VA Film Festival to Spotlight ‘Dead Poets Society,’ Mark Twain, Charlie Chaplin and More

Yesterday, Jody Kielbasa announced the schedule for the Virginia Film Festival, which is now in its 27th year. Last year, you may recall that film enthusiasts arrived in droves to attend events for Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” and Larry Sabato’s “The Kennedy Half Century. Kielbasa, the festival director, and his staff certainly put together an interesting lineup for November. This year VFF runs from Thursday, November 6th, through Sunday, November 9th.

For starters, Katie Couric is no stranger to the Charlottesville area, where the annual festival is held. She graduated from the University of Virginia, where she was a resident of the famed Lawn. Couric seems to have embraced the cause of advocating for better health, bringing the documentary “Fed Up” to focus our attention on childhood obesity.

As with any film festival, anniversaries will be up for discussion. Writer Tom Schulman and producer Paul Junger Witt will be at hand for a special screening of “Dead Poets Society,” which was released 25 years ago. Robin Williams’ contribution will be remembered and discussed. In addition, we’re hitting the 100th anniversary of Charlie Chaplin and the 75th anniversary of the “Wizard of Oz”. Be sure to check out the Film Guide section of the official website, which has a user friendly search feature and a great browsing section.

Other exciting guests include Frank Langella, Patrick Wilson, David Baldacci, and Barry Levinson to name a few. The screenings to get particularly excited about are “5 to 7” (Frank Langella) and “Big Stone Gap” (Patrick Wilson). It’s a general screening, but I’d highly recommend “Wings of Desire,” which is so artful in its cinematography but also tells a compelling story of Berlin before the wall came down. I’ll be covering these and a few of the other events at the festival. For the theatrically inclined, Hal Holbrook will give a special live performance of his “Mark Twain Tonight!” Holbrook has been performing this role for 60 years, which means you’d be remiss not to include this event on your list of things to see.

The Virginia Film Festival is held annually in Charlottesville, Va. Tickets go on sale after midnight to the general public on Friday, October 10th.

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