This morning C-VILLE Weekly launched its new C-VILLE Live series with an interview with the organizers of the 28th Virginia Film Festival. Jody Kielbasa, director of the festival and vice provost of the arts for the University of Virginia, and Wesley Harris, programmer for the festival, stopped by our office this morning to answer some questions about this year’s films, the selection process and even what film fest guests have left them star-struck.
The Virginia Film Festival, presented by the University of Virginia, takes place November 5 through 8 and includes screenings of more than 130 films around town, discussions after the films with some of the films’ directors and actors, a Family Day on Saturday, an opening-night gala, a late-night wrap party and a mystery film that is a sneak preview of a major Hollywood studio release at 9pm Saturday, at The Paramount. This year the festival added three new screening venues, which amounts to 115 feature-length films.
“The very term ‘festival’ means to celebrate, and, for us, a truly full-fledged festival is a celebration of the art of film but also a celebration within our community,” Kielbasa says. This year the festival is bringing in more than 125 guest artists, filmmakers and people whom Kielbasa calls “history makers or social change agents,” such as LGBTQ activist Larry Kramer, who is the subject of a documentary being screened at the festival, Larry Kramer in Love and Anger.
In terms of the programming selections, Harris says they consider more than 1,000 films every year for entry into the festival. That’s a lot of viewing hours—and a lot of popcorn.
Watch the full interview below: