Virginia Film Festival announces 2011 event schedule
The Virginia Film Festival is returning for its 24th year from Nov. 3-6, bringing with it a fascinating lineup of more than 100 films and a long list of special guests set to bring some serious star power to Charlottesville.
The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia’s College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
Coming off the most successful year in its history, the festival will feature four full days of movie magic kicked off with a special opening night screening of Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, which stars George Clooney. The film is just one of many in the festival that have been earning big time buzz at major festivals throughout the world this season, including the much talked-about silent film The Artist; the chilling psychological thriller We Need to Talk About Kevin; David Cronenberg’s latest, A Dangerous Method; the creative political satire Butter and many others.
This year the Virginia Film Festival is delighted to welcome an outstanding array of special guests sharing their unique perspectives on some of today’s top titles and some of the most fascinating films of our time. Guests will include:
· Legendary director Oliver Stone, who will present and discuss his Academy Award®- winning JFK in a special discussion with Dr. Larry J. Sabato, director of the U.Va. Center for Politics.
· Academy Award-winning actress Sissy Spacek and her husband, the acclaimed art director Jack Fisk, presenting a restored print of the classic Badlands, as part of a special series presented in collaboration with the Library of Congress and Turner Classic Movies.
· Rapidly rising star Mia Wasikowska, who starred as Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and won raves for her performance in The Kids Are All Right. Wasikowska will be appearing along with director Rodrigo Garcia and the film’s producers, U.Va. graduate Julie Lynn and Bonnie Curtis, to discuss the new film Albert Nobbs, which stars Glenn Close.
· Publishing magnate Larry Flynt, who returns to Charlottesville to present a 15th Anniversary screening of his Academy Award-nominated film The People vs. Larry Flynt, and participate in a special discussion presented by the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.
· Talented actress and comedian Rachael Harris, a veteran of L.A.’s Groundlings troupe with a long list of credits ranging from a memorable turn as the notoriously difficult girlfriend of Ed Helms’ character in The Hangover to her starring role in Natural Selection, the breakout film at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival. Ms. Harris will appear with the film’s director, Robbie Pickering.
· Noted film historian and television personality Ben Mankiewicz, host of Turner Classic Movies on TNT, will be on hand to present a collection of classics under the heading “Turner Classic Movies and The Library of Congress Celebrate the National Film Registry.”
Other featured guests will include noted producer and U.Va. alumnus Paul Junger Witt, who will be presenting his latest film, A Better Life; celebrated family farmer, author and activist Joel Salatin (appearing with the film Farmageddon) and colorful chef and school food reformer Tony Geraci (appearing with the film Cafeteria Man).
“This year I am particularly excited by the fact that our guests represent so many aspects of Hollywood as well as of American culture and history,” Kielbasa said. “In Mia Wasikowska, we have one of the hottest young stars working today, now following up her recent string of high profile roles with Albert Nobbs and with starring roles in the upcoming Restless as well as the title role in Jane Eyre. We are so glad to be welcoming Mia to the Virginia Film Festival.”
This year’s festival also has its share of Hollywood legends, Kielbasa said. “Sissy Spacek and Oliver Stone are two people who have contributed to the art of film in immeasurable ways, creating experiences for their audiences that will never be forgotten. In Sissy Spacek, you have one of the most respected actresses of her, or any, generation, with a long list of some of Hollywood’s most unforgettable performances. We so look forward to welcoming her and her remarkably talented husband, Jack Fisk, to share their experiences on the classic film Badlands, which will be hosted by Ben Mankiewicz, one of the industry’s most highly-respected and well known film experts.
And in Oliver Stone, you have a true American iconoclast who has never been afraid to take on the hottest hot button issues in our society.”
Another man who never shied away from an ideological battle, Kielbasa said, is Larry Flynt. “Whatever anyone wants to say about the man and his colorful history, Larry Flynt is a uniquely American story. He is someone who has challenged authority at every turn and emerged victorious in the battle for the most cherished right we have in America.”
Rachael Harris, Kielbasa noted, is a great example of a mainstream actress and comedienne who splits her time and energies between high profile studio features and smaller, independent films, and does so with great success. “Rachael Harris is one of the most talented comedic actresses in the industry, with memorable roles in recent hits like The Hangover and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and she is now on top of the indie world with her incredible performance in Natural Selection.”
Coming off a record breaking 2010 year where it topped all-time attendance and box office records by some 25%, Kielbasa has once again set out to make sure VFF audiences have great options and tough choices when it comes to mapping out their festival experience. “When you are talking about more than 100 films and so many interesting panel discussions and events over the course of only four days, it is virtually impossible to see everything you want to see at the festival,” Kielbasa said. “But on the other hand, there is such a rich and diverse range of offerings that I think people really enjoy creating their own unique festival experiences, and in the process, get excited about coming back year after year.”