The Grace Street Theater at 934 West Grace Street in the heart of VCU’s Monroe Park campus is the site of the VCU Southern Film Festival.
Lovers of classic films and great works of southern literature are in for a super treat.
The series starts at 6PM on Thursday, February 24th, with a book reading and signing by Charles Shields of “Mockingbird: An Intimate Portrait of Harper Lee.” This event takes place at one of Richmond’s favorite independent bookstores, Fountain Book Store at 1312 East Cary Street in Richmond’s Historic Shockoe Slip.
Friday opens at 4PM with the 1979 film “Wise Blood.” This film examines the Southern gothic world of religion through obsessed preacher Hazel Motes, founder of the Church Without Christ. The film is based on the novel by Flannery O’Connor and will be featured at the Grace Street Theater.
At 7 PM, “In This Our Life,” a 1942 film based on Ellen Glasgow’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, portrays family betrayal and racial tension in the south. Olivia de Havilland and Bette Davis perform as rival sisters and won accolades for their performances. This is the first Hollywood film to portray African-Americans as intelligent characters in a non-menial role.
On Saturday, February 26th, the Grace Street Theater opens at 10AM, with “The Story of Temple Drake,” based on the novel by William Faulkner, depicting Temple Drake, young woman who embodies Southern decadence, as well as its demise.
At 1 PM, “The Color Purple,” the 1985 film based on Alice Walker’s novel describes the bonding of black women in early 20th century Georgia. Performances by Whoopie Goldberg, Margaret Avery and Oprah Winfrey make this a “must-see.”
The 1951 film “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Vivian Leigh and Marlon Brando begins at 4PM. It is based on the prize-winning play by Tennessee Williams, won four Academy Awards and launched Williams as one of the South’s literary lions.
Between 4:30 PM and 5:30 PM, Charles Shields will again sign his book “Mockingbird: An Intimate Portrait of Harper Lee” but this time at VCU Barnes and Noble at 1111 West Broad, just around the block from the Grace Street Theater.
At 7 PM, the 1962 film “To Kill a Mockingbird” will conclude the festival. Charles Shields will discuss how the screenplay evolved from the novel. Mary Badham, the actress who played Scout, will discuss her experience on the set of the film.
All in all, the VCU Southern Film Festival is bound to be a February highlight, an event not to miss. Best of all, all events are FREE and open to the public.
And, if you happen to visit Richmond, Virginia, your innkeepers at the premier B&B in the historic Fan District, hope you’ll reserve one of our guest rooms so you can be right in the middle of it all!