CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - The 26th annual Virginia Film Festival is reporting record-breaking sales at the box office.
Festival organizers say box office sales totaled $120,156. That's up 11 percent from 2012's total of $108,043.
The festival in Charlottesville ended Sunday. More than 27,000 tickets were issued and 35 screenings were sold out.
Festival director Jody Kielbasa tells The Daily Progress that the Charlottesville community has embraced the festival.
Films screened this year included "Nebraska," featuring "Saturday Night Live" alumnus Will Forte and veteran actor Bruce Dern; and the Alfred Hitchock classic "The Birds." The centerpiece film was "Claw."
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Virginia Film Festival Press Release
Charlottesville, VA – November 12, 2013 – The Virginia Film Festival kicked off its second quarter-century in record-breaking style, smashing its previous ticket sales record set during the 25th Anniversary celebration in 2012.
The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia. Festival officials announced today that the 2013 VFF set all-time marks at the box office, coming in at $120,156 in total sales, an increase of 11% over last year’s 25th Virginia Film Festival issued more than 27,000 tickets in all, and boasted 35 sold out screenings.
“We are delighted to share the news that this year’s Festival has once again put us in uncharted territory when it comes to ticket sales,” said VFF Director and U.Va. Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa. “It is a credit not only to the hard work of our staff and volunteers, but also to the extraordinarily supportive and culturally engaged members of this community, who year after year come out in force to enjoy and interact with the Festival on so many levels and in so many ways.”
This year’s success is particularly gratifying, Kielbasa said, when you look at the fact that it was spread throughout the entire Festival. “We were thrilled to see a full house for our higher profile events, such as our Opening Night Screening of Nebraska with special guests Will Forte and producer Ron Yerxa, and for our Friday night screening of The Birds with Tippi Hedren. But when you look deeper into our program, it is particularly satisfying to me and to our Programmer Wesley Harris to see the tremendous response to films that might not have been as well-known before the Festival. This really speaks to our mission, and to our ongoing desire to create a dynamic and ongoing dialogue around the films we show and the issues that surround them.”
Once again, Kielbasa said, the Festival’s reach extended to Hollywood and around the world, with a program that included some of the most highly-anticipated titles and exciting discoveries of the year, and filmmakers that hailed from around the world and right here in the Commonwealth. “I continue to be amazed by the quality of films coming from right here in the Commonwealth,” he said. “And we were so happy to provide a well-deserved spotlight for a number of talented Virginia filmmakers with films like I Used to Be Darker, CLAW, Seasons with Brian and Julia, Blue Ruin and so many others.”
Kielbasa added that this year’s Centerpiece Film, CLAW, was a perfect example of a film with local roots and national appeal. “When we decided to slot this film into our Saturday night Centerpiece Film slot, we knew it would be more than a film, it would be an event that could be shared by the people who made it, who are featured in it, and the community who helped launch CLAW around the country and around the world.”
The Festival’s special guests added so much to this year’s Festival in ways that went beyond box office success, Kielbasa said. “Will Forte, Jorma Taccone and Tippi Hedren all went above and beyond to share their talents and experiences through meetings with U.Va. students and through generous interactions with our audiences. In addition, the successful debut of our new Family Day format at the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds was a perfect example of the Festival’s ability to engage with the U.Va. academic community, while shining a well-deserved spotlight on the extraordinary arts offerings available on the Grounds all year long.”
Premiere sponsors for the 2013 Virginia Film Festival are The AV Company, Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman, Trustees), Flow Audi of Charlottesville, Regal Entertainment Group, and the Virginia Film Office.
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