News Column

Curtain opens on new global film festival

November 7, 2013

YellowBrix

Nov. 07--More than 60 movies from a dozen countries will be screened in Norfolk during the next three days.

It's a daring risk and a challenge for even the most dedicated film adventurers.

It's the slate of the first Legacy Media Institute International Film Festival, which is determined to live up to its claim of being "international." With an emphasis on films from Latin America, the festival includes movies from Brazil, Mexico, Haiti and Nicaragua. There are also films from Nigeria, Ghana and Trinidad, plus input from the British Film Institute.

Running Friday through Sunday, the film festival will be spread at venues throughout Norfolk: Nauticus, The Attucks Theatre, Naro Expanded Cinema, and two locations at Norfolk State University.

The brainchild of entertainer/educator Tim Reid, a Norfolk native, the festival is sponsored by his own Legacy Media Institute as well as by the city of Norfolk and Norfolk State University. Reid, who is perhaps best known for playing Venus Flytrap in the late-1970s TV series "WKRP in Cincinnati," has, in more recent years, become involved in international travel to film centers alongside the establishment of his media institute, which is dedicated to encouraging filmmakers, particularly those in Virginia.

The institute was formed four years ago at Reid's New Millennium Studios in Petersburg. It branched out to Norfolk State University two years ago and, among other things, had its young filmmakers produce a brief history of Norfolk's Church Street.

"The next step was to stage a film festival, but we wanted it to be unique," Reid said. "My own interests leaned toward the international film community, and Norfolk seemed the perfect place for a breakthrough in this direction.

"With the naval base and our cosmopolitan population, we are one of the primary cultural centers on the East Coast, yet we've usually been segregated about it. This is an effort to get all types of people to sample these films and to realize that we're, basically, all just alike when it comes to sitting in the dark and watching a movie."

Reid's travels in the Caribbean netted some of the films, but he emphasized "there was no lack of entries. We had a wide choice. We put out the call, and films came from everywhere.

"Our culture tends to traditionally center upon Europe, but that leaves out our closest neighbor, South America, sometimes neglected in our films. Mexico has broken out in recent years as a film center, but we haven't had as much from the others. That's why we lean in that direction.

"What the festival wants to do is reveal, and encourage, a global film society."

That global film society will be spread throughout Norfolk in the coming days, with daytime screenings in the NSU Student Center or the Library/Media Center. The programming includes themes such as "Legacy of a People" and the "Traveling Caribbean Showcase."

Three films serve as nightly highlights.

Friday night's festivity is a military recognition event that features the 7 p.m. screening of "Honor Flight" at Nauticus in downtown Norfolk.

The movie concerns efforts to fly World War II veterans to Washington to participate in the dedication of the National World War II Memorial. The screening will be followed by a gala at the Half Moone Celebration Center next to Nauticus.

Haiti is the destination Saturday night with the epic biography "Toussaint L'Ouverture" at 7 p.m. in NSU's Wilder Center. The three-hour film, made for French television, is the long-awaited biography of the leader of the Haitian Revolution who became the center of the first successful slave revolt in the world.

The closing-night film will be the U.S. premiere of the Nicaraguan movie "Lubaraun" ("In Search of One's Identity") at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Naro. Attending the screening will be the Nicaraguan ambassador to the United States. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion.

A number of panel discussions featuring film professionals will be hosted throughout the three-day festival. Notably, there will be an hourlong discussion of indie filmmaking at 12:30 p.m. Sunday in the NSU Student Center. It will be moderated by Reid and feature actress Rae Dawn Chong; April Marcell, founder of Gibson & White Pictures; Catherine Murphy, a San Francisco-based filmmaker who has spent much of the past 10 years working in Latin America; and Monty Ross, who with Spike Lee founded 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks.

A complete list of the festival's films, events and their locations can be found online at www.LMI-IFF.org.

Mal Vincent, 757-446-2347, mal.vincent@pilotonline.com

if you go

What The inaugural Legacy Media Institute International Film Festival

When Friday-Sunday

Where Nauticus, Norfolk State University, Naro Expanded Cinema, Attucks Theatre; see website for details

Cost $5 to $15 for individual film screenings, $80 for an all-events pass, $40 for all-access Friday pass, $20 for all-access Saturday pass, $30 for all-access Sunday pass

More info www.LMI-IFF.org

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(c)2013 The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.)

Visit The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.) at pilotonline.com

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