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VA Fest Launches ’04 Event with “Speed” Theme

VA Fest Launches '04 Event with "Speed" Theme

VA Fest Launches ’04 Event with “Speed” Theme

by Eugene Hernandez

Kevin Bacon in a scene from Nicole Kassell’s “The Woodsman,” which opens the Virginia Film Festival tomorrow night.

The 17th annual Virginia Film Festival will kick-off this week for a four-day run at the University of Virginia, October 28-31, 2004. With the theme of “Speed” this year, the event will, in the words of organizers, “explore our accelerated culture of fast foods and quick cuts, as well as the history of racing and chasing in the movies.”

Nicole Kassell‘s “The Woodsman” will open the event tomorrow night, the film stars Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick and Benjamin Bratt in the story of a man convicted as a child abuser who is released from prison. The following night, the festival will screen David Gordon Green‘s “Undertow,” starring Dermot Mulroney, Josh Lucas and Jamie Bell. Other new features on tap include Billy Bob Thornton and Lisa Blount in Ray McKinnon‘s “Chrystal” and Jonathan Nossiter‘s “Mondovino.”

“We are delighted to present the festival’s most varied and exhilarating program to date with over a hundred films and guest speakers from around the world”, said fest director Richard Herskowitz. “Of course, our programming on the theme of ‘Speed’ doesn’t necessarily mean fast. While many of the films we are showing will quicken the pulse of audiences, we will also be exploring the flip side of that by featuring a ‘cinema of contemplation.’ Through such works as David Gordon Green’s ‘Undertow’ and Paul Schrader‘s ‘Light Sleeper’, we’ll examine the work of directors who favor the long take over the quick cut.”

The special screening on tap for this year’s festival include Paul Schrader’s “Light Sleeper” with Willem Dafoe and Susan Sarandon, and a shot-by-shot workshop studying Robert Bresson‘s “Pickpocket,” with Schrader. Also on tap is a tribute to Steve McQueen from stunt man Loren James, including a screening of “Bullitt.” John W. Warner will present the world premiere of the racing film, “The Golden Era of NASCAR,” along with his dad, Senator John Warner, a racing enthusiast who narrated the film. And finally, Timothy “Speed” Levitch will attend a screening of Bennett Miller‘s doc, “The Cruise,” in which he stars, and also conduct his own local tour.

Tonight at the Virginia Film Festival the event will kick-off with the Adrenaline Film Project, a 72-hour effort featuring 12 teams racing to finish a new movie. Jeff Wadlow, winner of the Chrysler Million Dollar Film Festival, will lead the program and the results will be seen on Sunday afternoon.

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