Later this month, the Middleburg Film Festival debuts,
offering a range of independent films and a chance to take in the countryside.
In April, Salamander Spa owner Sheila C. Johnson announced a three-day festival that has become a four-day festival, running Oct. 24-27 at locations throughout Middleburg, including the National Sporting Library, Hill School, Middleburg Community Center, the recently opened Salamander Resort & Spa – which happens to be the official filmmaker venue – and Boxwood Winery.
Organizers have selected a range of narrative and documentary films for screening, followed by thoughtful and lively conversations with world-renowned filmmakers, actors, film subjects and critics. Films will include current festival favorites, premieres and Academy Award contenders.
“As an avid filmgoer, film producer, and member of the Sundance Institute, I have wanted to bring a film festival to Middleburg for a long time,” Johnson said in April.
“We hope the Middleburg Film Festival will be distinguished by a carefully selected slate of films, the spectacular setting, and insightful and thoughtful panels and conversations,” Susan Koch, the festival’s executive director, added at the time.
In August, organizers announced that Alexander Payne’s film Nebraska would open the inaugural festival, while Justin Chadwick’s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom would serve as the centerpiece selection.
“We are honored to host Nebraska and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom at the inaugural Middleburg Film Festival,” Johnson said. “Both films are beautifully-told stories that represent the best in filmmaking and that is exactly what the Middleburg Film Festival is all about.”
The weekend kicks off with a festive “Meet the Artists” dinner where guests can enjoy an evening of casual conversation with distinguished filmmakers and actors.
The festival’s signature event is an orchestral concert featuring the works of a noted film composer, accompanied by movie clips.
Other activities and programs include: One-on-One Conversations with renowned filmmakers and actors; farm-to-table dinners and wine tastings at local vineyards; and master classes with leading members of the film industry. A “Conversation with Director Lee Daniels and former Washington Post Writer Wil Haygood” will take us behind the scenes of the critically acclaimed, Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
The festival will close with a special “Awards Brunch” – recognizing the audience’s favorite films of the festival.
The following descriptions of Nebraska and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom were provided by festival organizers:
- Nebraska, which had its world premiere at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, is the story of a quiet old man (Bruce Dern) whose mild-mannered son (Will Forte) agrees to drive him from Montana to Nebraska to claim a non-existent $1 million sweepstake prize. The film moves from the comic to melancholy and regret, painting an unforgettable story of an aging father and his son. The Paramount Pictures release is due in theaters November 22.
- Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, slated to have its world premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, is based on South African President Nelson Mandela’s autobiography of the same name. It chronicles his journey from growing up in small village to leading the fight against apartheid and spending 27 years in prison before becoming the first democratically elected President of South Africa. Idris Elba (Prometheus, The Wire) stars as Nelson Mandela, Naomie Harris (Skyfall) stars as Winnie Mandela, with Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) directing. The Weinstein Company release is due in theaters November 29.
For film listings and screening times, event schedule, FAQs and to order tickets please visit: www.middleburgfilmfestival.com
Follow the festival on Twitter @middleburgfilm and Facebook at www.facebook.com/MiddleburgFilmFestival.