Mar 4, 2021
Virginia Film Festival

Charlottesville, VA – March 3, 2021 – The Virginia Film Festival announced today that the 34th annual VAFF will take place from October 27-31, 2021.

The Virginia Film Festival is a program of the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.

A final decision has yet to be made on the presentation format of this year’s Festival. VAFF officials will continue to monitor local event and safety guidelines and receive guidance to ensure the safest possible scenario for all involved.

“As we all know, this is an evolving environment as it relates to live presentations,” said Virginia Film Festival Director and University of Virginia Vice Provost for the Arts Jody Kielbasa. “While we look forward to returning to in-person events inside theaters, we are committed to doing so only if and when we receive guidance from health experts that it is safe to do so. With that in mind, we are currently considering all safe options for the 2021 Festival, and we look forward to sharing more information as it becomes available.”

The VAFF is coming off a highly-successful 2020 year that featured a robust lineup of films and conversations presented in a hybrid format that combined virtual presentations with a series of high profile drive-in movies presented at Dairy Market in Charlottesville and at Morven Farm in Albemarle County.

2020 highlights included Nomadland, the Festival’s closing night film, which earned the VAFF’s Audience Award and last Sunday captured the Golden Globe for Best Drama Motion Picture. Director Chloé Zhao, who virtually accepted the VAFF’s 2020 American Perspectives Award, was honored as only the second female, and first Asian female director to win Best Director honors at the Globes. Drive-in audiences also got a sneak preview of Amazon’s Golden Globe-nominated One Night in Miami, featuring the directorial debut of Regina King, and Ammonite, starring Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan.

The Festival once again featured a stellar guest list in 2020 including actor, writer, producer, and director Ethan Hawke; Academy Award-nominee Annette Bening; One Night in Miami star Leslie Odom, Jr.; Terminatorfranchise star Linda Hamilton; longtime NPR Host Diane Rehm; celebrated Author James McBride; and award-winning film composer Thomas Newman.

The 2020 Festival also featured a continuation of the VAFF’s commitment to provide a platform for, and be inclusive of, BIPOC voices, artists of color, and diverse points of view. “Ensuring that our films, events, and guest artists fully and inclusively reflect our community is a top priority for the Virginia Film Festival,” said the Festival’s Program Manager Chandler Ferrebee. “Sixty percent of this year’s films were directed by women and/or BIPOC, and 54% of the guests who participated in discussions and introductions also fit this description.”

The Festival officials also announced today that its annual Call for Entries is now open. Open to any filmmaker from around the world, the Call for Entries is an important vehicle through which the Festival highlights the work of exciting new voices in the filmmaking world. “The Call for Entries is one of the most exciting things about putting our program together,” Ferrebee said. “So much of what we offer our audiences is about the chance to discover new talent, and year after year I am amazed by the films we receive through this channel.”

Accepted films will be eligible for category-specific Audience and Programmers’ Awards.

Once again this year, Virginia residents and students at Virginia schools are eligible to have their entry fees waived. The fees for non-Virginia filmmakers submitting by the regular deadline of Monday, June 14 will be $35 for features and $15 for shorts submissions. Those submitting by the extended deadline of Monday, July 5 may do so for $50 for features and $25 for shorts. The fee for students outside of Virginia to submit a film is $10. Filmmakers will be notified regarding their entry status by September 13.

For complete submission guidelines and waiver codes, visit All questions should be submitted to [email protected].

For more information on the Virginia Film Festival, visit