The 2020 Virginia Film Festival offers an abundance of virtual and drive-in programming

The 33rd annual Virginia Film Festival will open with Regina King's directorial debut, One Night in Miami.... Image: Courtesy of VAFF The 33rd annual Virginia Film Festival will open with Regina King’s directorial debut, One Night in Miami…. Image: Courtesy of VAFF

Due to our need for social distancing, the 33rd annual Virginia Film Festival looks a little different this year, but organizers say that shouldn’t deter anyone from exploring the 50-plus offerings of virtual screenings, conversations, and drive-in movies.

UVA Vice Provost for the Arts and Director of the Virginia Film Festival, Jody Kielbasa says his team dealt with COVID-19 by “moving into a new festival model that was being developed in real time all around us.”

With virtual all-access passes already on sale, Kielbasa and Program Manager Chandler Ferrebee announced a diverse program that opens with Regina King’s highly anticipated directorial debut, One Night in Miami…, a fictionalized story of Cassius Clay, Malcolm X, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke, as they celebrate  Clay’s February 1964 win over Sonny Liston in Miami Beach.

Also on tap this year are the centerpiece film Ammonite, a romantic drama starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan; Boys State, a Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning documentary that reflects our national political divides; and Nomadland, which features Frances McDormand as a woman who hits the road after losing everything in the Great Recession. 

Ferrabee noted several other highlights, including Alice by local flimmaker Eduardo Montes-Bradley, and Shithouse, a story that unfolds around a lonely college freshman attending a frat party.

Online appearances to support the screenings include Annette Bening, Leslie Odom, Jr., Ethan Hawke, NPR host Diane Rehm, bandleader Doc Severinsen, and Terminator franchise star Linda Hamilton. 

The full festival program will be posted online on Thursday, October 8 at 10am, and tickets for the drive-in film screenings and special presentations will go on sale that day at noon. More information can be found at

Posted In:     Arts,Culture


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