The Virginia Film Festival announced additional titles and special guests for its 2017 program today including actor Anthony Michael Hall, who will come in for a screening of his film The Lears. Other highlighted guests include director Trudie Styler, who will discuss her film Freak Show; actor Noel Fisher, who will take part in a panel discussion about the acclaimed new National Geographic Channel Iraq War series The Long Road Home; and actor Nick Robinson, who joins writer/director/actor William H. Macy for a screening of Macy’s new film Krystal. The Festival also announced that its Closing Night Film will be Luca Guadagnino’s coming-of-age love story Call Me by Your Name.
The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts, and will take place from November 9-12. This year’s VFF will feature a stellar lineup of more than 150 films and an outstanding array of special guests, including filmmakers Spike Lee and Ezra Edelman, Emmy Award-winning actor William H. Macy, and noted author Margot Lee Shetterly.
The Lears is a quirky black comedy that stars Bruce Dern as Davenport Lear, a world-renowned architect who summons his dysfunctional children to a weekend family retreat to test their love in a modern-day derivative of Shakespeare’s classic King Lear. Actor, producer, and director Anthony Michael Hall, who plays Davenport’s son Glenn Lear in the film, first burst on the film scene in the 1980s with a string of unforgettable turns in the John Hughes classics including Sixteen Candles, National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Breakfast Club, and Weird Science. His other film credits include Out of Bounds, Edward Scissorhands, and Six Degrees of Separation. Hall also played the lead role in the popular USA Network series The Dead Zone from 2002-2007.
Noted actor and producer Trudie Styler makes her directorial debut with Freak Show, based on the 2007 New York Times bestselling Young Adult novel by James St. James about a gay and eccentric teenage boy who reacts to an incident of insidious bullying by deciding to run for homecoming queen. The campaign draws wide attention to Billy’s advocacy for all teenagers letting their freak flag fly. The film, which features a stellar cast including Abigail Breslin, Alex Lawther, and Bette Midler, recently had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. Trudie Styler has a long and successful track record as a producer, including Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch from director Guy Ritchie; Girl Most Likely, which stars Kristen Wiig; Filth, starring James McAvoy; Ten Thousand Saints, starring Ethan Hawke; and American Honey, which stars Shia LaBeouf and won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016. Styler will be joined by the film’s producer Celine Rattray for a post-screening discussion.
From Academy Award-nominated executive producer Mike Medavoy and based on The New York Times best-selling book by Martha Raddatz, National Geographic’s Long Road Home relives a heroic fight for survival during the Iraq War, when the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood was ferociously ambushed on April 4, 2004, in Sadr City, Baghdad — a day that came to be known as “Black Sunday.” The series cuts between the action on the ground in Iraq and that of the homefront back in Texas, where wives and families await news for 48 hellish hours, expecting the worst. Episode six, “A City Called Heaven,” highlights Pfc. Tomas Young (Noel Fisher) as he learns about the realities of war, beginning a lifelong struggle through which he’ll touch countless lives. Fisher will be on hand for a post-screening discussion.
Nick Robinson, known to many for his role as Zach in Jurassic World, most recently starred in the Warner Bros. and MGM drama Everything, Everything. He also just wrapped production on Strange But True, where he leads an all-star cast including Amy Ryan, Brian Cox, and Greg Kinnear. Other credits include Kings of Summer and an unforgettable guest spot on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. He will attend the Festival for a post-screening discussion for his role in William H. Macy’s Krystal.
The Virginia Film Festival also announced Call Me by Your Name as its Closing Night Film. Based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman, this transcendent story of first love, set against the backdrop of northern Italy in the summer of 1983, follows Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a highly-cultured teenager whose sophistication about music and literature is juxtaposed with his naivety about love. Upon meeting American scholar Oliver (Armie Hammer), his father’s charming intern, the two form an undeniable bond that grows vulnerably and passionately toward young, new love. The film by director Luca Guadagnino displays a raw portrait of a kind of love and sexual awakening that blossoms without fear or consequences.
Other highlights among the new announcements include:
’63 Boycott – The latest from famed documentarian Gordon Quinn about the 1963 boycott of Chicago schools by more than 200,000 students in protest of racial segregation.
Beetlejuice – Award-winning cinematographer Tom Ackerman will discuss his work on this groundbreaking Tim Burton film.
The Last Stop – Director Todd Nilssen’s exposé on the troubled teen reform industry.
Mood and Memory – In a series of eleven photo films, young authors, media artists, and media specialists from Austria and Germany approach a variety of stories and themes ranging from a young girl in Aleppo, a Somali farmer, and more.
My Art – Artist Laurie Simmons’ makes her feature film debut, also starring alongside daughters Lena and Grace Dunham in the story of an artist with a stable job and life, but an endless yearning for respectability in the art world. Simmons will participate in a post-screening discussion.
Roll With Me – A paraplegic former drug addict sets out to become the first person to push an ordinary wheelchair from California to New York.
Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me – The first major documentary about one of the most fascinating careers in the history of entertainment, this film follows the legendary singer, dancer, and actor’s rise to stardom, and a life lived across flashpoints of American society from the Depression through the 1980s.
The Science of Pixar – Masterclass senior scientist and lead of the Research Group at Pixar Animation Studios Tony DeRose will work in tandem with Sara Maloni (Department of Mathematics), Earl Mark (School of Architecture), and Light House Studio to offer a free masterclass for their students and the general public. The workshop will focus on physical simulation and the mathematics of surface modeling that DeRose developed at Pixar, as well as a discussion of his career path.
Short Films – More than 50 short films screened before feature screenings and in different packages based on similar themes and genres, including narrative, documentary, experimental, and animated.
Tonsler Park – Internationally renowned artist and UVA cinematography professor Kevin Everson uses 16mm black-and-white film to observe the democratic process at Charlottesville voting precincts on November 8th, 2016, providing a portrait of the working-class African-American public officials who ran the polls, while enabling citizens to vote in a democracy that has systematically abused them.
Voices Beyond the Wall: Twelve Love Poems From the Murder Capital of the World – Rescued from the streets of Pedro Sula, Honduras, seventy girls at Our Little Roses orphanage find their voices in poetry about love, family, and betrayal as they heal from the traumas of their past, while transitioning into an uncertain future. Wild Honey – An offbeat, romantic comedy about an unsuccessful phone-sex operator who is unhappy, aimless, and living at home with her mother until she hits it off with a mysterious caller and impulsively flies across the country to meet him.
To see a full list of the films and events from the Festival’s second round of program announcements, visit http://virginiafilmfestival.org/filmcategory/new-additions-2017/. Tickets for all films released today will go on sale online at 12:01 AM on Friday, October 13; in-person at the UVA Arts Box Office in the lobby of the UVA Drama Building, open M-F from noon to 5:00 PM; and via phone at 434-924-3376.
For a complete schedule of all films and events and for more information regarding the Virginia Film Festival, visit virginiafilmfestival.org. The 2017 VFF Press Room can be accessed at virginiafilmfestival.org/pressroom.
The 2017 Virginia Film Festival is presented by The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman, Trustees). The 2017 Virginia Film Festival is generously supported by the following Premiere Sponsors: The AV Company, Bank of America, CFA Institute, Harvest Moon Catering, James Madison’s Montpelier, Violet Crown Charlottesville, and the Virginia Film Office.