reasons to go to the virginia film festival
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8 Reasons Why I Love The Virginia Film Festival

I know it just ended, but if you missed the film festival this year, make sure you pencil it in to your 2019 fall calendar.

8 Reasons Why I Love The Virginia Film Festival

Since I first came to UVA, the film festival has been one of my favorite parts of the fall semester. It's a chance to step away from my normal routine and actually make time to sit down and watch a quality movie. Though I've liked some movies I've seen at VAFF more than others, every movie I've seen has left me thinking more deeply about my relationship with art and the world around me. VAFF is an extremely valuable addition to the Charlottesville arts scene every year and is something that all UVA students should pencil into their calendars each year.

1. It's where I first saw La La Land two years ago

I had seen awards buzz building up for La La Land several months before it was announced at the film festival, so I was super stoked to go online right when tickets went on sale and get in. It was truly a magical experience watching this cinematic masterpiece in a beautifully restored theater, and it has been one of my favorite film festival experiences so far.

2. It allows college students to attend a fancy film festival for free and with no industry connections

Many famous film festivals, like Cannes and Sundance, are obviously on a MUCH larger scale than the Virginia Film Festival, and they probably have a much larger impact on awards buzz. Still, I always feel excited to be part of a film festival screening and have the chance to see fantastic films before they're ever released to the general public. I don't think that many other public universities (that I know of, anyway) are this connected with a major film festival, so I'm happy that I have the chance to go every year to this special event.

3. It can lead to awesome guest speakers and bring Hollywood directly to Charlottesville

Just this week, I had a guest lecture in my Arts Administration class from a famous Hollywood producer that's worked on movies like Men in Black, Edward Scissorhands, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and American Beauty. It was so cool to hear from an industry giant like him when I'm not even enrolled in a film studies class. UVA loves to bring outside cultural events and speakers into the classroom whenever events like the film festival are happening, and I'm grateful to be part of that.

4. It gives me a sneak preview of Oscar season, so I can alert my family to what's coming out this holiday season

This year, I was able to score a ticket to screening at the Paramount Theater of The Favourite, which is already being talked about for Oscar nominations. I thought it was very well done, and having been part of the earlier viewing crowd I look forward to seeing how the general press reviews it later in December. I also look forward to sorting through the "oscar contender" movies over Christmas break and knowing a little more about several of them, thanks to the film festival.

5. It's a good excuse to take a trip to the Downtown Mall and feel cultured

Something about walking by the brightly lit marquee of the Paramount before a special event always fills me with even more appreciation for the arts. The Downtown Mall is a wonderful hub for good food, shopping, and artistic events, and with my busy schedule I greatly appreciate any chance I get to hang out there and escape the UVA bubble.

6. It provides unforgettable internship opportunities for students interested in working in the arts

I've never investigated this myself, but several of my friends over the years have interned at the film festival and loved it. I'm always jealous when I see someone I know at a backstage film festival event, Snapchatting the famous actor or director that's a mere 20 feet away from them. Besides the excitement of the weekend itself, the VAFF internships seem like an amazing chance for college students to get real experience planning and marketing a huge artistic endeavor.

7. It can get people excited about movies who normally might not care much about them

Since there are over 100 films included in the film festival, and the screenings are spread across four days, there's sort of no excuse to not see at least one. No matter how much you generally don't consider yourself "a film buff," there's a little extra magic in the air when you see a movie at a festival. It's infectious and has consistently made me more excited about movies in general every year since I came to UVA.

8. It engages the whole Charlottesville community, from filmgoers to volunteers, in a wonderful artistic celebration

VAFF not only has student interns, but it also runs with the help of many community volunteers and Charlottesville sponsors. There's also events on the Saturday of the film festival every year geared specifically towards families, which I think is wonderful because it's never too early to teach your kids the magic that movies can bring to your everyday, comparatively mundane life.

With the immense team that works hard to promote this wonderful festival, Charlottesville truly transforms into a mini-Hollywood for a few days every November. The Virginia Film Festival is a staple in this wonderfully artistic city, and even after I graduate I'll look forward to the lineup announcement every year, and maybe I'll have a chance to come back one day as an adult and re-immerse myself in another wonderful collection of movies.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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