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Four major movie premieres sweeten the “$” deal

October 14, 2003 -- The Virginia Film Festival will present The Company, the latest film by legendary director Robert Altman, as one of four major movie premieres wrapping up the 2003 program.

“Four of our most exciting premieres have been confirmed only in the past week,” said Festival Director Richard Herskowitz. “These films were worth the wait.”

Sony Classics’ The Company stars Neve Campbell (Scream, Wild Things, Party of Five), Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) and the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago in a gritty look at the realities of daily life as a professional dancer. Campbell, an accomplished dancer who studied with the National Ballet of Canada before pursuing an acting career, plays a gifted ballerina poised to become a principal dancer. The film is a startlingly intimate pas de deux between Altman’s fluid camerawork, the pulsating life force of ballet, and the richly textured behaviors of the dancers. It is a love letter to artists who work in this singularly difficult and universally expressive medium, to the people behind the scenes who make the performance possible, and to the art form of dance itself. Audiences at the Virginia Film Festival can see The Company at Culbreth Theatre on October 25, 7pm, a full two months ahead of its national theatrical release. The screening is a collaboration with the University of Virginia Council for the Arts, which has made creating a dance program one of its goals for strengthening the arts at the University, and the Campaign for Dance, an organization committed to advocacy of dance studies at the University.

On Friday, October 24th (1pm, Vinegar Hill Theatre) the Virginia Film Festival will present two feature premieres. In This World, by Michael Winterbottom, won the Golden Bear at the 2003 Berlin Film Festival. It has been ecstatically praised by critics--London’s Daily Telegraph film critic called it “the film of my lifetime.” The film tells the story of Jamal and Enayatullah, two Afghan cousins who embark on a refugee’s clandestine odyssey from the ruins of Afghanistan to the Red Cross outlets of London. Played by non-professional actors using their own names, the two boys travel through Iran, Turkey, and France before reaching London. Shooting on digital video using only available light, Winterbottom (Welcome to Sarajevo) harnesses the immediacy of documentary techniques to create an urgent, intimate account of human beings driven by the fundamental urge to create a better life.

“In This World explores contemporary immigration and poverty, as does another excellent film in our schedule, James’ Journey to Jerusalem, ” said Richard Herskowitz. “These films not only tie in with our “$” theme, but they, along with the Gulf War film Three Kings, also happen to be screening, appropriately enough, on United Nations Day.”

The great American playwright and actor Sam Shepard is the subject of This So-Called Disaster, (IFC Films) a documentary tracking Shepard’s theatrical production of The Late Henry Moss. The film begins about halfway through rehearsals and follows the crew and cast (featuring noted actors Nick Nolte and Sean Penn in leading roles) through opening night. Director Michael Almareyda has created more than a standard documentary about a dramatist and his work --This So-Called Disaster is an unusually intimate portrait of a group working their way through a process of creative discovery. It will be shown at the Virginia Film Festival on Friday October 24 at 7pm at Regal Cinema on the Downtown Mall.

On closing day of the Festival, audiences will be treated to a lost African-American classic and bold political thriller, in a newly restored print. The Spook Who Sat By The Door was an overnight sensation in 1973, but was quickly pulled from distribution, ostensibly at the urging of the FBI. The plot centers on black CIA agent Dan Freeman (Lawrence Cook) who uses his expertise to foment a guerilla war against the white power structure. Adapted from Sam Greenlee’s controversial novel, the film provided a haunting look at how easily the American dream could turn into a nightmare, and inspired a long line of “blaxploitation” films in the 1970s. One of the most significant independent Black films ever made, The Spook Who Sat by The Door, will be re-released in theaters and on DVD next year by Obsidian Home Entertainment, a division of Tim and Daphne Reid’s New Millennium Studios in Petersburg, Virginia. Martin Jones, president of Obsidian will present the film on Sunday, October 26 at 4pm at Vinegar Hill Theatre and will conduct a teleconference with screenwriter Sam Greenlee following the screening.

Contact: Elizabeth Kien, (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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