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Middleburg Film Festival Unveils Full Slate of 2015 Films

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middleburg film festival
Middleburg Film Festival’s Executive Director Susan Koch announced today the twenty-three films that comprise the main slate for the festival. The festival opens Thursday, October 22 with Tom McCarthy’s critically acclaimed SPOTLIGHT starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Brian d’Arcy James, Stanley Tucci, and John Slattery. The Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron and SPOTLIGHT producer Steve Golin will be in attendance for a conversation following the screening.

Actress Meg Ryan makes her directorial debut with the World Premiere of her film, ITHACA, filmed in Virginia. The main slate features titles from five women directors, including THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, MUSTANG, PEGGY GUGGENHEIM – ART ADDICT and MISS YOU ALREADY from Catherine Hardwicke, whose achievements include the highest grossing opening weekend for a female director. The festival will also screen a selection of foreign language submissions to the Oscars, including films from Portugal, Colombia, France, Iceland and Hungary.
Middleburg Film Festival will welcome special guests including director Lee Daniels (“Empire”, THE BUTLER), director Catherine Hardwicke (MISS YOU ALREADY, THIRTEEN, TWILIGHT), director and actress Meg Ryan (ITHACA), director Abigail Disney (THE ARMOR OF LIGHT), director Marc Abraham (I SAW THE LIGHT), actor and film subject Tab Hunter (TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL), and actress Bo Derek.
Carter Burwell will be honored as this year’s Distinguished Film Composer with a selection of his most memorable scores presented by the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra. The festival will also honor Academy Award-nominee Dante Spinotti as this year’s Distinguished Cinematographer.
Middleburg Film Festival runs from October 22 to October 25 in Virginia’s historic wine country located one hour from Washington, DC. Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe will welcome guests on Opening Night.
“We are delighted to share this year’s selection of films and conversations with festival attendees,” said Executive Director Susan Koch. “The 2015 slate represents a terrific mix of Oscar contenders, fascinating documentaries, and critically-acclaimed foreign language films.”
“The third year of the Middleburg Film Festival will continue to be a destination event for Washington, D.C. area filmgoers as well as film lovers from around the country,” said MFF founder Sheila C. Johnson. “New and returning guests alike will enjoy a weekend of spectacular films right in the heart of Virginia’s beautiful historic wine country.”

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Middleburg Film Festival 2015 Program


Opening Night – SPOTLIGHT
Director: Tom McCarthy
2015, 128 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative

The true story of how the Boston Globe’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world.

Main Slate

Director: Andrew Haigh
2015, 95 minutes
Country: UK
Genre: Narrative
While preparing for their 45th anniversary, Kate and Geoff’s marriage is shaken with a discovery that calls into question the life they’ve built together.


Directors: Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson
2015, 90 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative
Director Charlie Kaufman uses stop-motion figures for his inventive tale of Michael Stone, a motivational speaker trapped inside a meaningless life. On business in Cincinnati, Stone meets a woman who has come to hear him speak. He’s instantly attracted to her voice.  What transpires is something very real and tender.


Portugal’s submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 88th Academy Awards
Director: Miguel Gomes
2015, 131 minutes
Country: Portugal
Genre: Foreign Language Narrative

Through three stories, this modern-day folk tale explores contemporary Portugal and how desolation has permeated through humanity.

Director: Abigail Disney
2015, 87 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Documentary
THE ARMOR OF LIGHT follows an Evangelical minister and the mother of a teenage shooting victim who ask, is it possible to be both pro-gun and pro-life?


Director: Todd Haynes
2015, 118 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative
CAROL follows two women from very different backgrounds who find themselves in an unexpected love affair. As conventional norms of the time challenge their undeniable attraction, an honest story emerges to reveal the resilience of the heart in the face of change.


Colombia’s submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 88th Academy Awards
Director: Ciro Guerra
2015, 125 minutes
Country: Colombia
Genre: Foreign Language Narrative

Filmed in stunning black-and-white, SERPENT centers on Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and the last survivor of his people, and the two scientists who, over the course of 40 years, build a friendship with him.

Director: Ron Davis
2015, 84 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Documentary

Dutch immigrant, Harry deLeyer, developed a transformative relationship with a broken down Amish plow horse he rescued off a slaughter truck. In less than two years, Harry & Snowman went on to win the triple crown of show jumping.

Director: Kent Jones
2015, 90 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Documentary

In 1962 Hitchcock and Truffaut locked themselves away in Hollywood for a week to excavate the secrets behind the mise-en-scène in cinema. Based on the original recordings of this meeting-this film illustrates the greatest cinema lesson of all time and plummets us into the world of the creator of PSYCHO, THE BIRDS, and VERTIGO.

Director: Stig Björkman
2015, 114 minutes
Country: Sweden
Genre: Documentary
Three-time Academy Award-winner Ingrid Bergman remains one of the greatest stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Through never-before-seen home movies, along with Bergman’s personal notes, letters, and diaries, INGRID BERGMAN – IN HER OWN WORDS presents an intimate and moving portrait of one of the most acclaimed film actresses of all time.


Director: Marc Abraham
2015, 123 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative
I SAW THE LIGHT is the story of the legendary country western singer Hank Williams, who in his brief life created one of the greatest bodies of work in American music. The film chronicles his meteoric rise to fame and its ultimately tragic effect on his health and personal life.


Director: Meg Ryan
2015, 88 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative
Based on the novel The Human Comedy, a young bicycle messenger’s brother has gone off to war, leaving him to look after his family. The boy’s job includes the difficult task of delivering telegrams from the Secretary of War, informing the families in this small town of the death of their loved one on the frontlines. One of these telegraph messages will change his life forever.


Director Joachim Trier
2015, 109 minutes
Country: Norway
Genre: Narrative
A New York family finds renewal and affection through the untimely death of its matriarch, as an exhibition of her war photography brings into sharp focus the surviving members’ own struggles to express painful truths about love and loss.


Director: Justin Kurzel
2015, 112 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative
A thrilling interpretation of Shakespeare’s most famous and compelling characters, a story of all-consuming passion and ambition, set in the war torn Scottish landscape.


Director: Nanni Moretti
2015, 107 minutes
Country: Italy
Genre: Foreign Language Narrative

MIA MADRE centers on Margherita, a director shooting an Italian film with a famous American actor, who is a disruptive blowhard and buffoon. Away from the shoot, Margherita tries to hold her life together despite her mother’s illness and her daughter’s adolescence.

Director: Catherine Hardwicke
2015, 112 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative
MISS YOU ALREADY follows two best friends as they navigate life’s highs and lows. Inseparable since they were young girls, nothing prepares them for the day Milly is hit with life-altering news.


France’s submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 88th Academy Awards
Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven
2015, 94 minutes
Country: France, Turkey
Genre: Foreign Language Narrative
In a village in the north of Turkey, five sisters on their way home from school, are seen innocently playing with boys. The family home slowly turns into a prison and marriages begin to be arranged.


Director: Lisa Immordino Vreeland
2015, 97 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Documentary
Peggy Guggenheim was an heiress to her family fortune who became a central figure in the modern art movement. While fighting through personal tragedy, she maintained her vision to build one of the most important collections of modern art.


Director: Joseph Castelo
2015, 96 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative
Based on a true story of a prep school student who smuggled $300k of uncut cocaine into the U.S. in 1984.  The story centers on Toby, the working-class scholarship student, who uses his street cred and access to drugs to make friends with the popular kids, allowing him to cultivate a drug trafficking network.


Iceland’s submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 88th Academy Awards
Director: Grímur Hákonarson
2015, 93 minutes
Country: Iceland
Genre: Foreign Language Narrative
In a remote valley in Iceland, two brothers live tending to their sheep. When a disease suddenly infects one brother’s sheep, the entire valley comes under threat. The brothers, who have not spoken to one another for years, will need to come together to save their special breed passed down for generations.


Hungary’s submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 88th Academy Awards
Director: László Nemes
2015, 107 minutes
Country: Hungary
Genre: Foreign Language Narrative
Saul Ausländer, a Jewish prisoner, is forced to assist the Nazis in the machinery of large-scale extermination. While working in one of the crematoriums, Saul discovers the corpse of a boy he takes for his son. Saul decides to save the child’s body from the flames, find a rabbi to recite the mourner’s Kaddish and offer the boy a proper burial.


Director: Jeffrey Schwarz
2015, 90 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Documentary
The story of matinee idol Tab Hunter from teenage stable boy to closeted Hollywood star of the 1950s. We meet the real Tab Hunter as he shares with us the whole story of a happy, healthy survivor of Hollywood’s roller coaster.


Director: James Vanderbilt
2015, 121 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative
TRUTH chronicles the fall of veteran CBS News journalist Mary Mapes and Dan Rather. When a story’s credibility comes under fire, the ensuing scandal threatened Dan Rather’s storied career, nearly changed a US Presidential election, and almost took down all of CBS News in the process.