While it's not always possible to make it to Toronto, Telluride, or any of the other major fall film festivals, often the local festivals are packed enough that we won't miss a thing. The Virginia Film Festival returns for its 29th year beginning November 3rd, and once again the lineup of more than 120 movies is stacked with potential Oscar contenders, documentaries, classics, and appearances by icons of the industry.
The opening night film won't be revealed until Thursday when Governor Terry MacAuliffe makes the announcement, but even so it will have a tough time topping the festival's closer, Damien Chazelle's musical La La Land, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Coming out of the gate hot at TIFF the film is already high on many lasts as a likely Best Picture contender. Other major awards season selections include Garth Davis' Lion starring Dev Patel and Rooney Mara, Pedro Almodovar's Julieta, Paul Verhoeven's Elle featuring a performance by Isabelle Huppert that earned tremendous renown at Cannes, Bleed for This starring Miles Teller as boxer Vinny Pazienza, and Wakefield starring Bryan Cranston and Jennifer Garner.
Of course there will be plenty of VA-centric movies on hand, as well, including the centerpiece film, documentary The Promise on the 1985 double-murder of Derek and Nancy Haysom in Lynchburg, VA. Other docs include Mifune: The Last Samurai, The Tower, and Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise.
The Conversation series is back and a trio of legends will be making their way to Charlottesville to take part. Director and documentarian Werner Herzog, actress/director Liv Ullmann, and Richmond native Shirley MacLaine will have an all-encompassing discussion on their lives and legendary careers. Also, Danny McBride will present two episodes of his HBO series, Vice Principles, They are part of an extensive guest list that includes more than 150 filmmakers encompassing the festival's spectrum of titles and genres.
The Virginia Film Festival takes place in Charlottesville, VA from Nov. 3rd-6th. Tickets go on sale beginning September 30th. For a complete schedule and to purchase tickets simply go to the website here.