As noted here yesterday, the Virginia Film Festival opened its four-day run on Thursday evening with the regional premiere of Lake City, a new film starring Oscar-winning actress Sissy Spacek (who calls the Charlottesville area her home) and Troy Garity, the son of Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda (who accompanied Garity to the festival).
The three actors arrived just before the screening and fielded questions from print and broadcast journalists. Fonda -- whose appearance was only announced at the last minute -- was a bigger draw than her son, but she graciously pushed him to center stage, saying "you're the one in the movie." For his part, Garity attributed his enthusiasm for Lake City to the fact that Sissy Spacek would be in it.
Spacek arrived a few minutes later and answered questions about working with Garity and about the film industry in Virginia. She was full of praise for the quality of film technicians and support staff in the Commonwealth, but she also made a pitch for more tax incentives to bring film productions here. She noted that Virginia competes with other states that do provide such incentives, and that it would be a shame if, for instance, New Mexico played Virginia as a stand-in. (Later in the evening, Rita McClenny, head of the Virginia Film Office, told me that North Carolina was a rival for the chance to host the production of Lake City.)
Once inside the auditorium in Culbreth Hall -- which was filled to near-capacity by movie lovers, industry insiders, aspiring filmmakers, members of the press, and several people who were part of the cast and crew of Lake City -- the festival's artistic director, Richard Herskowitz, offered a few words of introduction, including some reminiscences of festivals past. (Herskowitz is leaving the University of Virginia for new positions in Texas and Oregon.) One of his piquant memories was of a question posed to Vanessa Redgrave about her knowledge of economics. (Full disclosure: I asked that question during the 2005 Virginia Film Festival.)
Herskowitz also introduced members of the production team of Lake City, including producers Mark Johnson and Weiman Seid and co-directors Perry Moore and Hunter Hill, as well as Spacek and Garity, who each said a few words of welcome. The two co-stars, the directors, and production designer David Crank discussed the film on a panel after the screening.
Here is video of the stars arriving in Charlottesville. (That's the UVA marching band you hear playing in the background.)
Here is video of Richard Herskowitz's opening remarks:
More photos and videos will be posted through the weekend.
Update: Here is the panel discussion that followed the screening of Lake City.
Update: More video clips from Day One and Day Two can be seen here.