St. Anne's-Belfield School is proud to sponsor the 2019 Virginia Film Festival, hosting nine showings and a variety of discussions in Grisham Hall (2132 Ivy Road) Oct. 25 - 27.
A full festival program is available online. Please note, dates and times of showings may be subject to change. Tickets will be required for showings on campus.
Friday, Oct. 25
Kifaru, 6:00 - 7:45 p.m.
The northern white rhino species has long been in danger of extinction due to intense poaching and violent wars in East and Central Africa. With the number of surviving rhinos diminishing, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in central Kenya was established to breed and protect what remained of the species. Following two rangers for over four years, director David Hambridge documents the joys and pitfalls of conservation firsthand. Includes discussion with producer Andrew Harrison Brown
Little Joe, 8:45 - 10:30 p.m.
Alice is a single mother and committed plant breeder at a corporation involved with developing new species. After creating a genetically modified plant, which she names ‘Little Joe’ in honor of her teenage son, she soon discovers the flower’s supernatural ability to make those who inhale its pollen happier individuals. With subject matter meant to tiptoe around the reality of mood-enhancing psychedelics, the story turns as the effects of her new creation change from delight to abnormal experiences. Introduction by Iana Dontcheva
Saturday, Oct. 26
Midnight Family, 11:00 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
In one of Mexico City’s wealthiest neighborhoods, the Ochoa family operates a for-profit ambulance, competing with other private EMTs to help patients in need. In a city of almost 9 million, the government only operates 45 emergency ambulances, leaving businesses like that of the Ochoa family to serve as a crucial lifeline to those needing medical attention. Discussion with filmmaker Luke Lorentzen (via live video conference)
Burning Cane, 1:45 - 3:45 p.m.
God-fearing Helen Wayne’s faith is quietly tested when the relationships in her rural Louisiana Protestant town begin to unravel. Helen’s only surviving son, Daniel, is recently unemployed and struggles with the burdens of alcoholism while caring for his young son. Helen seeks refuge from the instability in her church, yet even her pastor, Reverend Pastor Joseph Tilman, cannot seem to escape his demons following the sudden death of his wife. Preceded by the short film Easter Snap
To the Stars, 5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
In a small town in 1960s Oklahoma, reclusive teen Iris endures the booze-induced antics of her mother and daily doses of bullying from her classmates. Eventually, she forges an intimate friendship with Maggie, the worldly but reckless new girl, who homes in on Iris’s untapped potential and coaxes her out of her shell. This subtle black-and-white film about friendship, growth, and hope reveals the courage of individuals forced to take drastic measures when they’re made to stand up for themselves.
BeanPole, 8:00 - 10:15 p.m.
n 1924 Russia two women, Iya, a nurse, and Masha, a recently returned soldier, struggle to reassemble their lives in the war-torn, paralyzed city of Leningrad. Director Kantemir Balagov loosely draws from the 1985 book The Unwomanly Face of War, written by Nobel Prize-winning author and historian Svetlana Alexievich to create a cinematic world that allows women to examine the pain associated with the duality of suffering and resilience.
Sunday, Oct. 27
Sea of Shadows, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
When Mexican drug cartels and Chinese traffickers join forces to poach the rare totoaba fish in the Sea of Cortez, their methods threaten to destroy all marine life in the region. Most at risk is the elusive vaquita porpoise, one of the most endangered whale species on Earth. This thrilling documentary follows a diverse, dedicated team of scientists, high-tech conservationists, investigative reporters, and undercover agents as they risk their lives to preserve what remains of the vaquita population and indict those who bring continual harm to the species.
Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly, 2:00 - 3:45 p.m.
While under house arrest in Beijing at the hands of Chinese authorities, artist and activist Ai Weiwei remotely transforms Alcatraz into an extraordinary exhibit dedicated to prisoners of conscience around the globe. His exhibit Yours Truly invites visitors to write messages of hope and support to those unjustly detained in other countries. The film follows these postcards’ journeys, demonstrating the comfort that can be found in the voices of strangers on the other side of the world. Discussion with director Cheryl Haines
The Client, 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Based on the John Grisham bestseller, The Client revolves around Mark, a street-smart 11-year-old boy who is mixed up in a world of criminal activity not meant for him. With no means of getting out, he must rely on an inexperienced lawyer with a history of substance abuse to come to his rescue. This film delves into the lively, tense, and emotionally involving world of shady dealings associated with mobsters and corrupt officials. A cinematic masterpiece from renowned filmmaker Joel Schumacher, this timeless 1994 thriller brings to light the lawless nature of man and a trail of corruption gone unnoticed. Discussion with author and longtime St. Anne's-Belfield trustee, former Board chair, and parent of two alumni John Grisham