The Virginia Film Festival: Not Just November

Most students at UVa have heard of the Virginia Film Festival, and many have attended some of the films and events that the Festival puts on each year in November. However, many students are not aware of the opportunities that exist outside of that one week in the fall—throughout the year, the film festival is responsible for many other events in Charlottesville that are open to the public and provide great ways to get involved with film within the community.

This past month, the Virginia Film Festival launched their new VVF at the Violet Crown Series, which presents a co-curated selection of films year-round at the Violet Crown Theater, right on the Downtown Mall. Tickets are available starting one month before the screening date, and all screening times begin at 7:30 pm. Kerry Reichhardt, a third year UVA student who currently works at the Violet Crown and served as a Community Outreach Intern for VFF in the fall, shared her experience and appreciation for what the film festival brings to the community.

Reichhardt explained the role that the festival holds for students, and emphasized that VFF events provide “the opportunity to try to engage with the community and try to understand what’s going on outside the realm of just UVA, especially because the films they pick are all really thought provoking and important.”

She also addressed the unique opportunity available to UVA students for many events both on and off-grounds within the arts community—the fact that most events are free.

“At the film festival I saw twelve movies my first year, eleven my second year, and eight last year because you go for free, and I think it’s really important to communicate the value of the opportunity,” Reichhardt expressed. But it is more than just a good deal, she continues, “It’s not just monetarily…film as a whole is this cultural phenomenon, this festival is a really big stake in Charlottesville, and it bridges the gap between university and community.”

The next Violet Crown screening is of Holy Hell, on Tuesday, April 26, The documentary provides an insider look of a Los Angeles-based religious cult, garnering much attention after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. This screening is a unique Charlottesville early preview before the film’s nationwide release in May.

On Tuesday, May 24, VFF and Violet Crown are screening In the Shadow of Women, Directed by French filmmaker Philippe Garrel, the film explores the complexity of infidelity and how it is understood by both men and women.

June and July films will be announced later this spring.

VFF also has a program called Moonlight Movies, with free movies entirely open to the public in different locations throughout Charlottesville. These movies all begin at sundown at approximately 8:30p.m. and will begin in the summer when the warm nights arrive.
Until these movies are announced, the public has some other outdoor screenings to look forward to. On April 15, VFF will be working with the 2016 Dogwood Festival to present Inside Out in McIntire Park, and on April 16 with the Tom Tom Founders Festival to present CLAW  in Lee Park. With a blanket, local food, and festivities, these film screenings are the perfect way to spend a weekend night in the spring.

“It’s just this big magical thing,” Reichhardt stated. “That’s how I feel about the entire festival, every single event that is put on is just supporting the fact that film is important and we should all view it that way.”

The 29th annual Virginia Film Festival will be held November 3-6, 2016, and the full program schedule will be announced on Tuesday, September 27.


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