Virginia Film Festival 2023 features Jon Batiste, Leonard Bernstein, Isabel Wilkerson and many more
Tickets are on sale for this year’s Virginia Film Festival, and there are some surprising guests planning to attend between October 25th and 29th.
Actors and directors usually get top billing at film festivals, but this year’s event in Charlottesville will also feature others who make award-winning movies – like the make-up artist who turned a young Bradley Cooper into an aging Leonard Bernstein in the biopic Maestro.
Festival Director Jody Kielbasa says a Grammy and Oscar winning musician will also take center stage. Jon Batiste is profiled in a documentary on his composition -- the American Symphony.
“He set out to chronicle native American music, African-American music and turn it into a classical piece, and the film took on a whole different trajectory because, during the filming, Batiste’s wife Suleika was diagnosed with the re-occurrence of leukemia.”
Director Ava DuVernay will be on hand to answer questions about another documentary – Origin, in which the author of the bestselling book Caste explores her ideas on racism.
And festival goers can take in the tale of an astronaut who also played for the NFL.
“This film focuses on significant contributions that African-Americans made to the space race, and Leland Melvin is going to be coming in.”
Also on the marquis, academy award winning director Mark Johnson who will speak about the movie he produced with Paul Giamatti. It’s called the Holdovers, and Kielbasa predicts it will net the actor an Oscar nomination.
To hear more about this year's festival, click on a conversation with Director Jody Kielbasa and Senior Programmer Ilya Tovbis who begins by telling why a make-up artist will be featured after a biopic about Leonard Bernstein — Maestro.