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Four-day Celebration of Indie Films from Around the World in Hampton Roads March 25-28

After an 11-year run as a retrospective film festival, the 2009 Old Dominion University - City of Norfolk (ONFilm) Festival has gone competitive, and will screen more than 30 top independent films from around the world in March. The ONFilm Festival, which runs from March 25-28, features independently produced features, documentaries, shorts and short-shorts on the ODU campus and in various Norfolk venues. Visit www.onfilmfest.com for more information.

Academy Award-winning actor Richard Dreyfuss will start festivalgoers talking with "A Conversation with Richard Dreyfuss," hosted by Cathy Lewis of WHRV-FM's "HearSay." The program begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, in the Big Blue Room of the Ted Constant Convocation Center. It is free and open to the public. The doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Film producer Stephen Israel will chair the festival jury. The panel of judges comprises film directors and producers, as well as film industry executives, and includes Virginian-Pilot film critic Mal Vincent. Visit www.onfilmfest.com for jury profiles.

Israel, who is probably best known for executive-producing the critically acclaimed sleeper hit "Swimming with Sharks," starring Kevin Spacey, is a prominent figure in the film festival world, having served as a programmer for both Outfest and the Slamdance Film Festival, for which he currently serves on the advisory board. Slamdance takes place each year in Utah at the same time as the Sundance Film Festival, competing with Sundance to provide what its supporters consider a truer representation of independent filmmaking, and is known as a festival "by filmmakers for filmmakers." This is the model of the newly independent ONFilm Festival.

The festival will screen films simultaneously in three venues from March 26-28, including panel discussions with the filmmakers and special events. The ONFilm Festival Winners Marathon is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28, at the Naro Cinema in Norfolk, with the closing awards gala later in the day at 7 p.m. at Norfolk's Granby Theater. The Dreyfuss program is free; screenings are $5 for students and $10 for the general public. Admission to the awards gala is $10 for students and $20 for the general public.

Selected ONFilm Festival Highlights

Wednesday, March 25

"A Conversation with Richard Dreyfuss," hosted by Cathy Lewis of WHRV-FM's "HearSay" in the Big Blue Room of the Ted Constant Convocation Center, Old Dominion University.

  • 6:30 p.m. - Reception in the Constant Center lobby; cash bar
  • 7:30-9:30 p.m. - Dreyfuss and Lewis, followed by audience Q&A and reception. ODU Jazz Quartet to perform; cash bar

Spend an evening with actor Richard Dreyfuss, whose filmography includes: "Jaws," "The Goodbye Girl," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "Mr. Holland's Opus" and, most recently, the 2008 biopic "W." in which he played former Vice President Dick Cheney. Free.

Thursday, March 26

Meet Stephen Israel and see "Swimming with Sharks."

  • 5-7 p.m. - Screening of "Swimming with Sharks," University Theatre, Old Dominion University

Israel, executive producer of the critically acclaimed sleeper hit, starring Kevin Spacey, is a prominent figure in the film festival world and a programmer for both Outfest and the Slamdance Film Festival. (students $5 / general public $10)

Thursday, March 26

"From Africa to America: 2 Visions of Identity in the 21st Century"

"MERE-bi" ("The Mother of All"), directed by Ousmane W. Mbaye.

  • 5-7 p.m. - Mills Godwin Jr. Building Auditorium, Old Dominion University

Senegal's first woman journalist, Annette Mbaye D'Erneville, lived through 82 rainy seasons to lead the nation's development. Militant from the first hours of the women's emancipation cause, she has been a pioneer activist and nonconformist. A child of the colonial period, she acquired her education in "old French fashion" while maintaining a love for her country of origin and Senegalese tradition. This film captures a generation of the leaders of the women's movement in Senegal. (students $5 / general public $10)

Panelists:

  • Ambassador Bismarck Myrick, Ambassador in Residence, Old Dominion University
  • Jennifer Fish, Associate Professor and Chair, Women's Studies, Old Dominion University
  • Eleanor Earl, Assistant Professor (cinema program coordinator), Hampton University
  • Solomon Isekeije, Assistant Professor, Department of Fine And Performing Arts, Hampton University

"Revolution '67," directed by Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno

  • 7:30-9:30 p.m. - Mills Godwin Jr. Building Auditorium, Old Dominion University

"Revolution '67" takes us back to the summer of 1967 to one city, Newark, N.J., which was a microcosm of all the rest, and tells the untold story of what really happened during the Newark riots from the mouths of the people who lived it (winner of Character Award from Journées Cinématographiques de Carthage, 2008). (students $5 / general public $10)

Panelists:

  • Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Department of History, Norfolk State University
  • Phil Branch, Assistant Professor, Department of English and Cinema, Hampton University
  • Barbara Johnson, Retired Associate Professor, Women's Studies, Tidewater Community College
  • Cecelia Tucker, Assistant to the President for Community Relations, Old Dominion University

Friday, March 27

ODU Student Filmmaking Presentations and Awards

  • 3:30 p.m. - University Theatre, Old Dominion University

Attend the third annual presentation of the Stephen E. Konikoff Student Filmmaker Awards. Winning films will be screened and cash prizes totaling $1,500 will be awarded. Introduced by Robert Arnett, ODU Department of Communication and Theatre Arts, and Dr. Konikoff. Free.

Saturday, March 28

ONFilm Festival Award Winners Marathon

  • 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. - Naro Cinema, Norfolk

See the winning films that were selected from among the more than 30 independent films that were screened during the festival (students $5 / general public $10).

ONFilm Hampton Roads Film Office and Virginia Production Alliance 3rd Annual Career Day Expo

  • 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. - Batten Arts and Letters Building, Old Dominion University

Looking for full- or part-time employment, or an internship, in the film industry? Representatives from production companies and media-related businesses from all over Hampton Roads will be on hand to discuss opportunities in the film, television, video production and other media-related industries. Free.

Filmmaking in Hampton Roads Panel, moderated by W. Jeffery Frizzell, Commissioner of the Hampton Roads Film Office

  • 1-2:30 p.m. - Batten Arts and Letters Building, Old Dominion University

The panel will cover film and video production in Hampton Roads from a woman's perspective. Free.

The all-female panel includes:

  • Felicia Dames, executive producer and actress
  • Michelle Gabriele-Harrell, writer, producer, director, editor for Norfolk TV 48
  • Lisa Hunt, writer, director, filmmaker, Cannes Film Festival participant
  • Amy Broad, award-winning producer, director and documentarian
  • Cindy Pardy, producer, director, WHRO-TV
  • Hunter Thomas, award-winning film and video director

ONFilm Festival Awards Gala

  • 7-10 p.m. - Granby Theater, downtown Norfolk

Celebrate with the filmmakers and industry celebs as they accept their awards at the ONFilm Festival wrap party. Dance to the music of the Rhythm Kings. Cash bar. Dress: Film festival chic ($10 students / $20 general public).

Visit www.onfilmfest.com for more information. Tickets: 757-683-5305 (Visa/ MC).

This article was posted on: March 16, 2009

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