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SFF 2013: Screening Southern Freedom

Founded in 2010 to explore how the distinctiveness of the South has been portrayed onscreen, the Southern Film Festival brings together films and those involved in their making with constructive commentary.

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All events are free unless otherwise noted.

Friday, February 8

6:30-9 p.m. Jamestown (1923)

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Leslie Cheek Theater
Admission: $8 general admission; $5 for VMFA members; free for VCU faculty, staff, and students (must present valid ID to pick up tickets)

Based on the book Pioneers of the Old South by the Richmond writer and women’s suffragist Mary Johnston, Jamestown was adapted into a silent film in 1923. It depicts the colony from which the first steps for American freedom took root and, paradoxically, from where American slavery was born. Preserved by the Library of Congress, this rarely-seen film will be screened with live musical accompaniment by the St. Charles String Quartet.

Moderated by:  Morgan Dean, co-anchor of Good Morning Richmond and film critic for TV8
Panel discussion after the film featuring Morgan Dean; Trent Nicholas of the VMFA; and Clayton Brooks, Mary Johnston scholar

Saturday, February 9

10 a.m. Thunder Road (1959)

Cous Cous Restaurant
Admission:  $5 includes breakfast; drinks, including the infamous Thrillbilly cocktail, will be available for purchase

This 1959 crime-drama starring Robert Mitchum as a moonshine runner, has become a cult classic for its gritty depiction of an independent moonshiner struggling for freedom from gangsters and the government.

Moderated by: Jim Stramel, director of Thrillbillies and Degenerates Ink

1 p.m. The Making of Lincoln

Virginia Historical Society Theater

Prepared especially for the Southern Film Festival, this short provides behind-the-scenes commentary about the making of Lincoln, the new feature film by Steven Spielberg that focuses on Lincoln’s role in the abolition of slavery and was shot in the Richmond area.  Production team members Rita McClenney, Shelley Illmensee, John Witt, and Nicholas Angelo Batten will comprise a post-viewing panel to discuss their experiences making the film.

4 p.m. The Loving Story (2011)

Grace Street Theater

This award-winning documentary tells the story of Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter, an interracial couple barred from living in their home state of Virginia. Newly discovered 16 mm footage, personal family testimony, and rare documentary photos take us behind the scenes of this emotional account, and the film shows how the Lovings Case led to greater marriage equality when the Supreme Court struck down anti-miscegenation laws in 1967.

Moderated by:  Peter Wallenstein, historian and author of Tell the Court I Love My Wife

7 p.m. Stormy Weather (1943)

Grace Street Theater
Held in conjunction with VCU Dance

Made in 1943, this musical is loosely based on the life of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, a Richmond native who achieved economic freedom through his extraordinary skills as a tap dancer. Notable performances include Lena Horne’s rendition of the title song, Fats Waller’s composition “Ain’t Misbehavin,” and Cab Calloway’s “Jumpin’ Jive.”

Moderated by: Daphne Maxwell-Reid, actress and host of Virginia Currents on WCVE