Last week, I gave homage to several films of Virginia origin being screened during the upcoming Virginia Film Festival (VFF). The piece focused on why you, the Virginia film-viewer, should be keen on attending the festival, November 4-7 in Charlottesville. Welcome to Part II, offering still more reasons.
Every independent filmmaker hopes to make the next breakout film—to deliver something new and fresh to viewers, and in doing so, to get the opportunity to do it again. You never know what film will be this year’s festival darling, but there’s always one… at least one. These breakout hits can become instant cult classics, like "Napoleon Dynamite" for example, and can propel virtual unknowns to stardom. They’re also often the vehicle for known talent to create acting, writing and directing opportunities they wouldn’t normally get.
"Happythankyoumoreplease" is such a film (click here for their official Facebook page). It premiered and won the Audience Award, a coveted prize, at the Sundance Film Festival this past January. Josh Radnor of CBS’s "How I Met Your Mother" wrote, directed and starred in this widely appealing comedy. He and executive producer Glenn Williamson will be in attendance at the VFF during the closing night screening of the film. The discussion to follow is sure to be an inspiring one. Talent meets money. Money meets talent. Success is borne.
The iconic Peter Bogdanovich will also attend, and three of his films will screen. He will be on hand after the VFF screening of his 1971 hit, "The Last Picture Show," which launched his career, as well as those of Cybil Shepherd and Jeff Bridges. It is a sublime treat to hear veteran filmmakers share their early stories and the wisdom of their experience cultivated over years. I wouldn’t miss it.
It takes guts, endurance and a touch of madness to make a film. It takes passion, commitment and a dash of magic to make a great film. The VFF has a slate of pictures this year that simply can’t be singled out within the space of this blog post. There are over a hundred worthwhile films screening in four days. You can delight in your pick. Travel back in time to the 1960’s and revisit the burst of film styles that era ushered in. Travel abroad to float among this year’s great foreign achievements. Invest your time in five topical films that address the issue of sustainability. Bring your kids Saturday, and immerse yourselves in all the outreach offerings of family day.
Peruse the schedule or pick at random. The festival programmers have worked very hard to deliver a power-packed four days of panels, parties, notable guests (more than mentioned above) and above all else, outstanding films. See you there!