VFF and the Center for Politics are continuing their annual collaboration with a special screening of Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot. The true story of the forgotten heroes in the fight for voting rights depicts the courageous students and teachers of Selma, Alabama who stood up against injustice despite facing intimidation, arrests, and violence. The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Joanne Bland, the co-founder and former director of the National Voting Rights Museum in Selma, Alabama; Charles Mauldin, who was elected president of the Dallas County Youth League at the age of only 16 – the student-led organization that led many of the nonviolent marches and demonstrations that culminated in the March to Montgomery and the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and whose parents were the first two to be registered as a result of that passage; and Selma foot soldier Albert Southall, who faced dogs, horses, tear gas, billy clubs, and cattle prods that fateful day on the other side of the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Faust – Featuring John D’earth and the Free Bridge Quintet

On Saturday, November 7, as part of a special partnership with the University of Virginia’s McIntire Department of Music, the Free Bridge Quintet, in partnership with the Virginia Film Festival, will perform a two hour accompaniment to the 1926 silent film Faust, directed by F.W. Murnau. The score, composed by Free Bridge trumpeter and U.Va. Director of Jazz Performance John D'earth, was originally commissioned by the U.Va. Film Society in 2003 for a presentation of the restored print. The film will screen in Old Cabell Hall and will feature the Quintet with special guest, principal percussionist of the Charlottesville Symphony, I-Jen Fang. Note: VFF ticket vouchers and badges will not be redeemable for this event.

Family Day

Family Day returns to the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds on Saturday, November 7 with a day-long celebration for all ages, highlighted by screenings of Pixar Short Films 2007-2012 and the beloved family classic Babe. The screenings begin at 10:00 AM at Culbreth Theatre. Also returning this year will be the Charlottesville Symphony’s Musical Instrument Petting Zoo in the Helms Theatre, and the ever-popular Young Filmmakers Academy, showcasing the work of over 600 student filmmakers from around the area who this year received classroom mentorship on various aspects of the filmmaking process from representatives of Light House Studio. The day will also feature the return of the VFF arts-inspired interactive workshops led by U.Va. and community arts professionals on topics including “Make-up Effects,” “Speak Shakespeare Like a Pro!”, “Music in Movies,” and more. The workshops are free, but require advance registration. To register, visit virginiafilmfestival.org/workshops/. All Family Day events are free and open to the public, and feature complimentary and convenient parking at the Culbreth Road Garage.

School Screening – Most Likely to Succeed

Middle school and high school students from throughout the region will attend a special screening of the award-winning documentary Most Likely to Succeed on Friday, November 6 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for the Performing Arts. The film, by Greg Whiteley, has been hailed as one of the most important films ever done on the topic of the past and present of school. The film inspires audiences with a sense of purpose and possibility to reimagine what America’s students and teachers are capable of doing, and encourages its viewers to look at education in ways they never have before.

The film will also be presented as a public screening that same evening at PVCC Dickinson Center.

Digital Media Gallery

The Digital Media Gallery returns to Second Street Gallery, inside the City Center for Contemporary Arts, where it will feature video projection art and experimental films by students from acclaimed filmmaker Kevin Everson’s intermediate and advanced U.Va. cinematography students and local students from the award-winning Light House Studio. The DMG will also feature the debut of a new film by celebrated video artist Lydia Moyer, an associate professor at U.Va. The DMG will officially open with a First Friday reception on November 6 and will remain open through the month of November. The 2015 DMG is curated in company with Beyond Classification, a group exhibition of contemporary photography and video by women artists from Egypt who offer multiple perspectives on current political and social conditions in Egypt, as well as diverse strategies for communicating about those conditions in photography and video. View these works before the VFF weekend, beginning October 23. Beyond Classification and the Digital Media Gallery are both free and open to the public. The 2015 DMG is made possible by the generous support from the University of Virginia Arts Council and The A/V Company and is part of the Virginia Film Festival’s Community Outreach & Education Program.

Adrenaline Film Project

Since its launch in 2003, the Adrenaline Film Project has become an annual highlight and audience favorite at the VFF, bringing together 10-12 teams of three filmmakers to write, cast, shoot, edit, and screen their films in only 72 hours. Acclaimed filmmaker and Charlottesville native Jeff Wadlow will once again head a veteran mentor team that includes Charlottesville filmmaker Derek Sieg and noted acting coach Leigh Kilton-Smith. Mentors closely supervise each stage of production, and the process culminates in a competitive screening and award ceremony in front of a live audience at Culbreth Theatre on Saturday, November 7 at 9:30 PM

Parties and Events

The 28th Annual Virginia Film Festival offers plenty of reasons to celebrate, and some great ways to do it! Highlights of this year’s parties and events include:

• Opening Night Gala – Thursday, November 5 The Jefferson Theater, Downtown Mall – doors open at 9:30 PM (21 and over event) Come celebrate the excitement of opening night following our special screening of I Saw the Light, and toast the Festival weekend with beverages, light buffet refreshments, and live big band music while mixing and mingling with special guests and VFF friends and supporters. Tickets for the Opening Night Gala are $75.00 per person.

• Late Night Wrap Party – Saturday, November 7

Main Street Arena, Downtown Mall – 10:00 PM (21 and over event) Close out the 2015 Virginia Film Festival in style at this annual highlight event. It’s a great way to connect with filmmakers, VFF special guests, and fellow film fans in a fun and festival atmosphere. Tickets to the Late Night Wrap Party are $35.00 per person.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Banjo Competition Entry Extended

Folk Fest Event to honor life of attorney and musician Scott Street.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 29, 2015 at 12:03 PM

Virginia Country Music Hall of Famer, Sammy Shelor is 5-time IBMA Award Winner for Banjo Performer of the Year, 2011 Award Winner for the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.
  • Virginia Country Music Hall of Famer, Sammy Shelor is 5-time IBMA Award Winner for Banjo Performer of the Year, 2011 Award Winner for the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.

Listen up, great young banjo players (especially girls) who are 18 and under: The deadline to submit a video of your playing for the 2015 Richmond Folk Festival's Scott Street five string finals has been extended to Friday, Oct. 2 at 5 p.m.

So far there are only five entrants in the competition hosted by JAMinc to honor the life of Scott Street, a top former local attorney and dedicated banjo player who died in February of cancer. Four finalists will be selected and entrants must be 18 years of age or younger as of Oct. 11.

The winner of the competition held on Sunday, Oct. 11 on the Virginia Folklife Stage, will get a beautiful new Huber Workhorse banjo, a personal mentorship with musician Sammy Shelor made possible by the VFH Virginia Folklife Program and other "valuable considerations."

Go here to learn more.

This all reminds me of a joke I once heard mandolin master Tim O'Brien tell at Ashland Coffee and Tea years ago: "What do you call a pretty lady on a banjo player's arm? . . . . A tattoo." B'dump. bump.

To get you banjo contestants pumped: Here's 'Hee Haw's' Roy Clark and Buck Trent performing "Dueling Banjos" for real, and being a little politically incorrect in the process.

Friday, September 25, 2015

City Hosting Pop-Up in Shockoe Bottom

Marketplace to be held on final day of UCI races.

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2015 at 12:45 AM

Orange Carytown owner, Cathy Davis and her dog, Richmond.
  • Orange Carytown owner, Cathy Davis and her dog, Richmond.

On the final day of the UCI races, Sunday, Sept. 27, the city is hosting the Main Street Marketplace located in front of Main Street station at 1500 E. Main St. Businesses will include local retail boutiques, bike vendors and restaurants.

The hours for the event will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

“We are thrilled for the opportunity to showcase our Virginia artists to the world,” said Cathy Davis, owner at Orange Carytown, in a press release. Orange will be on-site with jewelry, prints, paintings, pillows, t-shirts and more, all from local VA-based artisans.

In addition to Orange, participating businesses include:

Carytown Bicycle Co.

Claville Fashion Truck

Collard Greens Inc.

Chocolates by Kelly

Dal-Kohm, Hannah Lee

Eurotrash

La Milpa Inc.

Ladles & Linens Kitchen Shoppe

Love This

Shop Apothec

Necessary Recycling

Nectar Sunglasses

New Normal Apparel

nOcO Photgraphy

Orange

Peak Experiences

Road Runner Running Store

Soul-Ice

SunFlipz

Sweet Temptations by Teresa

Two Sisters Art Concepts

Virginia Outfitter

Walkabout Outfitter

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

VCU Alum Art-Directing New "Peanuts" Movie

Plus, how to get Peanut-ized.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 23, 2015 at 11:00 AM

My lame attempt to be "Peanut"-ized by a marketing campaign.
  • My lame attempt to be "Peanut"-ized by a marketing campaign.

The last few days, a lot of people are engaging in a promotional campaign online that allows them to create a rough "Peanuts" version of themselves. You see them all over Facebook.

In the spirit of "Peanut" mania, I made one that doesn't look at all like me (but at least I got to listen to Vince Guaraldi's toe-tapping jazz numbers while I did it). Nothing says fall for a certain generation like tunes such as the "Great Pumpkin Waltz."

What you may not know about the highly anticipated "The Peanuts Movie" which opens Nov. 6, is that a Virginia Commonwealth University alum, Nash Dunnigan, was the art director. Dunnigan has worked on projects including "Ice Age: The Meltdown," "Rio" and "Robots."

Here he is talking about the upcoming movie with a guy (right) who probably never would be wearing that shirt if he wasn't making bank.

The trailer for the new "Peanuts" is out, also. Here it is. Will today's kids go for it? One thing is for sure, we know many of their parents will -- oh, and while the new movie looks great, the music sucks compared to the original.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Richmond Photo Illustrator Works New Time Cover

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2015 at 1:20 PM

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders photographed on Sept. 15 by Stephen Voss. Retouching by local Jeff Glotzl.
  • Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders photographed on Sept. 15 by Stephen Voss. Retouching by local Jeff Glotzl.

From an editorial standpoint, retouching a photo can be a sticky wicket. But in this case of the new Time magazine cover featuring presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a local photo illustrator was called on at the last hour for some minor changes.

"It was just a little bit of the background – it was not the same tone,” says Jeffrey Glotzl. "I love bragging about it, but it was almost nothing of a job. Still it had to be done quickly."

Glotzl starting doing this kind of work in 2005 and mostly works with commercial photos and ad agencies. He's known for his retouching and clean-up work and his heavy duty image composites -- where numerous photos are stacked for photo illustration purposes. Most of the stuff he does is not editorial, but advertising work.

A couple years ago, he went to DC to participate in an APA event and had the name of photographer Stephen Voss passed to him. That was the connection that would lead to last week's striking Time cover of Sanders.

"I was sleeping when I got an email, which I saw at 6 am the next morning -- that the job needed to be done by 10 a.m.," recalls Glotzl. "I had to get the kids off to school, had like two hours to do that little bit of work, so it wasn't too big of a time crunch. I sat down, busted it out."

You can see slideshows of Glotzl's image composite work and how it's done on his website. And more photos by Voss here.

Friday, September 18, 2015

INTERVIEW: Marlon Wayans On Stand-Up, Movie Choices and Diversity in Hollywood

Actor Marlon Wayans responds to Matt Damon's comments on diversity.

Posted By on Fri, Sep 18, 2015 at 1:50 PM

Actor and comedian Marlon Wayans performs at Funny Bone this weekend.
  • Actor and comedian Marlon Wayans performs at Funny Bone this weekend.

Marlon Wayans began his stand-up career as preparation for playing comedian Richard Pryor in a film several years ago.

That role has since gone to someone else, but the 43-year-old actor and writer is still performing after discovering the fringe benefits of being a professional “joke teller.”

The host of NBC's “I Can Do That,” and the star and creative force behind the movies “Haunted House,” “Scary Movie,” TV's “The Wayans Bros,” as well as the forthcoming “Fifty Shades of Black,” Wayans spoke to Style about his critics, why he’s still on the road and how to make it in Hollywood if you’re young, gifted and black.

Style Weekly: Why do you still do stand up?

I never want to quit stand up because it just helps me. It's everything that you need to become a film actor, to become a writer and producer, you're dealing with your live audience and …. you need to know what's funny, what's not funny, when you've gone too far. It takes away the desperation of having to perform on the big screen or tv show, because I'm always working. That live audience, energy and rush is everything. Adrenaline is the greatest drug ever.

You mentioned the big screen. You recently completed filming "50 Shades of Black" ..

'50 Shades of Black' is basically, what if Christian Grey was black, he was rich, but how he got his money is shady and he's a really bad lover. It's a comedic take on '50 Shades of Grey.' It's really funny. It has a really great cast. (Jane Seymour, Kali Hawk, Affion Crockett, Mike Epps) It should be in theaters Jan. 29.

You're the host of the highly-rated reality show, “I Can Do That.” What drew you to unscripted television?

It's an extension of what I do, all having to do with comedy and fun. I just enjoy audiences, I enjoy being in people's living rooms and I enjoy just having fun.

You said in an interview once that you would like to do the kind of movie that all of your critics would enjoy. Is that project on your radar?

[Laughs] Probably not. You know, with every movie, you hope everybody enjoys it, even the critics. I haven't been too lucky with critic love. Their job is to critique and some people are going to get my movies and some people aren't. If you take critiquing the right way, it makes you better.

Matt Damon recently made some comments on diversity in Hollywood films, on both sides of the camera. He appeared to suggest the diversity behind the camera is not important and he’s caught some heat for his comments. As a filmmaker, what's your take on it.

Every man, every individual has a right to speak his mind, we do live in America. For that actual situation, it was edited, I don't know what the context was. But you have to have diversity behind the lens. I believe he's entitled to his opinion, and I'm entitled to prove his opinion wrong.

Can there be more diversity in films? Absolutely. I think that it has to start with black writers, black directors, it has to start with more black producers ... but for me as a black producer writer, actor, what I try to do is, I just try to make movies. Because if you go “black” movie, they try to give you “black” budget, “black” box office numbers … that's not the way I like to make movies. I make movies that are diverse. “Scary Movie,” was written, produced and directed by three black people, me, Shawn and Keenan … and it had a white girl as the lead, a whole cast of multicultural diverse people, it was one of the biggest comedies, not “black” comedies of all time.

Our approach to filmmaking is one that is colorless. When it comes to jokes .. when it comes to who's laughing, the art is to make everybody laugh. If I do a joke and only the white people in the room laugh and the black people aren't, then I've failed as a comedian. If I make only the black people laugh, and the white people don't enjoy it, I've still failed as a comedian. My objective is to make every last person in that room or in that theater laugh at the joke that I'm telling. I am a joke teller and I am a producer and I am fortunate enough to be a supplier in terms of Hollywood.

I encourage all young African-Americans who want be actors, - my only thing- you should be writer, you should be a producer, you should be a director as well, to really learn from every angle. Not to sit around and wait for work. Because that's what a lot black actors do. Wait for work. And a lot of times those roles that come along aren't the great roles. Create your own role. Create your own lane. And take your destiny in your own hand and then you'll be casting people, instead of waiting around to be cast.

Marlon Wayans plays Richmond's Funny Bone Sept. 18-20. Tickets are $35. 521-8900.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Local to Support Harry Potter Actor

Devin Druid will co-star in film shooting in Hopewell.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 5:20 PM

Local actor Devin Druid has been making a name for himself in Hollywood with his assured performances alongside veteran actors.
  • Local actor Devin Druid has been making a name for himself in Hollywood with his assured performances alongside veteran actors.

Local actor Devin Druid is having a great week.

First, he was named as a "breakout star" to watch at the Toronto Film Festival for his work in the film "Louder Than Bombs." And today his management tells Style that he will be supporting lead in the upcoming film "Imperium" being shot in Hopewell featuring former Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe.

Druid begins shooting next Wednesday, according to his management. The film directed by newcomer Daniel Ragussis is just one of several local fall film projects, including the interracial drama "Loving" for which shooting is already underway.

Druid says he can't say much about his character yet, but the film's plot involves an undercover FBI agent who is infiltrating a neo-Nazi group.

"It's very exciting," says Druid. "There are some absolutely fantastic people involved and I love having the opportunity to work here in my hometown!"

We covered the young actor and his fast-rising career before in this feature from November 2014. This was back when he was starring alongside Richard Jenkins and Frances McDormand in the critically acclaimed HBO miniseries "Olive Kitteridge."

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Cabaret Series Announced from CenterStage

Posted By on Tue, Sep 15, 2015 at 12:05 PM

Connie Champagne brings her Judy Garland Christmas show in December.
  • Connie Champagne brings her Judy Garland Christmas show in December.

From the press release desk: Richmond CenterStage announced the return of its acclaimed U.S. TRUST "Life is a Cabaret Series: A Celebration of the American Songbook" for its fifth season.

The series begins on Friday, Oct. 16 with soul musician Brian Owens and The Deacons of Soul in Richmond CenterStage’s Libby S. Gottwald Playhouse. This season’s schedule includes performances on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Season subscriptions are available by calling 804.592.3400, and single tickets are available at 1.800.514.ETIX (3849), online at richmondcenterstage.com or at any Richmond CenterStage Box Office.

Here's Connie Champagne (Dec. 11 and 12) performing Tom Waits' "Ruby's Arms."

And here's the full line-up straight from the horse's mouth (descriptions quoted from press release):

BRIAN OWENS and The Deacons of Soul

Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Performance in Libby S. Gottwald Playhouse

"Brian Owens and The Deacons of Soul experience invites audiences to partake in a show combining the original, the beloved and lesser-known to deliver an event that simultaneously honors the past and attends to the present and future. Owens and The Deacons of Soul perform original selections from his growing catalog with a mix of soulful favorites by predecessors including Sam Cooke and The Soul Stirrers. Brian Owens and The Deacons of Soul performance is about “preservation; it’s a matter of upholding the tradition of true soul music that is so desperately needed in our culture today.”'

CONNIE CHAMPAGNE

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas: An Evening with Connie Champagne as Judy Garland

Friday, December 11, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, December 12, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Performance in Rhythm Hall

"What's Christmas without Judy Garland? Banish the Bah-Humbug and get yourself into the holiday spirit with an evening of holiday cheer the Garland way with Connie Champagne! Champagne is an award-winning actress whose performances as Judy Garland have wowed audiences from coast-to-coast. Renowned for her uncanny ability to conjure up the sound and spirit of Garland, Champagne sings carols and classics made famous by the stage and screen icon, along with some of the unexpected and often wacky gems Champagne's famed for creating. New York Times critic Neil Genzlinger described Champagne’s performance as Judy “a subtle masterpiece of parody and homage.” Don't miss this holiday favorite!"

GEORGIA ROGERS FARMER

Lies My Martini Told Me

Friday, February 12, 2016, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 13, 2016, 7:30 p.m.

Performance in Rhythm Hall

"Join local cabaret artist and domestic goddess, Georgia Rogers Farmer as she celebrates love! The evening of songs and stories with Georgia is funny, poignant and pleasantly unexpected. Her cabarets include an eclectic mix of songs – ranging from standards, to Broadway, to popular music. This will be a fun-filled evening that you won't forget!"

ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY

Diva Power

Friday, April 8, 2016, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 9, 2016, 8:00 p.m.

Performance in Rhythm Hall

"Ann Hampton Callaway presents a soaring celebration of the legendary ladies who helped shape the soundtrack of our lives – Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee, Anita O’Day, Edith Piaf, Etta James, Carole King and Joni Mitchell. In this rare intimate setting, Callaway's one woman show takes a personal look at the iconic women who were trailblazers in music and whose careers, voices and songs helped to shape Callaway’s artistry. Selections include Over the Rainbow, People, How High the Moon, Tenderly, La Vie En Rose, The Folks Who Live On the Hill, and A Case of You."

Monday, September 14, 2015

Legend Brian Wilson Playing National

Pop music genius to appear with two former Beach Boys on Oct. 22.

Posted By on Mon, Sep 14, 2015 at 2:30 PM

brian.jpg

Brian Wilson, co-founder of the Beach Boys and acclaimed pop music genius, will be performing with ex-Beach Boys Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin at the National on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $50 to $75 and go on sale at 10 a.m. this Friday at Ticketmaster outlets.

Wilson was the subject of the film "Love and Mercy" this year, which chronicled his problems with drugs and his abusive father/manager. The below "Surf Police" clip is from a 1976 NBC television special.

  • Re: Review: "Sweetheart of the Rodeo 50th Anniversary Tour" at the Beacon Theatre, Sept. 20

    • There is a collection from this tour on YouTube. https://youtu.be/chlcnEkTO8M

    • on September 22, 2018
  • Re: Review: "Sweetheart of the Rodeo 50th Anniversary Tour" at the Beacon Theatre, Sept. 20

    • Gene is dead

    • on September 22, 2018
  • Re: Review: "Sweetheart of the Rodeo 50th Anniversary Tour" at the Beacon Theatre, Sept. 20

    • Gene is dead

    • on September 22, 2018
  • More »
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