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Gordon Parks Mini Film Festival: The Learning Tree

Thu, Oct 13, 6–9 pm | Leslie Cheek Theater

The poignant story was adapted by Gordon Parks from his own semi-autobiographical novel. Set in a small town in 1920s Kansas, the film relates the overwhelming events that force a black teenager into sudden manhood. The Learning Tree was the first major Hollywood studio movie directed by an African American and was among the first 25 honored films to be preserved by the U.S. Library of Congress in the National Film Registry.

Following the film, VMFA Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, will conduct a short gallery tour of the exhibition.

$8 (VMFA members $5)

Gordon Parks Mini Film Festival: Leadbelly

Fri, Oct 14, 1–3:30 pm | Leslie Cheek Theater

Huddie William Ledbetter (1889–1947) and his rough-and-tumble life make for an engaging, entertaining, and educational film, with guidance from Parks and an excellent portrayal by Roger E. Mosley. The man who called himself “Lead Belly” mastered the twelve-string guitar and a slew of other instruments, and wrote or recorded many iconic folk/blues standards, such as Rock Island Line, Midnight Special, and Goodnight Irene (1976; 127 min; color) .

$8 (VMFA members $5)
Double Feature:  Buy a ticket to Leadbelly and see Shaft at 6 pm for free. Present your ticket at the theater entrance.

Gordon Parks Mini Film Festival: Shaft

Fri, Oct 14, 6–9 pm | Leslie Cheek Theater

The success of this taut urban action movie launched an entire film genre, affectionately known as “Blaxploitation,” and is one of the best of the bunch. A charismatic Richard Roundtree plays a super cool, hero/antihero who is as handy with his fists as he is with the ladies. By casting a black actor as a typically gritty, conventional crime-film lead, Parks made Shaft especially revolutionary and influential. A conversation with special guest speaker will follow the film (1971; 100 min; color).

$8 (VMFA members $5)
Double feature - Buy a ticket to Leadbelly at 1 pm and see Shaft for free. Present your ticket at the theater entrance.

VCU Southern Film Festival: The Life & Times of Elizabeth Keckly

Fri, Sep 16,  6:309 pm | Cheek Theater
Featuring film researcher and writer Elvatrice Belsches in discussion with Kimberly Brown

This documentary explores the extraordinary life of Elizabeth Keckly against the national crisis of the Civil War. Born a slave in Virginia, Keckly’s skill as a seamstress enabled her to purchase her freedom. She became the favorite dressmaker and personal confidante of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, and she later established a relief organization for freedmen and injured black soldiers.

Founded in 2010, the VCU Southern Film Festival explores how the distinctive qualities of the South have been portrayed onscreen by bringing together films and filmmakers with constructive commentary. Co-sponsored by the VCU Department of History and VMFA.

$8 (VMFA members $5)
Free for VCU faculty, students, and staff with valid VCU ID

Film + Talk: The River with Dr. John Henry Rice

Fri, Sep 23, 6:30–9 pm | Cheek Theater

Jean Renoir, son of Pierre-Auguste Renoir and a master of French cinema, chose to make his first Technicolor work entirely in India. Based on the Rumer Godden novel, the film eloquently contrasts the lives of young British and Indian women with the immutability of the Ganges River in Bengal. Renoir’s nuanced understanding of the culture, its people, and the British presence enriches this graceful exploration of transitory emotions and everlasting creation. Dr. John Henry Rice will provide post-film commentary. 

This film event complements the VMFA print exhibition, Light and Line: E. S. Lumsden’s Visions of India.

$8 (VMFA members $5)

Fabergé: A Life of Its Own

Fri, Nov 18, 6:307:30 pm | Leslie Cheek Theater

(2014; 90 min) | From Imperial Russia to the present day, this exciting documentary tells the epic story of the Fabergé name, spanning 150 years of turbulent history, romance, artistic development, and commercial exploitation. Among many examples shown, 20 pieces from VMFA’s own Fabergé Collection, bequeathed by Lillian Thomas Pratt, are featured up close in brilliant high definition and given historic context. After the film, we invite you to find all 20 pieces in our newly re-opened Fabergé Galleries.

$8 (VMFA members $5)