The Virginia Film Festival announced that, in light of the evolving COVID-19 situation, their 5-day Film Festival will shift to a virtual format this fall. The VAFF will be presented on its originally-scheduled dates, October 21-25, and will feature a diverse slate of features, documentaries, and shorts alongside panels, Q&As, and a series of conversations with leading industry experts and artists.
The Virginia Film Festival is a program of the University of Virginia, with support from the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts. “We are committed to safely presenting a deep and diverse program of films and discussions this year that brings our community together to celebrate the art of film,” said Jody Kielbasa, Director of the Virginia Film Festival and Vice Provost for the Arts at the University of Virginia. “And while we are obviously disappointed that we will not be able to share the Virginia Film Festival in person in October, we feel that the virtual platform is the best and most accessible option for us to move forward with, and most importantly, the best way for us to promote the health and safety of our community members.”
In many ways, Kielbasa added, the virtual platform lends itself to the kind of robust presentations and discussions for which the VAFF is known. “Our ability to build discussions around some of the most top-of-mind issues of our day, featuring leading industry voices and experts and scholars from the University of Virginia, has long set us apart on the festival circuit,” he said. “We are tremendously excited about the possibility of continuing, and even expanding these efforts in the virtual world, and are confident we will create a festival that will delight our existing audiences while at the same time introducing more people to what we do and who we are.”
While programming efforts are ongoing, Kielbasa suggested that VAFF fans should expect a range of more than 50 films across a variety of topics, genres, and nations as well as filmmaker Q&As, panel discussions, and a series of standalone and film-based conversations that will bring the VAFF experience home. “As we navigate this new festival and entertainment landscape, we are excited about the conversations we are having with distributors, filmmakers, and potential guests, and we are looking forward to creating and delivering a first-rate Virginia Film Festival experience in the digital realm.”
Kielbasa added that he is hopeful that the VAFF will be able to bring the community together through potential in-person events again soon. “Serving the community that supports us so strongly is very important to us,” he said, “and we would like to find a way to safely present an experience this fall to complement our virtual program, such as a drive-in movie or socially-distanced outdoor screening. Such an event would allow us to come together to celebrate a shared love of film in a way that is fun and safe for all.”
More information on virtual screening passes and individual ticket sales will be announced soon. A full program of virtual screenings and discussions will be released in early October. For more information on the Virginia Film Festival, visit virginiafilmfestival.org.