The 2015 Virginia Film Festival: Louder Than Bombs

    The 28th annual Virginia Film Festival took place this past weekend, from November 5th through November 8th.

    With over 100 films, attendees could catch a variety of movies around Charlottesville. Screenings were held on Grounds in Newcomb Hall Theater and Culbreth Theater, as well as on the Downtown Mall at places like The Jefferson Theater, Vinegar Hill Theater, and Violet Crown B.

    Tickets for most of the films were $10 for the general public, but University of Virginia students had the option to claim a free student ticket for most showings, and pick them up at Culbreth Theater Box Office will call.

    The Virginia Film Festival featured big, upcoming films that will make their way to the Oscar circuit, as well as smaller films that operate on the festival circuit. It could be a little overwhelming to pick a movie (or more) to see, so the Virginia Film Festival put all the films into categories on their website for easy browsing.

    One such category was “Spotlight Screenings,” containing films that are supported by an outside group and are gaining traction on the festival circuit. A movie included in this category was Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs.

    The movie features Gabriel Byrne, Jesse Eisenberg, Devin Druid, Isabelle Huppert, Amy Ryan, David Strathairn, and Rachel Brosnahan. After the screening, which was in Newcomb Theater on Saturday, November 7th, actor Devin Druid and producer Ron Yerxa came out for a moderated discussion.

    The summary on the Virginia Film Festival’s website reads:

    “An upcoming exhibition celebrating photographer Isabelle Reed three years after her untimely death brings her eldest son, Jonah, back to the family house—forcing him to spend more time with his father, Gene; and withdrawn young brother, Conrad, than he has in years. With the three of them under the same roof, Gene tries desperately to connect with his two sons, but they struggle to reconcile their feelings about the woman they remember so differently. Using fluid, nonlinear storytelling, this empathetic and nuanced melodrama artfully depicts the tragedy of a family’s inability to connect.”

    The characters in this movie are diverse and complex, with multiple layers that are dissected as the film develops. The plot line, addressing topics such as depression, suicide, relationships, and mourning, could be heavy at times. Audience members found comic relief through sharp humor scattered throughout the film.

    Louder Than Bombs left a feeling in the audience that was somewhere between laughing and crying. “The film shows a profound tapestry of the ways that people in a family will deal with grief and with loss,” said producer Ron Yerxa in the discussion after the film. “It was a difficult but worthwhile project.”

    The movie itself was ten years in the making, and was the result of companies from Norway, France, and Denmark. As the opening credits began, the audience watched what seemed like five minutes of financers appear on the screen.

    This gave viewers an idea of what Yerxa meant when he said, “by the time this film actually got going, there was this huge bus of financial entities with producers hanging out the windows.”

    Yerxa said that the movie is to be released through a new distributor, The Orchard, sometime in April of 2016.

    Fans of the film can look for Devin Druid in the upcoming Imperium, which stars Daniel Radcliff and Toni Collette, among others. Druid plays a character named Johnny in the film.

    The Charlottesville community and UVA students can look forward to the Virginia Film Festival returning next fall.

    Ruthie Petitto, a guest coordinator for the festival and UVA graduate, says that the event is a great opportunity for students to learn about the entertainment industry and to network with industry professionals.

    “We serve as a platform for over 100 stories from all over the country and the world that are as diverse as the filmmakers we bring in with them. If you want to see the world in four days, come to the Virginia Film Festival!”

    If you want to learn more the Virginia Film Festival, you can visit their website. You can check out the trailer for Louder Than Bombs here


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