Virginia Film Festival smashes all-time sales records

va-film-festivalThe recently-completed 2014 Virginia Film Festival  took the Festival’s recent string of record-breaking success to a whole new level, smashing its previous box office record, set last year, by a remarkable 45.6% and setting a new record for tickets issued in the process.

The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia.

Festival officials announced today that the 2014 VFF set all-time marks at the box office, coming in at $174,946. The 2013 Festival held the previous mark of $120,000.

In addition, the VFF set a new all-time record of 28,609 tickets issued. The weekend also featured 41 sold out screenings.

“By every conceivable measure, this was a historic Virginia Film Festival,” said Jody Kielbasa, Director of the Virginia Film Festival and Vice Provost for the Arts at the University of Virginia. “We are obviously thrilled with the record-breaking numbers and with the extraordinarily positive feedback we heard throughout the weekend.  I really believe that this year represented a seismic shift in terms of our impact on this community. Everywhere you went throughout the weekend, there was a palpable energy and an unwavering level of enthusiasm around the screenings and around the Festival as a whole, and the clear sense that the Festival has reached another level in its development, and is poised for even bigger things.”

That energy extended far beyond Charlottesville, Kielbasa added. “We had a board member of ours tell us that she was getting on a train in Penn Station in New York and started a conversation about the Festival, only to find that several people around her were heading here too. This just speaks to the rapidly increasing profile of the Festival throughout our community, our region, and beyond, not to mention throughout the film industry.”

The Festival’s screening of Big Stone Gap helped to set the tone for the weekend, Kielbasa said. “That was a landmark event for us in that it represented a sort of perfect storm that showcased a film made in Virginia, by a Virginian, and about Virginia, the presence of its cast members, and of Governor Terry McAuliffe and three of his former gubernatorial predecessors, including Senator Tim Kaine, Linwood Holton and Gerald Baliles, who was of course instrumental in founding the Festival 27 years ago. The excitement only built from there, thanks in part to an extraordinary guest list that included everyone from Hal Holbrook to Frank Langella to Richard Roundtree, katie couric and more, all of whom gave our audiences unforgettable moments.”

What was equally remarkable, and extremely gratifying, Kielbasa said, was the way that enthusiasm was spread throughout the Festival’s entire program of more than 120 films.  “Thanks in part to the efforts of our Festival Programmer Wesley Harris, who once again did a remarkable job this year, we heard from, and continue to hear from countless patrons and filmmakers about the remarkable depth and breadth of our program.”

Adding to that allure he said, was the record number of filmmakers the Festival brought to Charlottesville this year. “This year our increased emphasis on bringing in filmmakers at all stages of their careers resulted in our hosting more than 150 filmmakers, actors and other industry guests at the Festival.  In addition to sharing these new voices and talents with our audiences, this also builds excitement and momentum for the Festival as these people see and experience all we have to offer, from the scope of the program to the professionalism with which the entire Festival is presented. We received incredibly positive feedback from these filmmakers throughout the weekend and continue to hear from them about how amazed they were by the whole experience.”

The 2014 Virginia Film Festival was generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Ader and Joseph Erdman, Trustees), Regal Entertainment Group, the Virginia Film Office, and Wells Fargo.

For more information on the Virginia Film Festival, visit www.virginiafilmfestival.org.