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VIRGINIA FILM FESTIVAL Latitude and Longitude:
The Virginia Film Festival is hosted by the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, held usually in late October or early November.
Created in the late 1988, the Virginia Festival of American Film (renamed The Virginia Film Festival) was endorsed by the state’s Department of Economic Development and adopted by the University of Virginia. The intent was twofold: to stimulate economic development by encouraging film production in Virginia and increasing tourism, and to meld the creative interests and crafts of the American film industry with the intellectual resources of a nationally ranked university. In 1996, the University decided to make the Virginia Film Festival a more integral part of its academic program under the umbrella of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. The focus was expanded to encompass a broader range of international films. The Festival also expanded its year-round programs, including a very active Film Society that presents films and guest speakers at the downtown Vinegar Hill Theatre.
In 2009, Jody Kielbasa was brought on as the new director of the Virginia Film Festival.
From 1990 through 2009, Virginia Film Festival chose a different theme each year, on which to base its film program. Past themes are listed below. Starting in 2010, the Festival announced its intention to leave the themed approach in favor of more flexible programming. The VFF celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2012.
- 1990 - "Music & The Movies"
- 1991 - "Movie Made In America"
- 1992 - "The Reel South & Other Worlds"
- 1993 - " Film Noir"
- 1994 - "Love & Other Obsessions"
- 1995 - "U.S. & Them"
- 1996 - "Wild Spaces, Endangered Places"
- 1997 - "Caged!"
- 1998 - "Cool"
- 1999 - "Techno Visions"
- 2000 - "Animal Attractions"
- 2001 - "Masquerades"
- 2002 - "Wet"
- 2003 - "$$$"
- 2004 - "Speed"
- 2005 - "In/Justice"
- 2006 - "Revelations"
- 2007 - "Kin Flicks"
- 2008 - "Aliens!"
- 2009 - "Funny Business"
Festival selections range from Hollywood premiers to classic, documentary, and experimental video.
Previous landmark screenings have included a 25th Anniversary tribute to In the Heat of the Night and Sidney Poitier; Distinguished Filmmaker presentations to Robert Altman, John Sayles, Emile de Antonio, and Arthur Penn; and Roger Ebert’s “shot by shot” workshops on classics such as Vertigo, Sunset Boulevard, and The Third Man. Memorable premiere events have included an advance screening of Mother & Child with actress Cherry Jones and director Rodrigo Garcia; and a live producer’s commentary of the show True Blood featuring its creator Alan Ball. Other guests have included Jimmy Stewart, Vanessa Redgrave, Anthony Hopkins, Sandra Bullock, Nicolas Cage, Gena Rowlands, Sigourney Weaver, William Styron, Ross McElwee, Matthew Broderick, and Cherry Jones, Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Horton Foote, Sherman Brothers, who wrote all the songs for Mary Poppins, Robert Mitchum, Tony Goldwin, Jack Valenti, Robert Duvall, Calder Willingham,