The 2023 Virginia Film Festival(next Wednesday 10/25 until Sunday 10/29) features more than 100 films at the Paramount Theater, the Violet Crown, UVA’s Culbreth Theater, and the CODE Building.
The films are organized into different series and themescentered on important issues ranging from Black excellence and indigenous cinema to the environment and critical conversations.
Here are a few of the films we’re excited about — the first one a documentary about Charlottesville people from a local director!
Series and themes: Latinidades, Virginia filmmakers, critical conversations, nature & environment
Directed and produced by Charlottesville local Ricardo “Rick” Preve, this black and white film explores the unique journeys and shared struggles of Latino immigrants in Charlottesville. It explores some of the many factors behind immigration, from climate change and poverty to drug-related violence. Set against the backdrop of two historical traumas—9/11 and the Jan 6 Capitol assault—the film features firsthand accounts and stories of resilience. The viewing features a discussion with Preve. Showtime: Saturday, 10/28, 3:00 PM. Culbreth Theater. 97 minutes.
Series and themes: Black excellence, page to film, critical conversations, Gala screenings, LGBTQIA+
American Fiction tells the story of Thelonious “Monk” Ellison (Jeffrey Wright), a writer whose works get little attention until he writes a satirical memoir about Black representation in pop culture—”Black stuff,” as his book agent put it—that quickly becomes a smash hit. With a star-studded cast that includes Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae, and Sterling K. Brown, the comedy drama that unfolds as Ellison endures the consequences of his fabricated persona earned American Fiction the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival. The viewing features a discussion with director, producer, and writer Cord Jefferson. Showtime: Thursday, 10/26, 8:00 PM. The Paramount Theater. 117 minutes.
Series and themes: LGBTQIA+, from page to screen
An existential depression confines screenwriter Adam (Andrew Scott) to his London flat until he meets Harry (Paul Mescal), a neighbor. The romance that blossoms between them inspires Adam to write a screenplay about his parents, who died in a car accident 30 years ago. Upon returning to his childhood home for inspiration, he finds himself re-meeting his parents just as they were before they died—asking them the questions he’s held onto since he was 12 years old. This dream-like ghost tale, based loosely on Taichi Yamada’s novel Strangers, is directed by Andrew Haigh. Showtime: Thursday, 10/26, 8:00pm. Culbreth Theater. 105 minutes.
4. King Coal
Series and themes: Nature and Environment
King Coal comprises a collection of poetic vignettes that depict daily life in Appalachia, primarily exploring how coal became deeply intertwined with the region’s communities even after its economic dominance waned. A young girl learning the region’s history serves as a narrative pathway for this documentary, while poetic narration and archival footage provide historical context for the complex legacy of coal in the area. Showtime: Thursday, 10/ 26, 5:30pm. Violet Crown. 80 minutes.