Print Friendly, PDF & Email


The Virginia Film Office and the James River Film Society, in co-operation with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts present the 2018 James River Shorts competition, finalists:


Drive        Sara Gama   (VA, 11:38 min.)


XCTRY        Bill Brown  (NC, 6:18 min.)


I Know What I Saw       Gillian Waldo  (MD, 14:46 min.)


Disillusionment of 10 pt. Font       Greg Condon  (NY, 1:12 min.)


A Month        Zgjim Terziqi    (Kosovo, 25:00 min.)


Going to the Mattresses     Mary Beth Reed   (VA, 6:33 min.)




Stuck      Praheme Praphet    (CA, 17:12 min.)


Reverie      Katy Hannah    (VA, 6:33 min.)


Stray Star    Paramjeet Singh Kattu    (India, 7:40 min.)


My Neighborhood    Annette Daniels-Taylor    (NY, 9:58 min.)


May Day     Olivier Magis    (Belgium, 22:00 min.)



$2,000 in prizes, plus the Kathryn Stephens VA Filmmaker Award and the 2018 People’s Choice Award with this year’s awards judge Kate Elizabeth Fowler,  filmmaker, photographer, educator and past James River Shorts winner.


**Thanks to Rick’s Custom Frame & Gallery, Ken Hopson, VFO, and VMFA!


**Content Advisory: the 2018 James River Short Film competition may include films with

strong adult subject matter.



CARYL BURTNER is a conceptual artist and founder of “Art for My Sake”, and has exhibited internationally.  A graduate of Department of Sculpture at VCU she served for thirty years in the VMFA’s curatorial offices. In 1982 she co-starred in a Richmond underground film, In Broad Daylight, as a bereted revolutionary.


SHANE BROWN is a photography and film instructor at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, and the recent programmer/director of operations for Bijou Film Center.

A collector of film prints in all genres and gauges,  he’s happiest when projecting films in his backyard for friends and family.


TOM CAMPAGNOLI remembers watching Moby Dick and Hitchcock movies with his father as a youth, and later worked as manager/projectionist at Richmond’s repertory Biograph Theatre.  He starred as Kosmo in Steve Segal and Phil Trumbo’s animated-indie epic, Futuropolis.  He is currently employed at UR’s Media Resource Department.


ASHLEY KISTLER is a graduate of VCU’s School of the Arts, served as Associate Curator in Modern/Contemporary Art at the VMFA, Exhibitions Curator at the Visual Arts Center, and later, Director of VCU’s beloved Anderson Gallery. She recently edited a book on the gallery’s collection and continues to work with the RVA art scene.


RAASA LEELA DE MONTEBELLO is an award-winning filmmaker and actress, and divides her time between Ashland and NYC.  A graduate of NYU, she currently freelance edits and directs, as well as running retreats and classes in foraging.  Her film, Decay, won Best Picture and six additional awards in Richmond’s 2018 48-Hour Film Project.


TODD STARKWEATHER holds a PhD in English from University of Illinois-Chicago, where he studied film theory.  He has taught literature, writing and film studies at various

universities in the past twenty years, and currently teaches English language at Manchester Middle School.  He is supporting member and volunteer of the JRFS.


JENNIFER TARRAZI-SCULLY is a dance filmmaker, curator and video installation artist based in Raleigh NC. Her works have been featured at Fieldwork, EYEDRUM, EnCORE: Dance on Film, Alternate Roots and the James River Film Festival and James River Filmmaker’s Forum


AWARDS JUDGE Kate Elizabeth Fowler is a filmmaker, photographer and educator from Richmond. A graduate of VCU’s Photography and Film program, she has since directed arts education programs at Magnum Foundation’s Photography Expanded Initiative in NYC, recently directed the Appalachian Media Institute at Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky.  Currently she is exploring the founding of a Richmond Documentary Center.  A past winner of the James River Shorts Competition, Ms. Fowler will designate $2,000 in prizes, courtesy of the Virginia Film Office and the James River Film Society.



Silent/Music Revival: Sunday, DECEMBER 16th

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Silent/Music Revival


The Little Match Girl (1928)

w/ live score by:

Sunday, DECEMBER 16th
@ Gallery 5
7:30 (doors) 8PM (film)
Donations Appreciated

Silent / Music Revival is a unique event where classic silent films are projected while local musicians act as the live soundtrack.
As an added twist the band does not see the film prior to the event and therefore creates a new spontaneous score. Never to be repeated again.
Silent / Music Revival is celebrating its 12th year and is now a part of the
James River Film Society!

Bad Reputation: The Joan Jett Story (2018) Friday November 9th, 2018 8PM 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Friday November 9th, 2018 8PM 

Visual Arts Center of Richmond 

Bad Reputation: The Joan Jett Story (2018)

A journey through Joan Jett’s life and career, from her early years as founder of “The Runaways” and first collaborations with Kenny Laguna to her status as rock icon.

Tickets available at the door and on Eventbrite





Print Friendly, PDF & Email






Co-sponsored by Re Establish Richmond, Sacred Heart Center of Richmond,

Chop Suey Books, Plan 9 Music & James River Film Society

Each screening $5 at box office/ $10 all-day passes available from Eventbrite

Three separate film programs examining the social/political conditions that precipitated

the refugee crises in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.  

10:30 am  Breadwinner (2017,  94 min.) Another animated feature from Nora Twomey and the Cartoon Saloon in Ireland, produced by Angelina Jolie, and dubbed the best of 2018 by Indie Wire.  Set in Kabul, Afghanistan, our heroine, young Parvana, is thrust into the role of family breadwinner when her father is imprisoned. Under the Taliban, women must be escorted on the streets, so she is forced to disguise herself as a boy on her errands.  Parvana’s adventure becomes broader and more universal as war looms and grave choices are to be made. Insightful and entertaining, a family classic!

1 p.m. El Norte (1984, 140 min.)  One of the best films of the indie boom of the ’80s was this Mex./U.S. co-production directed by Gregory Nava, from a screenplay by Anna Thomas. The story of a brother and sister forced to flee their ranquil Guatemalan village because of the death squads who make their way through Mexico and into California illegally.  The opening scenes of the film shot in Mexico have a wondrous magical quality, and are countered by the harsh realism of life in “El Norte”. The late critic Roger Ebert described it as a “Grapes of Wrath for our times”. With Zaide Silvia Gutierrez as Rosa, and David Villaipando as Enrique.

4 p. m. Double feature!  Fata Morgana (2018, 48 min.) A participatory film made by VCU grad and Fulbright scholar Jen Lawhorne, and African refugees, Ebrima and Toumani, who are trying to establish themselves in Messina, Sicily after receiving official asylum.  A timely film that shifts the gaze of the traditional documentary to those directly affected by the immigration process, and the problems encountered in anew homeland. The Man We Called Juan Carlos  (2000, 52 min.) Wenceslao Amira, aka Juan Carlos, was a Mayan farmer, teacher, priest and guerilla, and the father of two murdered children.  Filmed over two decades by co-directors Heather Mac Andrew and David Springbolt, the film explores the intersections of different lives, North and South,

through coincidence and timing, across borders and history. “This sophisticated and troubling film raises important questions about human rights,” Stephen Hume, Vancouver Sun.

JRFS Official Fall/Winter Calendar of Events!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sat., Sept. 15–Good Day RVA Fest (SMR)

Wed., Sept 19–Strange Projections–cheesy/ cult videos at Gallery 5 (every 3rd Wednesday!)

Fri., Sept 21–Last Day for Submissions to James River Short Film Competition

$2,000 in prizes! Sponsored by VA Film Office and JRFS

Sat., Oct 6–Border (less) Film Fest at the Byrd Theatre

Film screenings, food vendors and activism!

$5/screening; $10 all day!

(more details to come)

Wed., Oct 17–Strange Projections at Gallery 5

Sun., Oct 28–Silent/Music Revival’s Annual Halloween Celebration at Gallery 5


Fri., Nov 9– BAD REPUTATION – A journey through Joan Jett’s life and career. Cash Bar, $7

**Sorry no Strange Projections on Nov 21–Thanksgiving Holiday**

Fri., Nov 30–Award Screening of James River Short Film Competition–$2,000 in prizes!

Leslie Cheek Theater, VMFA

Sun., Dec 16–Silent Music Revival’s Annual Christmas Show at Gallery 5


Wed., Dec 19–Strange Projections at Gallery 5

Coming in 2019–26th James River Film Festival, March 14-17

Silent Music Revival: This Weekend! (June 2nd)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In memory of Bob Ellis (1951–2018)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I knew of Bob long before I met him.  I’d seen his white shock of hair at countless movies at the Biograph Theatre, where it seemed to us employees that he was in constant attendance.  He was a familiar figure too on the VCU campus as a popular and long-time adjunct in the English department.  It would not be until 1994 that we would be introduced.

The occasion was a late Sunday night at Joe’s Inn, and Trent Nicholas and I were celebrating the wrap of the first James River Festival of the Moving Image (later the James River Film Festival).  A couple of booths away my friend Ron Childs was seated with the white-haired guy everyone called “Bob”.

As we ordered a second round, Ron came over and said I want you to meet Bob Ellis. So I walked over and Ron introduced, “Spike, this is Ellis”.  I said that I’d seen around and knew of him, and Bob smiled and said:” Of course!”

And as spoken in Casablanca, it was the beginning of a “beautiful friendship”.  Bob became active with the James River Short Film competition as a juror and soon established (proclaimed) himself as the James River Film group’s resident critic—he even looked like Roger Ebert!  He cajoled and worked the fellow jurors’ choices toward the more experimental and the avant-garde film submissions and in the process helped forge an identity, a brand of what kind of films we like to show and why.

One year he delivered an impromptu manifesto to a Grace Street Theater crowd gathered to screen the winners of the competition.

Bob’s introduction to Richard Myers’ Akran was lauded by the filmmaker as the best intro he’d ever heard about his own work!  Among his other films championed were Melvin van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Badasss Song and the sexplosion Swedish imports I Am Curious Yellow/ I Am Curious Blue and his admiration for Federico Fellini and Jean-Luc Godard’s films bordered on religious.

As he lived for a long while just down the street from my own Fan residence, I’d drink beer (frozen Busch beer that we pried out of his over iced freezer compartment) and listen to records from his dusty collection, and talk music (Patti Smith, Ramones, Iggy Pop, Nina Simone), poetry (Billy Collins, the Beats, Sonia Sanchez whom he’d met), literature (Updike, Woolf, Stegner,Oates) and of course, cinema. He also became dear to my wife and daughter and cat Sassy, and would spontaneously compose songs for their birthdays, which he sang and played to us on his Martin guitar.

I never knew anyone who lived for literature and art in general like Bob, and I’ll miss those long roundabout discussions and the frosty beers. I knew of Bob long before we met, and I’ll know of him long after his passing.

-Mike Jones 

President JRFS


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

JAMES RIVER SHORT FILMS – November 30th, 2018

Co-sponsored by the VIRGINIA FILM OFFICE

DEADLINE: September 21st, 2018

$2,000 IN PRIZES!



James River Shorts is a mini-festival devoted to the short. The centerpiece is a juried competition for short films (20 minutes or less) from around the globe that best embody what the James River Film Society and James River Film Festival are all about – the art of film and film as art. It’s also the James River Film Festival’s little sibling. Even a snapshot of the guests from the past 20 years of the JRFF – Michael Almereyda, Caroline Martel, Tom Davenport, David Gatten, Ross McElwee, Jodie Mack, Peggy Ahwesh, Jem Cohen, Bruce Bickford, Richard Kelly, Chuck Statler, Karen Aqua, Joanna Priestley, Richard Myers, Pere Ubu, Martha Colburn, Mel Stuart, The Brothers Quay, Jonas Mekas, Les Blank, Ray Harryhausen, Tom Verlaine, Charles Burnett, Albert Maysles, John Columbus, Stan Brakhage, Scott MacDonald, and William Wegman – shows that we have a broad concept of the art of film and film as art. Therefore, we encourage all types of short films: fiction, nonfiction, animation, experimental, and more. We define short, you define art.



James River Shorts is designed to celebrate the art of film regardless of category or genre, yet films made for educational or industrial purposes are not relevant to our mission. Maximum running time is 20 min.



Our festival is designed to have no regard for traditional categories like fiction, nonfiction, animation or experimental. For the festival we will select the films that we feel best represent the art of film and film as art, regardless of type or category.



Those entrants who become finalists for the Awards screening November 30th will be notified by October 30th. A jury of area filmmakers and film educators will pre-screen and select the finalists, whose work will be featured in the Friday, November 30th, 6:30 pm James River Shorts Awards Screening at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Leslie Cheek Theatre. A special guest filmmaker/film curator (TBA) will make final all designations of cash awards.


Cash awards totaling $2,000 will be given for first, second, and third places. The Kathryn Stephens Virginia Filmmaker Award will be presented to best film by a Virginia filmmaker. The audience will also vote for the People’s Choice Award.


THESE ARE MY HOURS Sneak Preview Screening

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Richmond **Sneak Preview** Screening

About the film:
THESE ARE MY HOURS is a full sensory immersion into one woman’s physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual experience of giving birth. It is the first documentary filmed entirely during the course of one one woman’s labor, told from her perspective.

Emily Graham lives in Greenville, South Carolina, where she is about to give birth at home. She trusts herself and her body, and believes she possesses instinctual wisdom for labor.

It’s been said: When a child is born, the mother is born too.

THESE ARE MY HOURS presents the ultimate celebration of womanhood by honoring its oldest ritual.

“Whoever watches These Are My Hours becomes a companion, a godparent in this woman’s labor, a participant in a small yet enormous slice of life. The film contrasts the true glory of the female body and its muscular and existential potential: Emily is not just a pregnant woman; she is the primal life-giving woman who wishes to do, can do and does do. This is, simply and in all its complexity, experiencing a revelation – of a new person, who will grow up to view the female naked body naturally, with respect and curiosity, in its beauty and ugliness, the way it really is.”
– Leda Galanou, Flix Magazine

“These Are My Hours is the most beautiful, raw and honest birth film I’ve seen. As a midwife I’ve seen women give birth so many times. To know there’s footage that captures this experience so well makes me beyond grateful. I cannot wait to share this film with my clients.”
– Marjolein Faber, Dutch Midwife

“While other documentaries on birth have faithfully recorded and narrated a wide range of birth stories, Kirschenbaums brings the viewer close to feeling the sensations of birth… This ability to access the physiology of birth through film on the level of the sensory, as opposed to just the visual, is rare.”
– Anna Hennessey, Visiting Scholar, UC Berkeley

“These Are My Hours represents everything I believe as a woman, mother, midwife, and feminist. I was in tears just a few seconds in, and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. We need more tools for the positive birth movement, and this film is the real deal.”
– Margo Blackstone, Co-Director of Indie Birth

Following the film there will be a Q & A with:
Scott Kirschenbaum, Director/Producer
Emily Graham, the subject of the film
Whapio Bartlett, Richmond resident, lead midwifery teacher of The Matrona and member of the Birth Advisory Council for These Are My Hours. http://thematrona.com/

$5 presale or at the door

Doors 6pm
Film 7pm
Q&A 8pm

For more information, please visit:


To watch the trailer, visit:

Thanks to our Spring 2018 Donors!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Thanks to our Spring 2018 donors for helping to make the 25th James River Film Festival possible!

Judy & Butch Balenger, Barbara & Joe Brancoli, Caryl Burtner, Tom Campagnoli & Amy Mathieux, Ronald Childs, Robert Cox, Jr., Marcia & Jim Collier, Patrick Gregory, Anne & Mike Jones, Ashley Kistler, Jere Kittle, Amie Oliver & Harry Kollatz, Jeff Roll, Ted Salins, Todd Starkweather, Peyton Whitacre, David Williams, and Anonymous.

Like to be a donor?  Send your tax-deductible check to : James River Film Society, P.O. Box 7469, Richmond, VA 23220  or, make a tax-deductible contribution conveniently via PayPal; just go to: admin@jamesriverfilm.org.

Silent/Music Revival with Dave Watkins & Infinite Third April 10th !

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

• Tuesday, April 10th, 2018, 7-10PM
• Väsen Brewing Company
• 3331 Moore Street, Richmond, VA
• Admission: Free / donations encouraged !


Silent / Music Revival POP UP EVENT!

Screening : From Morning to Midnight (1920)

Double feature. Live music to silent films

Music by:
Dave Watkins
Infinite Third


25th James River Film Festival March 13-18, 2018 RVA

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Click to view larger.






The official poster for the 25th Annual James River Film Festival

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Full schedule coming soon !

9th Anniversary of the James River Filmmakers Forum

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

• Saturday, February 24th, 2018, 8PM
• The Visual Arts Center
• 1812 W Main St, Richmond, VA
• Admission: $5 cash / $5.46 via credit card (PayPal fee)


Join us for a special 9th anniversary edition of the James River Filmmakers Forum . We will screen the work of local and visiting filmmakers plus live music from Charlottesville’s SHIPS IN THE NIGHT.  Chow down on some free pizza from Arianna’s Italian Grill / free popcorn and a cash bar . Curated and hosted by Jeff Roll , his last Forum before he retires in March .

Featured Filmmakers include :
Kahekili and Rick Spears – Rocket Science ( Comedy )
Joseph Yates – The Great Wave ( surreal drama )
Dakotah Coates – Uncoupled (comedy)
Payton Lea – Sunlight (drama)
Ben Rinehardt – Automated Moon , Coma Software ( animation )
Shannon Silva (visiting filmmaker from NC) – Baby Oil ( drama )

**NOTE** Due to unforeseen circumstances the Hunter Brumfield and Anousheh screening of the Bones music video has been canceled. Not to worry . We still have plenty of talent to showcase .


Special thanks to Ships In the Night for being our musical guest . Check out her music at band camp .

Double Feature : Environmental Film : No Blade of Grass(1970) followed by “BEAT NIGHT” !

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

• Saturday, January 20th, 2018, 6PM
• Visual Arts Center of Richmond
• 1812 West Main Street, Richmond, VA
• Admission: FREE donations encouraged

At 6 pm, the RVA Environmental Film folks will be screening the 1970 cult eco-disaster film,” No Blade of Grass” directed by Cornel Wilde in anticipation of their upcoming annual week-long festival in February! Admission Free (donations always welcome!)

Followed by :

• Saturday, January 20th, 2018, 8PM
• Visual Arts Center of Richmond
• 1812 West Main Street, Richmond, VA
• Admission: $6

Followed at 8 pm by “Beat Night” – a celebration of the Beat movement and the 60th anniversary of the publication of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road  a screening of “Pull My Daisy” (1958) directed by Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie with Allen Ginsberg, Gregory Corso, Larry Rivers, Alice Neel, Peter Orlovsky written and narrated by Keroauc himself, as well as other Beat-related shorts, oft-described as plotless, featuring Neal Cassady, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Shirley Clarke and others!