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The simple act of watching movies is something Americans across the country continue to value and enjoy year after year, even if the act has primarily moved to the couch instead of a theater.
Despite the growth of streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu, celebrating writers, directors, producers and actors alike is still a large part of the film industry. And while the Academy Awards—renowned as the largest award show for those involved in film—recognizes the best of the best, getting to that prestigious place takes practice, effort and, most commonly, time.
That’s why both up-and-coming and well-known individuals take part in film festivals, enabling them to showcase their work and be recognized for it. Here in Northern Virginia, we have the opportunity to celebrate talent from near and far at the annual Middleburg Film Festival, taking place this month.
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This year’s event will debut 34 films and the festival begins on Thursday, Oct. 17, and continues through Sunday, Oct. 20.
The first film set to premiere is Marriage Story, by filmmaker Noah Baumbach—who will be honored for his work in this film and many others at the festival—starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver in a compassionate look at how a family can stay together despite the break of a marriage.
Other featured films of note include Ford v Ferrari, telling the inspiring true story of two men in the race car driving industry, starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale; Harriet, filmed right here in Virginia and based on the life of iconic American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, played by Tony award-winning actress Cynthia Erivo; and Waves, which follows an emotional journey of a suburban African-American family, starring Sterling K. Brown and Lucas Hedges, among others.
The Irishman, a saga of organized crime in post-war America starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, will close the festival Sunday evening.
In addition to Baumbach’s recognition as the winner of the Spotlight Director Award, six-time Grammy award-winning composer Terence Blanchard will be honored with the Distinguished Composer Award and screenwriter Anthony McCarten will take home the festival’s Distinguished Screenwriter Award.
Throughout the weekend, guests will be enriched by films of all genres, languages, lengths and styles, as well as Q&A sessions with world-renowned filmmakers and actors. Plus, local wine, beer and food vendors will be on-site throughout the weekend, giving both locals and visitors alike a taste of Middleburg.
To see the complete lineup of films and to purchase tickets to the festival, click here. // Middleburg Community Center: 300 W. Washington St., Middleburg; prices vary