Charlottesville Breaking News

Grindin’ it out: Kevin Everson keeps on filming

It’s hard to tell whether Charlottesville’s resident experimental filmmaker Kevin Everson spends more time behind the viewfinder of his 16mm camera or at airports.

Since 2010, Everson’s films have played at, among other venues, the Toronto Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, and throughout Europe and South America, frequently with him in attendance. The Whitney Museum’s Everson retrospective ran from April to September and was warmly reviewed by the likes of the New York Times. His films were also released in a 3-DVD set called Broad Daylight and Other Times.

Meanwhile, he continuously made new movies, five of which are screening at this year’s Film Festival in an hour-long program, hosted by Everson.

Everson, 45, seems pleased by– but wary of– his critical laurels. “It’s Kool and the Gang,” he says. “I’m just grindin’ it out. It’s good. I take it with a grain of salt, because at the end of the day, I’ve got to make new s***. So I never let it get to me...

“I’ve got no problem with it,” he laughs.

Everson’s latest movies are “an exercise in form,” he explains. “There’s five films, but three different forms.” Most are fiction, but one is a semi-documentary.

Predictable Everson isn’t. With his usual avant-garde flair, he “did three films based on Columbus, Mississippi, that aren’t shot in Columbus, Mississippi,” he says wryly. “They’re shot in...

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Best o' the fest: What real filmmakers want to see

Salivation. That's what happens when you're a cinephile and you pick up the program for the 24th annual Virginia Film Festival and see all those unreleased new movies, and all those classics you've wanted to revisit, and all those films you really won't get to see anywhere else, and the filmmakers and actors who will be in town, and then–

Head explosion. How in the world are you going to sift through the more 100 screenings and cram in as many as possible during the few short festival days of November 3-6?

Expert assessment. That's where the Hook steps in, offering insight into what the pros are going to see.

And we'll caution you: Some of the obvious must-sees– The Descendants, the new George Clooney movie; Melancholia, the new Lars von Trier film; and JFK with director Oliver Stone– sold out in the first 72 hours, although festival director Jody Kielbasa says there may be a few tickets turned back in by the time the festival starts. We Need to Talk about Kevin also has sold out.

Advance ticket sales are up 25 percent over last year, Kielbasa says, and 2010 was a record-breaking year in which 17 films sold out. More advice from the Hook: Get those tickets now, before it's too late.

Here's what four locals in the film biz have on their go-see lists.

Chris Farina

UVA grad Chris Farina directed ...

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Production values: Jack Fisk finds days of heaven

Cismont resident Jack Fisk has a charmed career. Few movie production designers have worked on so many critically acclaimed films or as consistently with extraordinary directors, such as Terrence Malick and David Lynch. Like them, Fisk favors art over commerce.

Yet versatility is a hallmark of Fisk’s designs. He recreated a hauntingly accurate 1950s America in his breakout film, Malick’s Badlands (1973) and more recently in The Tree of Life (2011). He built the prom that Carrie White incinerated in Carrie (1976). For Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood (2007), he earned an Academy Award nomination for replicating California’s ragged early oil towns and rigs. 

With boyish enthusiasm, the utterly unpretentious Fisk, 65, says his love of building artificial worlds began in childhood when living in a wooded area in Richmond.

"I built a lot of forts.” As an adult, he says, “They turned into sets.”

After Fisk graduated from art school, director Jonathan Demme gave him his first production design assignment for $100 a week on the 1971 biker movie Angels Hard As They Come. Bewildered, Fisk called cinematographer Stephen Katz to find out what an art director does.

“And he said, ‘I don’t know,’” Fisk laughs. “So, to cover my a**, I did everything: I did costumes and props and went crazy, but I loved it.”

Since they met in ninth grade David Lynch has figured heavily in...

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Barn storm: Farm manager not guilty in Bronfman case

It was the case of a billionaire versus a farm manager, what a friend of the accused describes as a steamroller attempting to crush a gnat. But when the jury rendered its verdict on embezzlement charges October 27, the gnat– actually a towering former UVA linebacker– walked tall from the Albemarle County Courthouse amid grateful sobs from his daughter.

The 82-year-old patriarch of the family enriched by the Seagram liquor fortune, New York-based Edgar Bronfman Sr., had accused 52-year-old Michael Nemeyer of illegally enriching himself with bank accounts and credit cards that should have been devoted to Georgetown Farm, Bronfman's sprawling weekend retreat near the northwestern county village of Free Union.

Trial testimony indicated that after Bronfman announced his intention to sell the property about two years ago, Nemeyer expressed an interest in settling what he claims he thought were loans. That acknowledgement, says jury foreperson Ellen Schmidt, was a key factor in the jury's view that there was no criminal deception.

"When the owner said he was selling," recalls Schmidt, "Michael said, 'Well, I still you owe you money.' There was no evidence that he went out of his way to hide anything."

Yet the court file indicates that Nemeyer once penned a letter to the farm's bookkeeper (who separately stands accused) in the billionaire's name. And one of the exhibits introduced at trial was a letter Nemeyer sent Bronfman a...

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Travel plans: Will Bypass bypass peds, bikes, and transit?

The proposed Western Bypass, the resurrected $235 million road project that will cut a 6.2-mile swath from Forest Lakes South to the North Grounds of the University of Virginia through neighborhoods west of Route 29, will not include bike or pedestrian access. Yup. And that's a fact that frustrates advocates for alternative transportation.

"We implore you to focus not only on the roadway design," writes Len Schoppa with the Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation, in an email to the Albemarle Board of supervisors, "but on design elements that impact the ability of this project to improve bicycle, pedestrian, and transit connectivity in our region."

"The Bypass RFP makes it clear that the Bypass will not allow bicycles or pedestrians," says County Supervisor Dennis Rooker, who has convened a task force to add recommendations in an addendum to the RFP in the hopes of getting a better Bypass, 55 percent of which lies in his district.

As Schoppa points out, the current RFP for the project includes few mentions of bicycles and pedestrians, no mention of public transit, and only vaguely touches on "the need for more trails."

"This is an understatement," says Schoppa, who says the project could be a great opportunity to assist alternative modes of transportation. "All community surveys of parks and recreatio...

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