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Inaugural Middleburg Film Festival Kicks Off This Week

In Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, a cantankerous man mistakenly believes he's won a big prize and embarks on a father-son road trip to claim it.
Photo provided by Middleburg Film Festival
In Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, a cantankerous man mistakenly believes he's won a big prize and embarks on a father-son road trip to claim it.

A new film festival kicks off this week in Middleburg, Va., and unlike other local film festivals, this one doesn't follow a theme.

The inaugural Middleburg Film Festival (MFF) kicks off on Oct. 24 and runs through Oct. 27. It will feature a limited selection of 25 hand-picked feature-length narratives and documentaries.

"We're small and intimate and accessible," says Susan Koch, MFF executive director. "Which really encourages and fosters dialogue among filmmakers and film goers."

A long-time documentary filmmaker, Koch says the list includes "great" documentaries.

"We have everything ranging from The Square, about the Egyptian Revolution...to Muscle Shoals, which is about the recording studio in Alabama, to a film called Comedy Warriors, about wounded vets that team up with top comedians like Lewis Black and Zach Galifianakis," she says.

There will also be events, such as a talk with Lee Daniels, who directed The Butler, and Wil Haygood, the former Washington Post writer whose article inspired the film. Bruce Dern, who won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in Nebraska, will be in attendance on opening night.

On Friday, there will be an event honoring Mark Isham with a Distinguished Film Composer Award.

"The music is such an integral part of a film, but it often goes overlooked," Koch says. "The composers don't always get their due, so we decided that we want to honor a distinguished film composer every year."

The evening will feature a live performance by the Shenandoah Conservatory Orchestra of selections from Isham's scores.

Koch says she and other organizers, including MFF founder Sheila Johnson, didn't go through all this trouble for just one run. They plan to make the festival an annual event.  

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