The 35th Annual Virginia Film Festival is November 2-6!

Scene & Heard: The Official Newsletter for the Virginia Film Festival

The wait is over! Your 2022 Film Festival Program is here! This year, we have an exciting and diverse line-up with more than 100 films and programs taking place across Charlottesville venues from the Downtown Mall and UVA Grounds.

Our full schedule—complete with dates, times, and venues—is available online NOW. Start browsing early and get ready for tickets going on sale on Tuesday, October 18 at noon!

We're excited to reveal our Opening Night Film: Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. And that’s not all! We have so much in store, like a discussion with our VAFF Breakthrough Star Award winner Jonathan Majors who stars in the inspirational Korean War tale Devotion and is poised to be one of the industry’s biggest stars come this time next year thanks to many major upcoming projects – including his launch into the Marvel Universe!! This is Us star Chrissy Metz will join us with her film Stay Awake directed by Virginia-based filmmaker Jaimie Sisley, the winner of our inaugural Governor Gerald L. Baliles Founder’s Award.

Beyond feature films, we have powerful documentaries from Emmy-award-winning director and VAFF Chronicler Award winner Sam Pollard’s Lowndes County and the Road to Black Power to Headwaters Down directed by recent UVA graduates; an incredible lineup of foreign films including 11 titles chosen by their countries for Academy Award consideration; and so much more!

Excited? Keep reading for just a few of our program highlights:

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery



Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is the thrilling, star-studded standalone sequel to Rian Johnson’s Knives Out (2019). Set in the early days of the pandemic, the story brings Daniel Craig’s Southern sleuth, Detective Benoit Blanc, to Greece where tech billionaire Miles Bron has invited his wealthy pals to a murder mystery party. The cast has Ethan Hawke, Kate Hudson, Edward Norton, and Janelle Monáe.

Presented by Bank of America




Breakthrough Star Award: Jonathan Majors

Set in the Korean War, this aerial war epic, based on the best-selling book of the same name, tells the story of Jesse L. Brown, the first Black aviator in the United States Navy, and his dedicated wingman Tom Hudner. The pair forge an incredible bond of trust in a story of perseverance and courage as they make history while joining the ranks of the Navy’s most celebrated airmen.   

Presentation of Breakthrough Star Award to Jonathan Majors by Jason George (VAFF Board)
Discussion with actor Jonathan Majors, moderated by Tyler Coates (The Hollywood Reporter)
Presented by Truist

Stay Awake



Governor Gerald L. Baliles Founder’s Award: Jaime Sisley

Brothers Ethan and Derek try their best to juggle being teenagers while tending to their mother’s prescription drug addiction. Based on the filmmaker’s own adolescence in small-town America, Stay Awake is a personal exploration of the rollercoaster ride that families go on while trying to help their loved ones with a disease that affects millions every day.

Discussion with director Jamie Sisley, actor Chrissy Metz, and actor Wyatt Oleff, moderated by Brian Truitt (USA Today)
Presented by UVA Health
This film is part of the Virginia Filmmaking Focus presented by Virginia Film Office.

Women Talking



A Tribute to Judith Ivey

After several newly uncovered counts of sexual abuse rock a tight-knit, isolated Mennonite community, a group of women in the colony secretly gather in a hayloft to discuss how to move forward. The women narrow their choices down to three: do nothing, stay in the community and fight, or leave. Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley and Frances McDormand join Judith Ivey in this quiet drama that offers a rumination on the power of grief, rage, grace, and triumph.

Tribute to Judith Ivey by Joe Fab (VAFF)
Discussion with actor Judith Ivey, moderated by Jenny Wales (UVA)
Presented by The Paramount Theater

Empire of Light



Academy Award-winning Director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, 1917) presents a love letter to the magic of cinema and a poignant story about the power of human connection. With the aid of master cinematographer Roger Deakins (No Country for Old Men) and a top-notch cast headlined by Olivia Colman, Michael Ward, Toby Jones, and Colin Firth, Mendes tells the story of Hilary, a concessions manager at a small English seaside cinema, whose daily routine includes daily sexual advances from her boss, and Stephen, a young Black man dealing with the rampant racism of 1980’s England. The two lean on one another for support until the impermanence of life itself begins to threaten their bond.

Presented by The AV Company


From working at our venues, to helping out at our special events, volunteers are an integral part of bringing the Festival to life. Learn more about our volunteer roles and sign up to help.


Please consider helping us continue to celebrate the art of film while exploring a range of compelling topics with a donation to the VAFF. We hope to see you at the movies next month! 

A program of the University of Virginia. Presented by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.