Virginia Commonwealth University

Make it real.

SFF 2014: Sports and the South

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.

For more information, please contact

All events are free unless otherwise noted.


Friday, February 7, 2014

3 p.m. Remember the Titans (2000)

VCU Campus, Academic Learning Commons, 1000 Floyd Avenue, Room 1107

Set at T.C. Williams High School in Northern Virginia and starring Denzel Washington, Remember the Titans tells the true story of how Coach Herman Boone’s leadership of the racially-divided football team helped promote the integration of the school in the early 1970s. Special guest Coach Herman Boone will introduce the film, and a post-film discussion with Boone and T.C. Williams alumna Randy Woods McKlveen (’72), Betsy Blake Haas (’72), and Marilyn Buckner Martin (’73) will follow.  Moderated by Brian Daugherity, Assistant Professor of History at Virginia Commonwealth University.

6:30-9 p.m. Secretariat (2010)

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

The story of Penny Chenery, played by Diane Lane, who took over the management of her father’s Meadow Ridge Stables in Virginia and brought the racehorse Secretariat to the elusive Triple Crown victory. The film will be presented by Kate Chenery Tweedy, author of Secretariat’s Meadow and daughter of Penny Chenery. Kate also served as a consultant and an extra on the film. A post-film discussion with Tweedy and co-author Leanne Meadows will follow.  Moderated by Catherine Ingrassia,  Professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

10 a.m.  Tennis Shorts

Grace Street Theater and co-sponsored by the Richmond Tennis Association

Get a sneak peek! of the upcoming film  Althea (2014) with a “work in progress excerpt” that chronicles the improbable career of Althea Gibson, the first player—and woman—to break the color barrier in U.S. tennis in the 1950s. Johnnie and Arthur Ashe (2013) tells the moving story of how Johnnie’s sacrifices for his brother Arthur helped shape the career of the tennis champion. Post-film discussion panel with Althea director Rex Miller; Jolynn Johnson Smith, granddaughter of Walter Johnson who coached both Gibson and Ashe; and Eric Perkins and Tom Hood, co-author’s of Richmond–One of America’s Best Tennis Towns.

12 p.m.  Mickey:  A Family Story (2004)

Virginia Historical Society Robins Family Forum and co-sponsored by the Richmond Flying Squirrels

Pre-film activities begin at noon and include baseball activities with Nutzy, the Flying Squirrels mascot; a book signing by Richard and Kathy Verlander, 2008 Little League Parents of the Year and authors of Rocks Across the Pond; and a sports collection drive by the Virginia Historical Society.

The film Mickey will begin promptly at 1 p.m.  Written by John Grisham and filmed in Virginia, Harry Connick, Jr. stars in this touching family film about parenting, ethics, and Little League Baseball.  A post-discussion panel will follow with the Verlanders and Dawn Blacksten, location manager for Mickey.

4 p.m.  Greased Lightning (1977)

Grace Street Theater

Starring Richard Pryor in this dramatic film about the Danville stock car driver Wendell Scott, the only African-American to win what is now the Sprint Cup Series.  Introduction and post-film discussion with William F. Scott, Sr. and Warrick F. Scott, Sr., Scott’s son and grandson, who established the Wendell Scott Foundation to preserve the driver’s legacy, and Brandon Atkins, VP of American National Bank and longtime friend of the Scott family. Moderated by Connie Nyholm, CEO/Owner of Virginia International Raceway.

7 p.m.  Whip It! (2009)

Grace Street Theater and co-sponsored by River City Roller Girls

About a young girl in Texas, played by Ellen Page, whose secret life as rollerderby champion Babe Ruthless helps her cope with small-town living and a beauty pageant-obsessed mother.  Introduction by Shauna Cross, the author, screenwriter, and former skater Maggie Mayhem.  A post-film discussion with Cross, TV8 film critic Morgan Dean, and River City Roller Girl Thistle Hurt will follow.