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Meg Ryan Headlines VA Film Festival

(Photo by Dario Cantatore/Invision/AP)

The Virginia Film Festival is bringing some big names to Charlottesville this fall.  Sandy Hausman spoke with the event’s director at a preview for the event and  filed this report.

In the summer of 2014, Meg Ryan was in Virginia, directing a film in which she starred, along with Tom Hanks, Sam Shepherd, and her son Jack Quaid.  That film, called Ithaca, is based on William Saroyan’s novel The Human Comedy, and festival director Jody Kielbasa says it will premiere here.

“It is Meg Ryan’s directorial debut, and Meg Ryan will be on hand to both introduce the film and then have a Q&A afterwards with the producer," he says. "The film stars Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, and they’ve had a sort of legendary  pairing in their career together, so it’s great to see them back on the big screen in her debut.”

Opening night, November 5th, will feature a biopic about Hank Williams.  Oliver Stone returns to talk about his film Born on the Fourth of July.  There’s a documentary about Julius Rosenwald, a philanthropist who built a network of rural schools for African Americans in the early 20th century, and for classic film buffs

“We’re going to be screening the Maltese Falcon, a print that the Library of Congress has restored, and critic Leonard Maltin is going to introduce that film.”

Writer, director and AIDS activist Larry Kramer will also speak in connection with his HBO film Larry Kramer in Love and Anger, and Virginia will get a chance to see Son of Saul-- a movie already generating Oscar buzz.

“And interestingly enough the actor who stars in the film, Geza Rohrig,  it’s his first time acting," Kielbasa says. "He actually teaches in Brooklyn and used to be and a I think still does play in a rock and roll band, and I think he’s likely to be nominated for an Academy Award  this year.”

Also making its debut,  a space that’s been under construction for months -- the new Violet Crown cinema and restaurant on the downtown mall.  Tickets go on sale October 2nd at 12:01 a.m. online.  Last year the opening night film sold out in a matter of minutes.

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