I'm happy to have been covering the Middleburg Film Festival since it began four years ago, and in that time I can say it packs more top quality, Oscar-contending movies than any other "small" festival I attend. And now as this year's event gears up they continue to aim high, revealing today that Damien Chazelle's acclaimed musical La La Land will be the centerpiece movie.
Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, La La Land is the rare case of an original Hollywood musical, centering on the turbulent relationship between an aspiring actress and a jazz pianist. Reviews out of Venice and TIFF have been glowing, with Chazelle, who saw his prior movie Whiplash become a major Oscars player, considered to be a contender once again.
Chazelle will be on hand at Middleburg for the screening, which takes place on Saturday, October 22nd.
Another huge get for festival creator Sheila Johnson is Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She'll be on hand to talk about the changing landscape in Hollywood, in particular when it comes to portrayals of women and people of color. The perceived lack of diversity has brought a lot of attention on Isaacs' position, and it will be interesting to hear what she has to say on the subject as well as the other initiatives she has begun through the Academy.
That's all nice but...LA LA LAND!!! *ahem*
The Middleburg Film Festival takes place from October 20th-23rd. And of course I'll be looking to have my annual interview with Sheila Johnson about the state of the festival, plus I'll be on hand reviewing their stellar lineup of titles once again. For more information or to purchase tickets check out their website here.