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Oscar contenders ‘Darkest Hour,’ ‘Mudbound’ among titles at this year’s Middleburg Film Festival

Wartime drama “Darkest Hour,” starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, will open the 2017 Middleburg Film Festival. Facebook/Darkest Hour
Oscar contenders “Darkest Hour,” “Mudboud” and “Call Me By Your Name” are among the titles at this year's highly acclaimed Middleburg Film Festival.

“Darkest Hour,” a wartime drama starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, will open the festival on Oct. 19, organizers announced Wednesday. Actor in the film Ben Mendelsohn, screenwriter Anthony McCarten and producer Lisa Bruce will partake in a conversation following the film's screening.

The fifth running of the festival will run Oct. 19-22 in Middleburg in southwestern Loudoun County.

The Middleburg Film Festival is coming off an impressive two years. In 2015, Best Picture winner “Spotlight” opened the festival. Last year, Best Picture winner “Moonlight” was featured, as was the heralded “La La Land,” which served as the 2016 Saturday night centerpiece. “La La Land” star Emma Stone and director Damien Chazelle were on hand for a Q&A session following the screening.

Tickets for this year's event will be available through MiddleburgFilm.org in the coming days.

Founded by business titan and Middleburg resident Sheila Johnson, the Middleburg Film Festival has quickly become one of the intriguing and intimate world-class film festivals.

“From the very beginning, it’s been important for us to present diverse voices in filmmaking,” Johnson said in a prepared statement. “Especially in these divisive times, films have a way of bringing people together, expanding our understanding of the world and encouraging dialogue. The festival also celebrates some of the film industry’s unsung heroes.”

Johnson noted the festival's annual concert by The Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra honoring a distinguished film composer is among her favorite elements of the four-day event. This year's honoree is Nicholas Britell, the Academy Award-nominated composer who scored films such as “Moonlight,” “12 Years a Slave,” and “Battle of the Sexes.”

The main titles for this year's event, along with festival-provided descriptions, include:

“Lady Bird,” the directorial debut of actress Greta Gerwig (“Frances Ha”), will screen as the Saturday Evening Centerpiece Film on Oct. 21 with Gerwig in attendance. Gerwig also penned the script of this uproarious comedy starring a perfectly cast Saoirse Ronan. “Lady Bird” terrific ensemble also includes Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, and Beanie Feldstein.

On Oct. 22, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” directed by Martin McDonagh, will be featured as the Sunday Centerpiece Film. The film, starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, John Hawkes, and Peter Dinklage, is a darkly comedic drama about a bereaved mother who demands accountability from the town sheriff.

“Call Me By Your Name,” directed by Luca Guadagnino, stars Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer in a sun-soaked romance set in Northern Italy. The film screens Oct. 20.

“Mudbound,” directed by Dee Rees, set in the Jim Crow South and starring Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund and Mary J. Blige, tells the epic story of two men divided by race yet bound by war. The film screens Oct. 20.

“I, Tonya,” directed by Craig Gillespie, features Margot Robbie as the infamous skater Tonya Harding in the scandal that rocked the 1994 Winter Olympics and ended her skating career. The film screens Oct. 21.

The 2017 festival will recognize three artists and their contributions to filmmaking. On Oct. 21, James Ivory, screenwriter of “Call Me By Your Name” and half of the iconic Merchant-Ivory filmmaking duo, will be honored with the 2017 Legacy Award for 60 years as director and/or screenwriter of such classic films as “Howard's End,” “The Remains of the Day” and “Room with a View.”

Dee Rees will receive the 2017 Visionary Award on Oct. 21. The honor will be presented by Lee Daniels (“The Butler” and “Empire”).

“We’re especially delighted to welcome three incredibly talented female directors – Dee Rees, Greta Gerwig, and Valerie Faris,” said Middleburg Film Festival Executive Director Susan Koch. “We’re also pleased to honor James Ivory, not only for his recent achievement with “Call Me By Your Name,” but for 60 years of stunning filmmaking."

Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @TrevorBaratko.


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