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The fifth annual Middleburg Film Festival arrives this weekend

Thursday kicked-off the fifth annual Middleburg Film Festival, with Oscar contender “Darkest Hour” screening at Salamander Resort, the host site of the event. “Darkest Hour” actor Ben Mendelsohn, who portrays King George VI, screenwriter Anthony McCarten, and producer Lisa Bruce engaged in a conversation following the screening.

Twenty-five films make up this year's event, along with several panel discussions and events, and a concert from the Shenandoah Conservatory Symphony Orchestra, which will perform scores by Academy Award-nominated composer Nicholas Britell.

Britell's films include “Battle of the Sexes” -- which screens Sunday at the festival -- “Moonlight,” “The Big Short” and “12 Years a Slave,” and the composer will perform two solo piano pieces and discuss his creative process at the festival.

Click here for a schedule of the weekend's events.

Here's the full 2017 Middleburg Film Festival program:

Opening Night

DARKEST HOUR
Director: Joe Wright
2017, 125 minutes
Country: UK
Genre: Narrative
In the early days of WW2, with German soldiers only days away from British shores, Winston Churchill is appointed Prime Minister of England. He faces fierce resistance from members of Parliament pushing him to negotiate with the seemingly unstoppable enemy forces.

Centerpiece Films

LADY BIRD
Director and Writer: Greta Gerwig
2017, 93 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative
LADY BIRD is the impressive directorial debut of actress Greta Gerwig (FRANCES HA). Gerwig also penned the script for this uproarious comedy starring a perfectly cast Saoirse Ronan. LADY BIRD’s terrific ensemble also includes Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, and Beanie Feldstein.  

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Director: Martin McDonagh
2017, 115 minutes
Country: UK/USA
Genre: Narrative
Mildred Hayes, outraged that months have passed and there’s still no arrest in her daughter’s murder case, decides to takes matters into her own hands -- arranging for three huge billboards outside of town with a pointed message for the chief of police.

Spotlight Films

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Director: Luca Guadagnino
2017, 132 minutes
Country: Italy/France
Genre: Narrative
In 1983 in northern Italy, Elio (Timothee Chalamet), the precocious 17-year old son of an American professor, is summering with his family where they’re joined by Oliver, his father’s research assistant (Armie Hammer), in this sensual and transcendent tale of first love.

MUDBOUND
Director: Dee Rees
2017, 134 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative
Set in the rural American South, Dee Rees’ MUDBOUND is an epic story of two families, pitted against one another by a ruthless social hierarchy, yet bound together by the shared farmland of the Mississippi Delta.

I, TONYA
Director: Craig Gillespie
2017, 121 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative
After O.J Simpson., she may be the most famous villain in the sports world. In 1994, Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding made headlines around the world when she was accused of helping mastermind the brutal attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan.

Main Slate

BREATHE
Director: Andy Serkis
2017, 117 minutes
Country: UK
Genre: Narrative
The inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish (Academy Award® nominee Andrew Garfield, Golden Globe® winner Claire Foy), who refuse to give up on their dreams of a full and passionate life in the face of a devastating disease.

THE DIVINE ORDER
Sweden’s submission to Best Foreign Language Film category at the 90th Academy Awards
Director: Petra Volpe
2017, 96 minutes
Country: Sweden
Genre: Foreign Narrative
Defying her husband, a young housewife and mother living in a small village in Switzerland, organizes a strike in support of the women's right to vote.

FACES PLACES (aka VILLAGES VISAGES)
Director: Agnès Varda and JR
2017, 89 minutes
Country: France
Genre: Documentary
They’re an unlikely pair -- 88-year-old French New Wave legend Agnès Varda and 33-year-old French street photographer JR. Together they travel through France’s small villages, creating large scale portraits of the people they meet along the way.

A FANTASTIC WOMAN
Chile’s submission to Best Foreign Language Film category at the 90th Academy Awards
Director: Sebastián Lelio
2017, 103 minutes
Country: Chile
Genre: Foreign Language Narrative
A young transgender woman in Chile attempts to deal with her grief while facing societal bigotry after the unexpected death of her middle-aged lover.

FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL
Director: Paul McGuigan
2017, 105 minutes
Country: UK
Genre: Narrative
Annette Bening stars as the legendary Gloria Grahame in an adaptation of Peter Turner’s classic memoir – a recount of Turner’s (Jamie Bell) real-life romance with the eccentric Hollywood star, 30 years his senior.

HAPPY END
Austria’s submission to Best Foreign Language Film category at the 90th Academy Awards
Director: Michael Haneke
2017, 107 minutes
Country: Austria/France/Germany
Genre: Foreign Language Narrative
This ironically titled film set in the ferry port town of Calais, France, follows the dysfunctional lives of a bourgeois family in chaos amidst the surrounding European refugee crisis.

IN THE FADE
Germany’s submission to Best Foreign Language Film category at the 90th Academy Awards
Director: Fatih Akin
2017, 105 minutes
Country: Germany, France
Genre: Foreign Language Narrative
A woman’s life collapses after the death of her husband and son in a bomb attack. After a time of mourning and injustice, Katja (Diane Kruger) seeks revenge.

JANE
Director: Brett Morgen
2017, 90 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Documentary
As a child, Jane Goodall dreamed of going to Africa and living with animals. At age 26, she arrives in a remote part of Tanzania. Spectacular, recently discovered footage documents Goodall's groundbreaking field work with chimpanzees.

JOAN DIDION: THE CENTER WILL NOT HOLD
Director: Griffin Dunne
2017, 92 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Documentary
In this intimate documentary covering 50 years of essays, novels, screenplays, and criticism, actor and director Griffin Dunne unearths a treasure trove of archival footage of his aunt, Joan Didion.

LAST FLAG FLYING
Director: Richard Linklater
2017, 124 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative
Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, former Navy medic Larry "Doc" Shepherd (Steve Carell) turns to his old buddies, former Marine Sal Nealon (Bryan Cranston) and Rev. Richard Mueller (Laurence Fishburne), to help him bury his son, a young Marine killed in Iraq.

THE LEISURE SEEKER
Director: Paolo Virzì
2017, 112 minutes
Country: Italy
Genre: Narrative
Starring Donald Sutherland and Academy Award© winner Helen Mirren, as an elderly couple who sneak away from their adult children and take to the road in their beloved Winnebago nicknamed The Leisure Seeker for one last, bittersweet adventure.

LOVELESS
Russia’s submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 90th Academy Awards
Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
2017, 127 minutes
Country: Russia/France/Belgium/Germany
Genre: Foreign Language Narrative
As a family is torn apart by a vicious divorce, the parents are more interested in starting their lives over than caring for their 12-year-old son. As they fight over who will be his guardian going forward, the young boy goes missing, forcing the parents together in their search for him.

MELTDOWN
Director: Fredric Golding
2017, 72 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Documentary
For 30 years, world renowned photographer Lynn Davis has turned her camera on the magnificent melting icebergs of Greenland, considered by many as “ground zero” for global warming. Davis returned recently with climate change expert Tony Leiserowitz — as they wrestle with the implications for the planet.  

MUSIC GOT ME HERE
Director: Susan Koch
2017, 90 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Documentary
In a freak snowboarding accident, Forrest Allen, age 18, suffers a severe traumatic brain injury that leaves him unable to speak or walk. Tom Sweitzer, an eccentric music therapist, is determined to help Forrest find his voice.

NOVITIATE
Director: Margaret Betts
2017, 118 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative
This coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of Vatican II is a stirring exploration of a young girl’s love for God as it is shaken by a changing church and a Reverend Mother who challenges her on the realities of being a nun in a community which ultimately disrespects their devotion to it.

THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE
Director: Aki Kaurismäki
2017, 101 minutes
Country: Finland, Germany
Genre: Foreign Language Narrative
A poker-playing restaurateur and former traveling salesman befriends a group of refugees newly arrived to Finland in this deadpan tale.

THE SQUARE
Sweden’s submission to Best Foreign Language Film category at the 90th Academy Awards
Director: Ruben Östlund
2017, 145 minutes
Country: Sweden
Genre: Foreign Language Narrative
Christian (Claes Bang) is a respected art curator of a contemporary museum whose new installation does not go as planned. A divorced, devoted father of two who drives an electric car and supports good causes, he discovers it is sometimes difficult to live up to your own ideals.

UNDER THE TREE
Iceland’s submission to Best Foreign Language Film category at the 90th Academy Awards
Director: Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson
2017, 89 minutes
Country: Iceland, Denmark, Poland, Germany
Genre: Foreign Language Narrative
An Icelandic man is forced to move back in with his parents after he is accused of adultery. While fighting for custody of his young daughter, he finds himself embroiled in a dispute between his parents and their neighbors over an old and beautiful front-yard tree.

WONDERSTRUCK
Director: Todd Haynes
2017, 115 minutes
Country: USA
Genre: Narrative
Ben and Rose, two children from different eras, secretly wish their lives were different. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his home and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children’s quests to find what they are missing unfold with mesmerizing symmetry.

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