Peace and Parking: Local films flying high at festivals
One month after two local movies premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, the directors of both films say the good news keeps coming–- along with the crowds.
"Our screening in Richmond was great!" exclaims Chris Farina, director of World Peace and other 4th Grade Achievements. The film showed there Sunday, April 25 at the historic Byrd Theater in Carytown to an estimated 300 people, Farina explained the following day, as he drove north to D.C. to catch a flight to California for the Newport Beach Film Festival.
The World Peace film focuses on local teacher John Hunter's World Peace Game, which he developed over the past three decades and has taught to students from fourth grade through high school. In addition to Newport Beach Film Festival, it has also been accepted to the Bergen International Film Festival in Norway in October, which Farina and Hunter plan to attend.
But perhaps even more exciting than an oversees festival, Farina says, is a May 4 event in Roanoke, where the film will screen to the Virginia Association of School Superintendents. Charlottesville Schools and Albemarle Schools superintendents Rosa Atkins and Pam Moran will lead discussion with Hunter following the film.
"We were almost thinking about this as a focus group," says Farina.
If the film Farina made is doing well, the one in which he stars–- The Parking Lot Movie-– is also racking up rave reviews on the festival circuit according to its director, Meghan Eckman.
"It's going awesome! I'm in Boston right now at the Independent Film Festival," says Eckman, expressing delight at a sold-out screening held April 25.
Eckman and assistant director Christopher Hlad will return to Charlottesville for just two days before hitting the road for another festival–- Hot Docs in Toronto–- where The Parking Lot Movie, a documentary about the attendants in Farina's Corner Parking Lot, will screen on a rooftop as one of five featured films on the festival's website.
"I didn't know if it would have interest beyond local," says Eckman. "I'm actually finding that Europeans love it, Canadians love it. It speaks to larger themes."
While Eckman and Farina are jetting around the country and the globe screening their local films to international audiences, both say they look forward to another chance to share it in Charlottesville. That may happen in October, as both directors say they're hoping for inclusion in the Virginia Film Festival.
"I know there's a lot of people who still want to see it, "says Eckman.