This year the Virginia Film Festival has many high profile screenings. The festival will open with the Alexander Payne-directed and Matt Damon-starring film, Downsizing. It will close with the closest thing we have this year to an Oscar frontrunner, Call Me By Your Name. Spike Lee will appear for a talk after the screening of his documentary, 4 Little Girls. William H. Macy will be here to show his newest directorial effort, Krystal. There are also so many hidden gems slated in the schedule. Here are five that I am looking forward to.
Anton Yelchin’s promising acting career was tragically cut short after his death last year. With films such as Green Room and his role as Chekov in the Star Trek franchise, Yelchin seemed poised to break out into more leading roles. One of his last films, Porto, will be screening at the festival this year. Porto was produced by Jim Jarmusch and shot on a combination of Super 8, 16 mm and 35 mm. It follows two young tourists in the Portuguese city who spend a night together that changes their lives. The story is retold first from the perspective of Yelchin’s American traveler and then from Mati, a French student traveling in the city with her professor boyfriend. The night is retold from both of their perspectives, showing how that changes the evening.
Porto will screen Nov. 12th at 5:30 at Newcomb Hall Theater
Freak Show is the directorial debut from Trudie Styler, a successful indie film producer. Billy Bloom is an eccentric teenager who enters an elite, southern boarding school for his senior year of high school. After enduring bullying and the close mindedness of his peers, he decides to run for homecoming queen. Featuring performances by Bette Midler and Laverne Cox, Freak Show will be followed by a discussion with Styler and producer Celine Rattray.
Freak Show will screen Nov. 11th at 12:30 at Newcomb Hall Theater
The Wound focuses on three men at a traditional Xhosa Ulwaluko ritual that is meant to initiate boys into adulthood. Ulwaluko is the practice of adult circumcision and the subsequent healing and fasting. In such a rigidly masculine atmosphere, two men who act as guides to the initiates have found a place to explore their sexuality with each other. When an initiate finds them out, it threatens their lives.
The Wound will screen Nov. 10th at 6:45 at Violet Crown
My Art is the directorial debut from the acclaimed artist Laurie Simmons. The film stars herself as well as Parker Posey and Simmon’s daughter, Lena Dunham. Simmons plays a woman whose dreams of artistic recognition are seeming more and more unattainable. When she house sits for a successful artist friend, she takes that as her opportunity to give her ambitions another shot. There will be a discussion with Laurie Simmons after the film.
My Art will screen Nov. 12th at 6 at St. Anne’s-Belfield
By Chandler Ferrebee