This week, 10/23

At my first Virginia Film Festival, back in 2015, my husband and I had two children under age 5, one car, and one 10-ticket pass to the festival (thanks to a winning bid at our daughter’s preschool silent auction). The logistics were stressful, but being “forced” to make it to 10 movies in one weekend proved both exhilarating and, in the end, delightful.

We’ve gotten that pass every year since, and every year, it’s led me to surprising new discoveries and transcendent films I likely never would have seen otherwise, from the phenomenal community health documentary Bending the Arc to the achingly lovely Call Me By Your Name.

As Cullen “Fellowman” Wade, head of the Nine Pillars hip-hop festival, said in our panel discussion last week, “I think a lot of folks in Charlottesville don’t understand how incredibly lucky we are to have what has grown into…a major film festival right in our hometown.”

This year, Wade has curated a hip-hop music video screening in an effort to bring new audiences to the festival, as well as highlight an increasingly respected form of filmmaking. And that’s just one of the more than 150 screenings and events on offer, from talks with top-notch directors, actors, and critics to showings of the most-talked-about films on the festival circuit. So grab a program (or go to virginiafilmfestival.org), and dive in.

Also this week, we’re gearing up for election day on November 5. While there are no federal or statewide races this year, there’s quite a bit at stake, including control of Virginia’s General Assembly. Locally, longtime public defender Jim Hingeley is campaigning on a reform-minded approach to criminal justice that’s a stark contrast to Albemarle’s incumbent Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Tracci. And there are plenty of other contested races. Check out our election coverage, and mark your calendar now.

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