Thu. Oct 29th, 2020

8th Middleburg Film Festival: ‘Nomadland’ to open, ‘Minari’ is centerpiece film

The hybrid festival will run October 15-18

The Middleburg Film Festival announced today a first round of programming for its eighth edition, which will be a hybrid of in-person and virtual screenings, conversations and events to accommodate for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Launching the four-day festival on Thursday, October 15th is Chloé Zhao’s (“The Rider”) widely celebrated NOMADLAND starring Frances McDormand in her first role since winning the Academy Award for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Screening in the Centerpiece slot is Lee Isaac Chung’s critically acclaimed family drama MINARI. The Idris Elba starring CONCRETE COWBOY is the Friday Spotlight film while Regina King’s feature directorial debut, ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI, has been selected as the Saturday Spotlight film.

Now in its eighth year as a leading destination for the fall’s most acclaimed films, the festival will run October 15-18 with most films screening virtually while a select number of films will be programmed as outdoor and drive-in screenings in Middleburg, VA – Northern Virginia’s historic wine country, one hour from Washington, DC.  Festival ticket packages and passes are currently for sale at www.middleburgfilm.org, and individual tickets will go on sale October 6.

“In light of these unprecedented times, we are delighted to be able to offer both in-person and virtual screenings – so whether joining us under the stars in Middleburg or watching from home, filmgoers will be able to experience the best in film from around the world” said MFF Executive Director Susan Koch.

NOMADLAND is the winner of the Venice Golden Lion Award as well as the TIFF People’s Choice Award and is the first film ever to receive both awards. Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern (Frances McDormand) packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad. The third feature film from director Chloé Zhao, NOMADLAND features real nomads Linda May, Swankie and Bob Wells as Fern’s mentors and comrades in her exploration through the vast landscape of the American West. NOMADLAND is being released by Searchlight Pictures.

MINARI, an A24 and Plan B film, was a standout at Sundance where it won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award. A tender and sweeping story about what roots us, MINARI follows a Korean-American family that moves to a tiny Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. Starring Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho, Scott Haze, and Will Patton, the film is inspired by Chung’s own childhood.

From first time feature director Ricky Staub, CONCRETE COWBOY is a father-son drama set in North Philadelphia’s Black cowboy community which is trying to preserve the last urban horse stable in an area that was once filled with them. It tells the story of Cole, played by Caleb McLaughlin from “Stranger Things,” a troubled teen sent to live with his estranged father (Elba), a subdued horseman more comfortable with his animals than with other people.

Amazon Studios’ ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI is a fictional account of one incredible night in 1964 where four icons of sports, music and activism gathered to celebrate one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. When underdog Cassius Clay, soon to be called Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), defeats heavy weight champion Sonny Liston at the Miami Convention Hall, Clay memorialized the event with three of his friends: Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). Based on the award-winning play of the same name and directed by Regina King, the film is inspired by this historic night and the conversations these four formidable figures had on racial injustice, religion and personal responsibility which still resonate more than 40 years later.

“We’re delighted to present such a wide range of perspectives and experiences in this year’s lineup,” said MFF Founder and Board Chair Sheila C. Johnson. “Films are a powerful way to increase our understanding of one another and encourage dialogue especially during this fraught and divisive time.”  The Coca-Cola Company is the Middleburg Film Festival’s Presenting Sponsor.

About Middleburg Film Festival 

Since its inception in 2013, the Middleburg Film Festival has offered four days of fantastic films in a spectacular setting, only 30 minutes from Dulles International Airport and just one hour from Washington, D.C. While this year’s edition is mostly virtual, with the exception of select outdoor and drive-in screenings, MFF promises the same carefully curated selection of narrative and documentary films, followed by fascinating Q&As with world-renowned filmmakers and actors. The films include Oscar contenders, festival favorites, foreign films, regional premieres, and both narrative and documentary films.  

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