Middleburg, VA, September 6, 2023 – The Middleburg Film Festival announced today a preliminary lineup for its 11th edition set to run October 19-22. Launching the four-day festival is Netflix’s RUSTIN from director George C. Wolfe, which tells the story of civil rights leader Bayard Rustin with a standout performance by Emmy-winner Colman Domingo as the architect of the historic 1963 March on Washington who was forced into the background due to his sexuality. In recognition of his artistic achievement and determination to bring this important and long-overlooked story to the screen, Wolfe will be presented with the Festival’s Impact Award.
A renowned director, producer, and writer Wolfe has firmly established himself as one of America’s most important and influential cultural voices. For Netflix, he directed August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom starring Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman, which was nominated for five Academy Awards and won two. For Wolfe’s Lackawanna Blues he received a DGA Award, four NAACP Image Awards and a National Board of Review Award. Wolfe served on the President’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities, is the Chief Creative Officer for the Center of Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, and from 1993-2005, he was the Producer of The Public Theatre/New York Shakespeare Festival. Wolfe has won five Tony awards and directed 17 Broadway productions.
Alexander Payne’s latest, THE HOLDOVERS from Focus Features, will screen as the Saturday night Centerpiece film after which Payne will receive the MFF Director Spotlight Award. The film reunites him with his Sideways star Paul Giamatti who plays a curmudgeonly instructor at a New England prep school forced to remain on campus during Christmas break to babysit students with nowhere to go. He eventually forms an unlikely bond with one of them – a damaged, brainy troublemaker (newcomer Dominic Sessa) – and with the school’s head cook, who has just lost a son in Vietnam (Da’Vine Joy Randolph). THE HOLDOVERS is Payne’s eighth feature film. His previous movies, including Election, Sideways, About Schmidt, The Descendants and Nebraska, have been nominated for a total of 19 Academy Awards and won two. Nebraska launched the inaugural Middleburg Film Festival in 2013 as the Opening Night film.
Receiving this year’s Agnès Varda Trailblazing Film Artist Award is Academy Award winning filmmaker Emerald Fennell whose latest film from Amazon Studios, MGM and MRC, SALTBURN, will screen at the Festival. Starring Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Ewan Mitchell and Rosamund Pike, SALTBURN is a beautifully wicked tale of privilege and desire. Struggling to find his place at Oxford University, student Oliver Quick (Keoghan) finds himself drawn into the world of the charming and aristocratic Felix Catton (Elordi), who invites him to Saltburn, his eccentric family’s sprawling estate, for a summer never to be forgotten. Also known for her work on screen as an actor, Fennell wrote and directed the 2020 Sundance breakout film “Promising Young Woman” which went on to win her the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay along with earning her nominations for Best Picture and Best Director. The Agnès Varda Award is accompanied by a grant for mentoring aspiring filmmakers.
Academy Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino will receive the Festival’s Distinguished Composer Award at a tribute concert performed by the Louden Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Kim Kluge. Giacchino’s film score credits feature some of the most popular and acclaimed projects in recent film history, including Pixar’s The Incredibles, Coco, Ratatouille and Up which earned him an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA, among other awards; Jojo Rabbit, Star Trek, Jurassic World, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Spider- Man: No Way Home, War for the Planet of the Apes and The Batman. After almost twenty years of film scoring, Giacchino directed the very first Marvel special presentation, Werewolf By Night in 2022. Included in the selection of his works to be performed at the concert are the world premieres of scores of two upcoming films, J.A. Bayona’s SOCIETY OF THE SNOW and Taika Waititi’s upcoming sports comedy NEXT GOAL WINS. Past honorees include Nicholas Britell, Carter Burwell, Kris Bowers, Diane Warren, Terence Blanchard and Michael Abels. SOCIETY OF THE SNOW will screen at the Festival.
The Middleburg Film Festival will collaborate with the U.S. Department of State through the United States’ flagship film diplomacy program – the American Film Showcase which is implemented and produced by the USC School of Cinematic Arts – to host a delegation of leading Ukrainian filmmakers. The filmmakers will be featured on a panel to discuss their recent works, showcase the country’s distinct film industry, and the critical role film plays in expressing Ukrainian cultural identity.
Festival ticket packages and passes are currently for sale at www.middleburgfilm.org, and individual tickets will go on sale in early October.
The Coca-Cola Company is returning as a Presenting Sponsor. Wells Fargo has joined as a Presenting Sponsor for the first time. The Washington Post is the Festival’s Founding Media Sponsor.