Monday, December 01, 2014

'Big Stone Gap' Cast and Author Visit the Virginia Film Festival

Ashley Judd, Adriana Trigiani, and Terry McAuliffe
Last month in Charlottesville, the director and screenwriter of Big Stone Gap (based on her own novel), Adriana Trigiani, brought along several cast members to the Virginia Film Festival for a screening of the movie, which was produced in its namesake town in Wise County.

Just before the screening at the Paramount Theater on the downtown mall, Trigiani and the cast spoke at a press conference about the making of the film, the hospitality of the town's 5,600 residents, and the value of producing an independent film in Virginia.

The actors who participated in the press conference were Erika Coleman, Jenna Elfman, Bridget Gabbe, Jasmine Guy, Ashley Judd, Patrick Wilson, and Paul Wilson. Not present were additional cast members Whoopi Goldberg, John Benjamin Hickey, Judith Ivey, Jane Krakowski, Anthony LaPaglia, and Chris Sarandon, among others (including a large number of non-professional local actors from Southwest Virginia who appear in the film).

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe made a surprise appearance at the end of the presser and posed for photos with the cast.  He used the opportunity to tout Virginia's film industry and the tax credits and other subsidies available to film makers.  (McAuliffe's comments to local news media about the Virginia film industry are reported here.)

A video recording of the entire press conference, including Governor McAuliffe's interactions with the cast members, is below.

During the press conference, Trigiani reveals that she originally conceived of the story as a screenplay but decided first to put it in novel form and then adapt it as a film. She also notes that she has known actress Jasmine Guy since they both worked on the TV series, A Different World, a spinoff from The Cosby Show. (Guy played Whitley Gilbert on the show; Trigiani worked on the writing staff along with executive consultant Bill Cosby and Kadeem Hardison.)

My understanding is that Big Stone Gap did not have a distributor at the time of its world premiere at the 2014 Virginia Film Festival. 

The press conference and screening of Big Stone Gap took place on Thursday, November 6, 2014.

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