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Virginia Film Festival Plans Extensive Series of Absolutely Free Panels on Movies and Money

October 10, 2003 -- Putting our mouths where the $ is…

Complementing over 70 films to be screened from October 23-26, the 16th annual Virginia Film Festival presents a rich array of panel discussions addressing the economics of high and low budget filmmaking. All panels are free and open to the public. Festival Director Richard Herskowitz comments: “This year’s theme has attracted many luminaries in the worlds of public, non-profit media, independent, and Hollywood filmmaking, who all have urgent and informative things to say about the current state of movie funding.”

Storming the Media: A Forum for Future Filmmakers (Regal Downtown Mall 5)

Storming the Media, co-sponsored with the Filmmakers’ Studio, an organization of student and local filmmakers at the University of Virginia, is a VFF tradition. The series of panels is directed towards aspiring filmmakers and audiences interested in learning from film professionals how movies are put together, and how careers in the media are made.

  • Filming “The American Ruling Class” (Saturday, October 25th, 12pm) This upcoming documentary, which will feature Harper’s Magazine editor Lewis Lapham, combines film genres to depict a trip through the bowels of corporate America. Filmmakers Libby Handros and John Kirby will show clips from the film and talk with writer Barbara Ehrenreich about the film’s road to completion
  • Meet the Producers with Marc Abraham (Air Force One, Dawn of the Dead), Mark Johnson (Rain Man, The Alamo), Ron Yerxa (Cold Mountain), Glenn Williamson (Forces of Nature, Sylvia); Doro Bachrach (Dirty Dancing, Soldier’s Girl), and Julie Lynn (Wit); (Saturday, October 25th, 1:15pm)
  • The Art of the Deal with Kirk Schroder (Entertainment lawyer, Schroder Fidlow, PLC), Barry Sisson (Station Agent, Charlie’s Party), and Johnathan Dorfman (Co-President, ATO Pictures) (Sunday, October 26th, 11am)
  • Where’s the Money? with Temple Fennell (Co-President, ATO Pictures), Rita McClenny (Director, Virginia Film Office), Julie Lynn (producer of Wit) and Janet Graham Borba (HBO Vice President of Production) (Sunday, October 26th, 12:30pm)
  • Getting Distribution with Nancy Gerstman of Zeitgeist, Martin Jones of New Millenium, and John Vanco of Cowboy Pictures (Sunday, October 26th, 2pm).

Darden Producer’s Forum (Darden Classroom Building, CCA Ampitheater)

On October 24th, Paul Junger Witt, a leading television and film producer and alumnus of the University of Virginia leads the Darden Producers Forum. Witt will discuss the global dimensions of financing and marketing films today, with a particular emphasis on his experiences making the Gulf War drama Three Kings.

“You look at this movie, with its untraditional look and its questioning of a popular war and you wonder, how did this movie ever get made by a Hollywood studio?” says Festival director Richard Herskowitz of the 1999 film starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg. Falling short of box office expectations when first released, Three Kings is back on critics’ radar, many of whom see it as a remarkably prescient portrayal of US involvement in Iraq today. Witt will discuss the political sensitivities he encountered in marketing the film in the US and abroad. Respondents participating in this Forum are producers Glenn Williamson and Ron Yerxa. (CCA Amphitheater, Darden, room 50, 1:20pm)

Center for Social Media Panels (Regal Downtown Mall Theater 5)

Public TV and independent films are vehicles bringing people together to share political views, cultural understandings and artistic preferences. So why is making and finding media made for noncommercial purposes such a struggle? In conjunction with American University’s Center for Social Media, the Festival has gathered a panel of luminaries in the field of public media funding and exhibition, including: Center for the Social Media Director Pat Aufderheide; P.O.V. Executive Director Cara Mertes; Creative Capital Foundation President Ruby Lerner; Woody Wickham, former Vice President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Helen de Michiel, Executive Director of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (Public Culture at Risk? Supporting the Media Arts in Trying Times, Regal 5, October 25th, 2:30pm.)

A separate discussion forum to be moderated by Aufderheide will include screenwriter Frank Pierson, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Jonathan Rintels (Executive Director, Center for the Creative Community), and Janet Graham Borba, looking at The Future of Hollywood: Creators, Conglomeration and Culture (Regal 5, October 24th, 4pm). Panelists will analyze the recent megamergers, digital innovations, FCC rulings and other shake-ups in an industry that has long been the engine of commercial culture.

Fringe Festival Panel: Free Exchange vs. The Umbilical Cord of Gold

The public is also invited to a panel at the U.Va. Art Museum sponsored by the Fringe Festival, the massive arts and architectural exhibition that supplements the VFF film presentations. Artists Pierre Huyghe and Tim Rollins will be joined by Ruby Lerner for a discussion about the creation of art in a market economy (Friday, October 24, 9:30am).

Complete schedule and ticket information is now online at
Call 1-800-UVA-FEST for more information.

Contact: Elizabeth Kiem, (434) 924-3039

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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