Film Fest Previews

VCU cinema lovers need not feel restricted to free movie nights at the University Student Commons – or to $1.99 screenings at the Byrd.

The Richmond area offers access to a rich cinema culture, playing host to a number of high-profile film festivals every year – perhaps the most famous of which is the internationally-recognized French Film Festival, presented by VCU and the University of Richmond.

Created in 1993 by Dr. Peter and Dr. Françoise Kirkpatrick – professors of French literature and culture at VCU and University of Richmond respectively – the festival has since 2003 been recognized by the French government as the largest French film festival in the United States. According to a press release, the 2008 festival received more than 21,000 total submissions for its 25 featured slots.

Feed your inner film buff – check out The CT’s rundown of film fests in the upcoming semester.

Sixth Annual China Fest Screenings

China Fest, officially called The China-America Festival of Film and Culture, is sponsored by The Rose Group, which works to promote a better understanding between China and the United States by way of media exchanges.

The festival began in 2004 with a film competition in the United States. Winners from this competition traveled to Beijing, China, where their films were screened at the Beijing Student Film Festival.

China Fest does not screen all winning films, but aims to provide a comprehensive look at China through the films and other cultural events.

Saturday, Feb. 5. 10 a.m.

$3 for each film.
Featuring “The I-Go King and His Son” at 10 a.m. and “True Love (Jun Ai)” at 1 p.m.
No advance tickets sold at the Byrd.

RVA Environmental Film Festival

The RVA Environmental Film Festival began in 2008 screening Dr. Seuss’s “The Lorax” with the aim to educate and entertain its attendees.

The festival hopes to give audiences “little known information about our suffering planet.”

This year the festival is sponsored by the local Sierra Clubs Falls and the Enrichmond Foundation.

Saturday, Feb. 12, 10 a.m.– 6 p.m. at the Byrd Theatre.
$10 for an all-day pass.
Featuring: “The Cove,” “Who killed Crassostrea virginica?” “Once Upon a Time in Knoxville,” “The Beekeepers,” and “No Impact Man.”
No tickets sold at the Byrd until day of show.

Virginia Indie Film Festival.

The Virginia Indie Film festival, sponsored by the Virginia Film Office and the Virginia Production Alliance, features two days of documentaries, short films and feature-length films from filmmakers all over Virginia.

The festival also includes a Q&A session with filmmakers and an Audience Choice Award, voted on by attendees.

The festival this year features 12 works, featuring topics ranging from the 2009 World Beard and Mustache Championship (the documentary “Beardo the Movie,” showing on Saturday) to a short film of corporate executives attempting to deal with a “Wet Floor” sign (short “Caution Wet Floor,” showing on Saturday).

Sunday’s schedule begins at 4:30 p.m. to show four feature-length films.

Saturday, Feb. 26 and Sunday, Feb. 17. 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday. 4:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Byrd Theatre.
Featuring three documentaries on Saturday. 1 p.m. – 4p.m., and six shorts from 4 p.m. – 6p.m.
$7 admission per segment, two-day pass for $14. Students with I.D., $2 for any segment.
No advance tickets sold at the Byrd.

French Film Festival

The French film festival is a festival firmly rooted in VCU soil. Created by a VCU professor (see above) and just minutes away from campus at the Byrd Theatre, the festival is an important part of cinema courses at universities and colleges in and around the Richmond area.

Both VCU and the University of Richmond offer full-credit French Cinema courses and other schools, like William & Mary and the University of Virginia use the festival to exemplify the role of French cinema in the present world.

The festival has strong ties to VCU, as internships are offered to students for organizing the event, translation and more technical aspects of film.

The festival works in partnership with Fémis, a film school in Paris.

Thursday, March 24 to Saturday, March 27 at the Byrd Theatre.
Schedule of events not yet available.
$115 normal admission, $105 for instructors, $65 for students for duration of festival.
Advance tickets can be purchased through

James River Film Festival

The James River Film Festival is still in its planning stages for the 18th annual event and is currently looking for entries to be part of the annual juried competition for short (less than 30 minutes) films.

The competition has $2,000 in awards available for winning entries.

The deadline is Feb. 15 and requires a $25 entry fee. Entry forms and more details can be found at

Thursday, April 7 – Sunday, April 13 at various locations in Richmond.
Featuring Peggy Ahwesh, screening of “The Night of the Hunter” and annual juried competition of short films. More to be announced.
Prices/tickets not yet available.

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