Southern Film Festival planned for this weekend

Sarah King
Staff Writer

Students won’t have to rely on Netflix this weekend to get their movie fix. VCU will host its fifth annual Southern Film Festival this Friday and Saturday Feb. 7-8, which will feature six free films at different locations on or near campus.

The theme of this year’s festival is “Sports and the South.” The six movies scheduled for showing are: “Remember the Titans” (2000), “Secretariat” (2010), “Althea” (2014), “Mickey: A Family Story” (2004), “Greased Lightning” (1977) and “Whip It!” (2009). Students, faculty and staff are allowed free admission into any of the films with a valid VCU ID.

“We started the Southern Film Festival to provide constructive discussion about the films. A lot of film festivals focus on the production side of film, but we also try to provide more context about the cultural and perception side,” said Emilie Raymond, the chairperson of the festival and associate professor for VCU’s history department.

Each of the films is either preceded or followed by special guest speakers affiliated with each of the movies. Guests include former T.C. Williams High School football coach Herman Boone, who was portrayed by actor Denzel Washington in “Remember the Titans.” Boone will introduce “Remember the Titans” on Friday before its 3 p.m. showing.

“Herman Boone obviously has some valuable insight as to how things were at T.C. at the time, and we’re going to have people who went to school there at that time speak as well on a panel after the film,” Raymond said.

Other guests include Kate Chenery Tweedy and Leanne Meadows, authors of “Secretariat’s Meadow,” Rex Miller, the director of “Althea,” Nutzy the Richmond Flying Squirrels mascot, William and Warrick F. Scott, the son and grandson of Wendell Scott and Shauna Cross, the author and screenwriter of “Whip It!” Raymond said finding guest speakers for the films was not difficult.

“Some people are just really easy to connect with and we just ask them (to come),” Raymond said. “With others somebody might just know someone and it works out that way.”

Each year, the film festival is planned with a theme in mind. Past themes for the festival included civil rights, literature, rebellion and freedom.

“This year the theme is Sports and the South, which not only speaks to the individual but larger social and cultural issues too,” Raymond said. “For example ‘Remember the Titans’ talks about race, but other films address and dig up gender norms and those kinds of issues as well.”

The event is sponsored by several VCU departments including history and dance, as well as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and The Flying Squirrels, among others.

On Friday, Feb. 7, “Remember the Titans” will be shown at 3 p.m at the Academic Learning Commons and “Secretariat” will be shown at 6:30 p.m. at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Leslie Cheek Theater.

On Saturday, Feb. 8, “Althea” will play at Grace Street Theater at 10 a.m., followed by “Mickey: A Family Story” at the Virginia Historical Society Robins Family Forum at noon. “Greased Lightning” will show at Grace Street Theater at 4 p.m., followed by “Whip It!” in the same location at 7 p.m.

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