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March 23, 2006
Contact: Press & Media Relations Coordinator (703-993-8794)

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APRIL 7-9, 2006
A Celebration of Regional Films and Film Artists

Warrenton, VA—Bonnie B. Matheson, President of George Mason University’s Friends of Film, today announced the inauguration of the Piedmont Filmmakers Festival. The Festival, slated this year for
April 7-9, will feature films made by filmmakers living in the Virginia Piedmont area and films that spring from the rich culture and history of the region.

Over the three-day Festival, a series of films will be screened and audience members will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with the filmmakers during post-screening discussions and meet-the-filmmaker receptions. Feature-lengths, documentaries, shorts, and student pieces will be shown. The Festival celebrates the beauty and richness of the Virginia Piedmont region and provides an opportunity for community members to embrace the rich cultural contribution of area filmmakers. The Festival will take place at the Highland School Center for the Arts in Warrenton, Virginia.

“The Virginia Piedmont region is home to many exciting filmmakers,” said Bonnie Matheson, President of the Friends of Film. “This Festival features the immense talents of our local filmmakers such as Ron Maxwell, Richard Squires, Amy Gerber, and Tom Davenport, and brings them together with our community in a dialogue and celebration of film and the Piedmont.” Writer/Director Ron Maxwell, involved with the Festival from its inception commented, “The Piedmont Filmmakers Festival assembles a diverse group of individuals who probably could not be herded together under any other pretext. Some are born of the Piedmont and bred of its culture. Others, like myself, have moved here, attracted by the rich mosaic of its pastoral beauty, its deep rooted traditions, the vivid sense of its own history and the willingness of its inhabitants to defend their ways, their history and their open spaces. This first season of films will share old and new work, encourage those who have yet to peer through a lens or write a script, and provide yet another opportunity for the residents of the Piedmont to do what they like best of all—have a great, good time.”

All films will be shown at the Highland School, 597 Broadview Avenue, Warrenton, VA. For information or to purchase general admission tickets or a Festival Pass, visit Tickets may be purchased online in advance or at the door one hour prior to the screenings. Information hotline at the Highland School: 540-347-1221 ext 1033. A Festival Pass for all events is available online for $50, a savings of $20 off individual tickets.

The Festival is presented by the Friends of Film at George Mason University. The mission of the Friends is to promote the development, production, and distribution of the film arts and film artists at George Mason University, the greater D.C. metropolitan area, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Piedmont Filmmakers Festival was established to enliven, educate, and inspire filmmakers, cinema advocates, and film aficionados.

Inaugural Piedmont Filmmakers Festival Schedule

8:00 pm
Screening A: “Crazy Like a Fox”
Tickets: $15

Richard Squires will host a Warrenton opening, to coincide with his Washington, D.C. theatrical release, of his film “Crazy Like a Fox,” the story of Nat Banks, an eighth generation Virginian gentleman farmer, who loses his family farm to a pair of land speculators from Washington, D.C. A feud ensues and he begins waging guerilla warfare against expansionism and the destruction of historic property (100 minutes). Mr. Squires will host a discussion about the film after the screening, followed by a complimentary reception with the director for ticket holders.


10:00 am
Screening B: Tom Davenport: Films for the Family
Tickets: $5 for Adults; $2 for children (12 and under)

“Ashpet: An American Cinderella Story” 10:00 am
“Mutzmag: Appalachian Tale” 11:00 am

Two films by local director Tom Davenport will be shown. Set in the rural South in the early years of World War II, “Ashpet: An American Cinderella Story” is a humorously touching version of the world’s most popular folktale (50 minutes, Ages 5-Adult). “Mutzmag: An Appalachian Tale” takes place deep in the Appalachian mountains circa 1920. A plucky, young girl named Mutzmag saves her two gullible half-sisters from two backwoods ogres in a series of hair-raising and comical adventures (53 minutes, Ages 10-Adult). Mr. Davenport will participate in a discussion with the audience following the films.

1:00 pm
Screening C: Saturday Documentaries
Tickets: $10

“The Madison County Project” 1:00 pm
“In Our Own Words: Voices of Virginia Indians” 1:35 pm
“14 and Payrolled” 2:25 pm
“The Wright Brothers: First in Flight” 3:05 pm

Martha King and the Delaplane’s Rob Roberts examine the tradition of unaccompanied ballad singing in Madison County, North Carolina and how both documentary work and the power of family and community have influenced that tradition in “The Madison County Project” (25 minutes). Danielle Moretti-Langholtz’s, “In Our Own Words: Voices of Virginia Indians” documents Virginia’s American Indian tribal leaders tracing their own history from Colonial contact to modern-day life in the Commonwealth of Virginia (40 minutes). Culpepper's Cameron Yates will screen his film "14 and Payrolled, which chronicles the life of forty, fourteen year-old teenagers chosen to serve as Pages for the Virginia House of Delegates for two months (30 minutes).
Mickey Stern’s “The Wright Brothers: First in Flight” is a high definition documentary on the quest by the Wright Experience to re-create the Wrights’ historic flight. The Wright Experience and much of the filming was conducted in Warrenton (90 minutes). A question and answer panel session with select filmmakers will follow the screenings.

7:30 pm
Screening D: “Verna: U.S.O. Girl”
Tickets: $15

Director Ron Maxwell will show his 1978 award-winning film, “Verna: U.S.O. Girl.” Academy Award winner Sissy Spacek is Verna USO Girl, a kindhearted, but not particularly talented member of a performing troupe in World War II Belgium. She wins the heart of an American solider memorably played by William Hurt. “Verna: USO Girl” takes an entertaining look at the camaraderie between USO entertainers and combat troops (90 minutes). Ron Maxwell, a resident of Rappahannock County, will host a discussion after the screening, followed by complimentary reception for ticket holders with the director.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

12:30 pm
Screening E: Sunday Documentaries
Tickets: $10

“The Miracle of Cortemaggiore” 12:30 pm
“Public Memory” 1:10 pm
“Portrait of Billy Joe” 2:20pm

The Festival continues with a second afternoon of documentaries. Laura Corsico Amati records the remarkable route that an over 500-year-old altar frame takes from its discovery in America to its relocation in Italy in “The Miracle of Cortemaggiore” (30 minutes). From The Plains, Amy Gerber will show the documentary, “Public Memory.” The film analyzes the importance of memorials on our landscape and the complex issue that surround memorializing crimes against humanity (60 minutes). Luciana Pedraza illustrates how the featured country music singer/songwriter legend, Billy Joe Shaver, uses words and music to reflect the often difficult experiences of his life in the Robert Duvall produced, "Portrait of Billy Joe” (60 minutes). A discussion with select directors will follow the screenings.

4:30 - 5:30pm
Student Pieces
Tickets: Free with the purchase of any festival ticket and to students.

Student shorts will be screened in the afternoon on Sunday beginning at 4:30 pm, including Warrenton’s own Stewart Hopewell, along with a variety of other burgeoning filmmakers.

7:00 pm
Piedmont Regional Orchestra Performance
Tickets: $15

To conclude the celebration, the Festival will feature an exclusive performance of the symphonic suite of the score to Ron Maxwell's "Gods and Generals" by the Piedmont Regional Orchestra. The show will also include scenes from the film, as well as, Civil War era poetry recited by Mr. Maxwell. Soprano Jennifer Stroock and tenor Rick Davis join members of the P.R.O. in a nostalgic set of songs by American icon Stephen Foster, including "Beautiful Dreamer", "Katy Bell" and other beloved melodies.