Home Virginia Film Festival kicks off on Thursday with world premiere of Big Stone Gap

Virginia Film Festival kicks off on Thursday with world premiere of Big Stone Gap


va-film-festivalThe 27th annual Virginia Film Festival will kick off this Thursday evening with the world premiere of Big Stone Gap at The paramount theater.

The highly-anticipated, sold-out premiere will be preceded by a press conference featuring the film’s stars, Ashley Judd, Jenna Elfman, Patrick Wilson and Jasmine Guy, in addition to the film’s writer and director, bestselling author Adriana Trigiani, as well as Academy Award-winning producer Donna Gigliotti. The press conference will begin at 6:15 p.m. in the Sponsors Lounge at The Paramount. It is suggested that media arrive by 6:00 p.m. in order to set up.

The screening and Opening Night Gala which follows at the Jefferson Theater is expected to attract a VIP crowd that will include film’s cast members, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, Senator Tim Kaine and former Virginia Governors Linwood Holton and Gerald Baliles.

Your coverage is invited at both events and we are happy to facilitate live remotes during the evening.

We will be in touch as the week unfolds to keep you up to date on story opportunities, and invite you to review our full program at www.virginiafilmfestival.org.

In the meantime, here are a few highlights to consider for coverage throughout the weekend:

Thursday, November 6
Richard Roundtree – Shaft!
Fralin Museum of Art – 4:00 p.m.

Richard Roundtree
, star of the iconic 1970’s film Shaft, will be on hand for a special reception celebrating the photography of the legendary Gordon Parks, who directed the film.
Big Stone Gap Opening Night – World Premiere
Paramount Theater – 6:15 p.m.
Press Conference preceding the opening night, World Premiere screening of Big Stone Gap – featuring cast members Ashley Judd, Jenna Elfman, Patrick Wilson, Jasmine Guy along with writer/director and bestselling author Adriana Trigiani and Academy Award-winning producer Donna Gigliotti.

Opening Night Gala
Jefferson Theater – 9:30 p.m.
Guests begin arriving for the Opening Night Gala at the Jefferson. A VIP crowd is expected, including the Big Stone Gap cast and four Virginia Governors including current Governor Terry McAuliffe and former Governors Linwood Holton, Gerald Baliles and Senator Tim Kaine.

Friday, November 7
School Screening – Freedom Summer
MLK Center (at Charlottesville High School) – 10:00 a.m.
More than 1,000 local and regional middle and high school students will be on hand for a special screening of Stanley Nelson’s moving documentary, and will participate in a post-screening discussion with a panel including Civil Rights legend Julian Bond and Deborah McDowell, Director of The Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at U.Va. Note: the discussion should begin just after 11:45 a.m.

Digital Media Gallery Launch
Second Street Gallery – 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.

Guests will mingle with and experience the work of experimental filmmakers from U.Va. and Lighthouse Studios at this special First Fridays event. The VFF Digital Media Gallery showcases the works of U.Va. intermediate and advanced cinematography students and young filmmakers from Lighthouse. The DMG will also feature a new film by experimental film and video artist and U.Va. professor Kevin Everson.

Saturday, November 8
Family Day!
Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds – Beginning at 10:00 a.m.
Hundreds of local kids and families will fill Culbreth Theatre for a special 75th Anniversary screening of The Wizard of Oz, preceded by a fantastical performance by members of the Charlottesville Symphony at the University of Virginia. Other highlights will include:

  • Musical Instrument Petting Zoo – Mozarts and Beethovens of all ages can see, hear, touch, and learn how to make sounds on a variety of wind, brass and string instruments.
  • Arts Workshops – Students of all ages will be participating in free film-inspired arts workshops led by U.Va. and community partners. Workshops will cover topics from applying makeup to dancing for the screen, auditioning and more!
  • Young Filmmakers AcademyMore than 600 students from throughout the community will have their own red carpet experiences from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.
  • Interactive Arts Fair – From 11:30 until 2:00 p.m. there will be a variety of fun-filled outdoor activities.

Fed Up
Culbreth Theatre – Screening at 2:00 p.m and discussion with Katie Couric at 3:30 p.m.
Famed U.Va. alum katie couric returns to grounds for a screening of the acclaimed documentary which she narrated and co-produced about the epidemic of childhood obesity that explores why, despite media attention and government policies to combat the issue, generations of kids are destined to live shorter lives than their parents.

41 on 41
Newcomb Hall Theater – Screening at 3:45, Discussion at approximately 5:15
Former Bush 41 administration officials Marlon Fitzwater (press secretary) and Andy Card (Transportation Secretary, Deputy Chief of Staff and later Chief of Staff for George W. Bush) will be on hand to discuss this new documentary on the career, the administration, and the humanity of George H.W. Bush.

Holbrook/Twain: An American Odyssey
PVCC Dickinson Center – 4:30 p.m.
Legendary actor Hal Holbrook will be on hand to discuss this new documentary about this remarkable 60 years playing Mark Twain, and will be joined by the film’s director, Scott Teems.

Centerpiece Film – 5 to 7 with Frank Langella
8:30 p.m. – Paramount Theater

Legendary stage, screen, and television actor Frank Langella will be on hand to join director Victor Levin and producers Julie Lynn (U.Va. grad) and Bonnie Curtis to discuss this new film.

Late Night Wrap Party
Main Street Arena – 10:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m.

Festival guests and festival fans mix and mingle at this annual highlight event – hailed as one of the best parties of the year in Charlottesville!

Sunday, November 7
From Grain to Growler
Paramount Theater – 4:00 p.m.
This short film offers an insiders’ perspective on the rapidly expanding Virginia craft beer scene will feature a discussion with filmmakers Aaron Stanley and Megan Troy.

Newcomb Hall Theater – Screening at 4:00 p.m.
Discussion around film highlighting renowned inventor Dean Kamen’s efforts to tackle the world’s water crisis featuring local experts Teri Kent (Better World Betty); Dana Elzey (Engineering Professor, University of Virginia) and Robbi Savage, Executive Director, Rivanna Conservation Society. ly 5:30.



Have a guest column, letter to the editor, story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected]. Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.