Spotlight Programs

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23

SpotlightBars-TigerHunter

8:00 PM – OPENING NIGHT FILM
VIRGINIA PREMIERE – THE TIGER HUNTER

(2016, U.S., 94 minutes, Unrated, English)
Presented by Alma Mater Productions

Special Guests: Writer/Director Lena Khan and Producer Megha Kadakia
THE TIGER HUNTER is the story of Sami Malik, a young Indian who travels to 1970s America to become an engineer in order to impress his childhood crush and live up to the legacy of his father – a legendary tiger hunter back home. When Sami’s job falls through, he takes a low-end job and joins with a gang of oddball friends in hopes of convincing his childhood sweetheart that he’s far more successful than he truly is…or perhaps ever could be. Starring: Danny Pudi, Jon Heder, Karen David, Rizwan Manji, Sam Page, Kevin Pollak, and Iqbal Theba.
Writer/Director Lena Khan and Producer Megha Kadakia will be present for a Q&A session following the film.
Trailer

 

LENA KHAN
Writer / Director, The Tiger Hunter
A writer and director, Lena gained experience at companies like Participant Media (Syriana, The Kite Runner) before focusing on directing her own work. Lena has directed commercials, films and music videos for international artists such as Maher Zain and her videos have been broadcast on TV across the world and received over 20 million hits on YouTube. Lena graduated from the prestigious UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. The Tiger Hunter is her first feature film.

MEGHA KADAKIA
Producer, The Tiger Hunter
Megha Kadakia brings a unique blend of business experience and artistic vision to the world of independent filmmaking through her production company Blue Velocity Pictures. Kadakiaʼs producing projects have received wide acclaim, garnering her entry into the Film Independent Producerʼs Workshop, Tribeca All Access, the Producerʼs Network at the Cannes Film Festival, and the Strategic Partners Conference. She holds a Masterʼs Degree in Business Administration from Columbia University, Graduate School of Business and serves on the boards of Creative Visions Foundation, Social Capital Philanthropists and America India Foundation (AIF).

RIZWAN MANJI

Actor, The Tiger Hunter
Rizwan Manji is perhaps best known for playing Rajiv, the hysterically officious, scheming assistant manager of a call center in the NBC comedy “Outsourced.” Part of the network’s prestigious Thursday night comedy lineup, this groundbreaking TV show was the first American sitcom to be based in India and feature a predominantly Indian cast.
With a prolific career spanning nearly 20 years to date, some of Rizwan’s memorable film credits include The Wolf of Wall Street, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Dictator, Transformers, Don JonEquals, The Tiger HunterPaterson, and the Canadian/Indian co-production Dr. Cabbie. Rizwan has also appeared on many popular TV shows including “Glee,” “Arrested Development,” “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “Without a Trace,” “NCIS,” “Bones,” “Schitt’s Creek,” and “The Magicians.”

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 24

SpotlightBars-RussianWoodpecker

8:00 PM – SPOTLIGHT SCREENING
THE RUSSIAN WOODPECKER

(2015, U.S., 80 minutes, Unrated, English and Russian with subtitles)
Presented by the W&M History Department and Russian and Post-Soviet Studies Department

This documentary is a thrilling, award winning investigation into the ghosts of the Soviet Union and the mind of an irradiated Ukrainian artist on a quest to discover the “criminal” behind the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Unforgettably eccentric artist Fedor Alexandrovich begins his quest by revealing to the world an enormous secret Soviet weapon that stands in the shadow of Chernobyl, and which Kremlinologists in the 1980s thought was a giant mind-control device.
But what Fedor discovers is much more sinister. While his theory that Chernobyl was an inside job may seem mad, the audience too starts to question reality when secret police appear and one of the crew members is shot by a sniper, as revolution, paranoia and terror engulf the crew. This Sundance Grand Jury winner and darling of critics worldwide pushes the boundaries of the documentary form while telling a crucial story about the deadly dance between Ukraine and Russia, and hinting at what Putin has in mind next.
In Gracia’s documentary/conspiracy thriller, Alexandrovich returns to the ghost towns in the radioactive Exclusion Zone to try to find answers – and to decide whether to risk his life by revealing them, amid growing clouds of Ukraine’s revolution and war.
Director / Producer / Editor Chad Gracia will be present for a Q&A session following the film.
Trailer

 

CHAD GRACIA
Director / Producer / Editor, The Russian Woodpecker
Chad has worked in New York theater for nearly 20 years as a producer, dramaturg, and playwright, with a focus on plays in verse. His works have seen productions in various cities in the United States and Europe. He co-wrote Gilgamesh, a drama based on the Sumerian epic, with Pulitzer-Prize winning author Yusef Komunyakaa, and has long collaborated with the American verse playwright Kirk Wood Bromley. The Russian Woodpecker is his first film.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25

SpotlightBars-AccidentalCourtesy

8:30 PM – SPOTLIGHT SCREENING
VIRGINIA PREMIERE
ACCIDENTAL COURTESY: DARYL DAVIS, RACE & AMERICA

(2016, U.S., 98 minutes, Unrated, English)

Special Guests: Daryl Davis and Director Matt Ornstein
Daryl Davis has an unusual hobby. Though primarily known as an accomplished musician who has performed all over the world with legends like Chuck Berry and Little Richard, in his spare time he likes to meet and befriend members of the Ku Klux Klan. Daryl has built his relationships person by person and his campaign has proved remarkably effective. Many members of the KKK he has connected with have been forced to reconsider their beliefs, with some even leaving the organization as a result.
Davis has collected hoods, robes and other artifacts from friends who have left the Klan, building a collection piece by piece, story by story, person by person in hopes of eventually opening a “Museum of the Klan.” ACCIDENTAL COURTESY is a rare and powerful portrait of a man who has truly embodied the idea that real and profound change happens best when it is one-on-one. It is a controversial concept that not that everyone agrees with, as we learn in person as the film travels the country canvassing different perspectives.
Director Matt Ornstein shows us all sides of the argument as he takes us on an intimate and inspiring journey into Davis’ life. He seeks out old friends he inspired to leave the Klan and those still active in the organization today, as well as academics, civil rights activists, and neo Nazis as he attempts to answer his lifelong question: “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?”
Daryl Davis, the subject of the documentary, and Director Matt Ornstein will be present for a Q&A session following the film.
Trailer

 

DARYL DAVIS
Author / Lecturer / Documentary Subject, Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America
Daryl Davis is an author, actor, and accomplished musician who has performed all over the world with legends like Chuck Berry and Little Richard. In his spare time he likes to meet and befriend members of the Ku Klux Klan- something few black men can say. Daryl has built his relationships person by person and his campaign has proved remarkably effective. Many members of the KKK he has connected with have been forced to reconsider their beliefs, with some even leaving the organization as a result.
MATT ORNSTEIN
Director, Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America
Matt Ornstein founded Sound & Vision Productions in 2006. Since then, Sound and Vision has produced and developed music videos, commercials, and short and feature length films. Sound & Vision produced the Matt Ornstein directed Atlantis in 2012 staring Jason Ritter and the space shuttle Atlantis. It appeared in film festivals including Austin, Orlando, London, Cannes, Santa Barbara, Taiwan and 15 others. Matt is the Creative Director of Sound and Vision, and has directed music videos for artists including Radiohead, Daft Punk, Penguin Prison, Cobra Starship, Ashtar Command, and Harmar Superstar. He studied film at Bard College.

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26

SpotlightBars-Zucchini

5:00 PM – CLOSING NIGHT FILM
VIRGINIA PREMIERE – MY LIFE AS A ZUCCHINI

(2016, France/Switzerland, 70 minutes, Unrated, French with subtitles)

After an unexpected tragedy, Zucchini is befriended by a police officer, Raymond, who accompanies him to his new foster home, filled with other orphans his age. At first he struggles to find his place in this at times strange and hostile environment. But with Raymond’s help and his newfound friends, Zucchini eventually learns to trust and love, as he searches for a new family of his own.
From its debut in Director’s Fortnight at Cannes to winning audience awards at Annecy, Melbourne and Angoulême, this accomplished debut feature from director Claude Barras, based on a script from acclaimed writer/director Céline Sciamma (Girlhood, Tomboy), has received an overwhelming response from audiences worldwide, is a Golden Globe nominee for Best Animated Feature, and is Switzerland’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. Brought to life through memorable character designs and expressive stop-motion animation, the story soars with laughter, sorrow, and joy, and stands as a testament to the resilience of the human heart.
Trailer