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Middleburg Film Festival Sees A Rousing Start

© Leesburg Today - 10/23/2015

The Middleburg Film Festival seemed to begin in fine form Thursday with an appearance by Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the screening of a flick that's already getting Oscar buzz.

Movie buffs, dignitaries and the press converged on Salamander Resort & Spa for the first day of the festival's third year. They partied and celebrated the medium of film as well as taking in a showing of ""Spotlight,"" a dramatization of The Boston Globe's reporting of the Catholic priest abuse scandal.

Marty Baron, editor of the Globe at the time who now leads The Washington Post, attended the screening and participated in a question-and-answer session about the movie with producer Steve Golin. Baron, portrayed onscreen by Liev Schreiber, praised the filmmakers for their accuracy and dedication in going about the task of depicting a real-life story.

Before ""Spotlight"" got rolling, McAuliffe, in Loudoun County on Thursday for multiple events, made a short speech, noting that film is an economic development boon for the Old Dominion.

""We love the film industry here in Virginia,"" the Democrat said. ""We love it. It's $400 million a year of economic activity to us.""

Another big screening was scheduled for this evening. Meg Ryan's directorial debut, ""Ithaca,"" was to have its world premiere at 5 p.m. Based on Pulitzer Prize winner William Saroyan's 1943 novel, ""The Human Comedy,"" it's a coming-of-age story as seen through the lens of World War II, according to the film festival's website.

Filmed in Virginia, the plot centers on Homer Macauley, a 14-year-old bicycle messenger. His brother has gone off to war, leaving Homer to look after his widowed mother, older sister and little brother. But his job includes the difficult task of delivering telegrams from the Secretary of War, informing the families in his small town of the death of their loved ones.

Ryan, who is reunited with Tom Hanks in the film, was to attend the screening.

For ticket availability and more information about the festival, go to middleburgfilm.org.

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