Alex Wolff as Jamie Schwartz in “Coming Through the Rye.” (Photo courtesy Richmond International Film Festival)
Heading into its fifth year, the Richmond International Film Festival is putting forth what the director calls its largest and most diverse lineup yet.
More than 1,000 films were submitted from more than 25 countries. Submissions were pared to 120, including several filmed exclusively in Virginia.
“There was such a wide range this year that it made choosing and programming really difficult,” festival director Heather Waters says. She is enthusiastic about the documentary “Crocodile Gennadiy,” which follows a Ukrainian pastor who abducts drug-addicted kids to get them off the streets, and the western “Diablo,” starring Scott Eastwood as a Civil War veteran on a mission to rescue his wife, with Danny Glover as a fellow veteran. Waters also cites “Hoovey,” directed by Sean McNamara and starring Stephen Baldwin, David Arquette and Lauren Holly; and “Dead Saturday,” directed by Eric Roberts, as films she is particularly proud to have in the lineup.
Two films shot in Virginia will premiere at the festival: “Josephine” and “Shooting the Prodigal.” A Civil War drama shot in Halifax County and directed by singer-songwriter Rory Feek, “Josephine” tells the story of a woman who disguises herself as a man in hopes of finding her soldier husband. The Richmond-based “Shooting the Prodigal,” directed by David Powers, is a Christian faith-based film that seeks to break typical tropes of the genre. (The latter is not included in the competition portion of the festival, due to Waters’ role as a producer, along with Ken Roy.) “Coming Through the Rye” and “Texas Rein,” both shot in Virginia, will have Richmond premieres. Also showing will be Cannes Film Festival selection “Louder Than Bombs,” directed by Joachim Trier and featuring 18-year-old Richmonder Devin Druid along with Jesse Eisenberg.
Additional components to the festival are Q&A sessions after the films, red carpet awards and the Flow Collective Creative Conference at the Martin Agency with discussions on topics such as filmmaking, distribution, writing and script development, plus pitch sessions and a wine-and-cheese mixer.
Reflecting on the festival’s evolution, Waters says, “The main growth has been the reception it has built and that it has been so well-received by a very diverse crowd. It’s been really awesome to see, particularly since last year and this year have seen such a surge in out-of-town people coming to Richmond to see what we have to offer.”
Screenings will be held March 3 to 6 at The Byrd Theatre and Movieland at Boulevard Square. Tickets are $10 for individual screenings, $35 for a one-day pass, $235 for a four-day VIP festival badge and $40 for the Flow conference. For a complete schedule, visit: rvafilmfestival.com.