UVA Today recently shared an article about the Virginia Film Festival‘s big pivot to virtual. The annual event is a mainstay of the Charlottesville arts and culture scene — normally attracting thousands of filmmakers and moviegoers to Charlottesville and UVA for the multi-day film event.

The bad news: Coronavirus put a pause on the traditional film festival gatherings.

The good news: It’s even more accessible than ever!

“The festival is something that the community looks forward to every year, and we didn’t want to lose that, even, or especially, this year,” said Kielbasa, noting that both his staff and the festival’s advisory board – a 28-member board of film industry veterans chaired by UVA alum and producer Mark Johnson of “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” fame – were fully supportive of the move.

UVA Today’s Caroline Newman shared that just six months after beginning initial conversations, Kielbasa and his team are ready to put on a virtual festival this week, beginning Wednesday and running through Sunday. It will feature more than 70 films offered online, along with discussions with actors, filmmakers and UVA faculty members, and – in a creative move – 10 drive-in movie screenings.

Newman noted that there will be Oscar contenders, like “Ammonite,” starring Kate Winslet as 19th-century paleontologist Mary Anning, and “Nomadland,” about a modern-day nomad after an economic collapse; a wide range of independent films; and a star-studded guest list, including Annette Bening, Leslie Odom Jr., Ethan Hawke, photographer Pete Souza, “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” creator Vince Gilligan and many more. (Find a full schedule and ticketing information.)

Despite restrictions, festival staff managed to land major films like “One Night in Miami,” top, “Nomadland,” bottom right, and “Ammonite,” bottom left. (Photos: Virginia Film Festival)

Most of the festival’s content, including films and discussion sessions, will be available for viewers to purchase through Eventive and watch at any time during the festival’s duration.

Organizers purposefully kept individual ticket prices low, even while the festival was operating on a significantly reduced budget. Individual events can be purchased for $8, and the virtual all-access pass is $65, significantly lower than the $100 to $200 such passes run at other festivals. Some virtual events are free, including the discussion with Odom.

Read the full story on UVA Today.

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