October 17 – 20, 2024
Middleburg, Virginia

Films & Events

Previous Festivals:
2023  |  2022  |  2021  |  2020  |  2019  |  2018  |  2017  |  2016  |  2015  |  2014  |  2013
Thelonious “Monk” Ellison (a fantastic Jeffrey Wright) is a respected author and professor of English literature. But his impatience with his students’ cultural sensitivities threatens his academic standing, while his latest novel fails to attract publishers who claim Monk’s writing “isn’t Black enough.” He travels to his hometown of Boston to participate in a literary festival where all eyes are on the first-time author of a bestseller titled 'We’s Lives In Da Ghetto'..
Adam is a forty-something gay screenwriter living in a new and near-empty apartment building in contemporary London. He’s an orphan. He’s single and lonely. He carries around the burden of grief from a traumatic episode in his youth that saw both parents killed in a car crash. One night, Adam (a fantastic Andrew Scott) has a chance encounter with a mysterious neighbor Harry (Paul Mescal), who punctures the rhythm of his everyday life.
Early in 2022, Jon Batiste, the multi-instrumentalist and longtime bandleader for Late Night with Stephen Colbert, finds himself the most celebrated artist of the year with eleven Grammy nominations including Album of the Year. In the midst of that triumph, Jon is immersed in his most ambitious challenge yet: composing “American Symphony,” an original symphony that thrillingly reimagines the classical traditions of the form..
Winner of the Palme D'or at the Cannes Film Festival. For the past year, Sandra, her husband Samuel, and their eleven-year-old son Daniel, have lived a secluded life in a remote town in the French Alps. Sandra (German actress Sandra Huller) is a successful writer; her husband, also a writer, spends his days homeschooling their visually impaired son. When Samuel is found dead in the snow below their chalet, the police question whether he was murdered or committed suicide.
Returning home from the front line after being held captive for two months by Russian-backed separatists in Donbas, 29-year-old Lilia (nicknamed Butterfly) discovers that she is pregnant after being raped by a guard. An aerial reconnaissance expert, Lilia was captured and tortured as evidenced by the deep scars on her back.
Paul Matthews is a husband, father, floundering evolutionary biology college professor and socially awkward everyman. The kind of person you’d walk by on the street and not give a second glance. Paul finds his hapless life turned upside down after he starts appearing at random in other people’s dreams. First, it’s his daughter, then an old girlfriend, then his students, then practically everyone on the planet..
Set during a bitter 1964 Massachusetts winter, a young secretary named Eileen (Thomasin McKenzie) becomes enchanted by the arrival of a glamorous new psychiatrist at the juvenile prison where she works.  From the start, Rebecca Saint John (the talented Anne Hathaway at her best) seems out of place at the rundown facility. She’s a Marilyn Monroe knock-off, with her perfectly coiffed platinum blond hair, high heels, and sexy swagger.
Award-winning filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki (Le Havre, The Other Side of Hope) returns to the screen with Fallen Leaves, a timeless, bittersweet, and ultimately fulfilling love story about two lonely souls’ path to happiness – and the numerous hurdles they encounter along the way. Ansa and Holappa meet by chance one night at a local Karoke bar, each reluctantly convinced by a friend to go there visit the bar.
Anna and Ryan are happily living together. According to a test that accurately determines whether a couple is in love, they are a perfect match. In the film’s alternate reality, couples examine their devotion at love institutes, doing exercises to bring them closer together before taking a test, using a new technology, which requires each person to submit a fingernail to determine compatibility.
Writer/director Billy Luther makes an impressive feature debut with his poignant, charming, and quite humorous coming-of-age story. As the summer of 1990 starts, eleven-year- old Benny is living with his parents in San Diego and dreaming about seeing Fleetwood Mac. Out of the blue, he’s informed by his parents that he’s being sent to live with his grandma on the Navajo Reservation.
The Holdovers reunites acclaimed Sideways’ director Alexander Payne and actor Paul Giamatti in a holiday story of three lonely, shipwrecked people at a New England boarding school over winter break in 1970. Giamatti is perfectly cast as Paul Hunham, a professor of ancient history – disliked by both students and faculty – who gets stuck holding over at Barton Academy..
With unprecedented access to Taiwan’s sitting head of state, director Vanessa Hope spent months investigating and documenting the election and tenure of Dr. Tsai Ing-wen, the first female President in Taiwan history. Tsai’s rise to the presidency is a remarkable achievement - she’s also the first female head of state in Asia who was not born into a political family, having grown up in an auto repair shop run by her parents.
KIDNAPPED: The Abduction of Edgardo Mortara
In 1858, in the Jewish quarter of Bologna, Italy, the Pope’s soldiers burst into the home of the Mortara family. By order of the cardinal, they have come to forcibly take Edgardo, their seven-year-old son. Unbeknownst to his parents, the child had been secretly baptized by a nurse who feared for his soul if he died when he became sick as a baby. The boy survived and now years later, the baptism has just been discovered.
David Fincher's latest film stars Michael Fassbender (Shame, Steve Jobs) as the unnamed hitman whose carefully constructed life is disturbed after a hit goes awry. Despite his personal mantra to remain detached and methodical, he finds himself hunting those who dare to threaten him. The Killer makes us privy to his inner thoughts, as well as his bland practical reality. This assassin is calm and careful, possesses countless passports and identities..
La Chimera is the story of the ups and downs of a ragtag gang of tombaroli, or grave-robbers, violators of Etruscan tombs and peddlers of antiques to local fences. Set in 1980s Tuscany, the tombaroli are strong, youthful -- with a total disregard for the past unlike their fathers, men who had grown up beside these ancient tombs without ever violating them. These grave robbers do as they please..
Award-winning filmmaker Dawn Porter (John Lewis: Good Trouble) has crafted a beautiful portrait of a remarkable First Lady with The Lady Bird Diaries, an all-archival documentary film about Lady Bird Johnson. Porter and her team combed through 123 hours of personal and revealing audio diaries that Lady Bird recorded during her husband’s administration.
One of the most beautiful and inspiring films you'll see all year! The Last Repair Shop in Los Angeles is one of the last American cities to provide free and freely repaired musical instruments to its public schoolchildren, a continuous service since 1959. It's also the largest. Academy Award-nominated directing duo Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers take us inside the downtown warehouse in which a dwindling handful of devoted craftspeople..
The stunning directorial second feature from Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born) takes us into the world of legendary composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein and his wife Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein over the course of their nearly three decades of marriage. The setting is postwar New York City. The 25-year-old Bernstein (superbly portrayed by Bradley Cooper)..
Despite what began as a shocking affair, then 36-year old Gracie (Julianne Moore) and 13-year old Joe (Charles Melton) now lead a seemingly picture-perfect suburban life in Savannah, Georgia some 20 years later. They’ve raised a couple of kids, who are now about to graduate from high school. Their carefully built façade of domestic bliss is disrupted when Elizabeth (Natalie Portman), a famous movie and tv actress, arrives..
The filmmakers first learned about this seemingly implausible story in 2018 the same way most of the world did – through a New York Times headline which read “Isolated Tribe Kills American With Bow and Arrow on Remote Indian Island”. Apparently, a young missionary named John Chau, had been killed while attempting to contact one of the world’s most isolated Indigenous peoples on remote North Sentinel Island..
Kingdom of Bhutan, 2006. Modernization has finally arrived. Bhutan becomes the last country in the world to connect to the internet and television, and now the biggest change of all: democracy. But this means holding an election, a foreign concept and not one people are readily embracing. To teach people how to vote, the authorities have organized a mock election, but the locals remain unconvinced.
A remarkable true story of tenacity, friendship, and the triumph of the human spirit, NYAD recounts a riveting chapter in the life of world-class athlete Diana Nyad. Three decades after giving up marathon swimming in exchange for a prominent career as a sports journalist, atthe age of 60, Diana (four-time Academy Award nominee Annette Bening) becomes obsessed with completing an epic swim that always eluded her..
Nora and Hae Sung, two deeply connected childhood friends, are separated after Nora’s family emigrates from South Korea to Canada. Two decades later, they are re-united in New York as they confront notions of destiny, love, and the choices that one makes in their life.  A heartrending modern romance, the film is based on writer-director Celine Song’s own life.
At first glance, the masterful director Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire) seems to have selected an unlikely subject as the focus for his latest film. Hirayama (a mesmerizing Koji Yakusho) lives alone in small house and is quite content with his solitary life as a toilet cleaner in Tokyo.There’s a familiar, unchanging rhythm as he heads off to work each day in his minivan full of cleaning supplies..
Coming from two countries at odds with each other, Iranian-American Leila (Layla Mohammadi) strives to find balance and embrace her opposing cultures, while challenging the labels society is quick to project upon her. When her family reunites in New York City for her father’s heart transplant, Leila navigates her relationships at arm’s length, attempting to keep her “real” life separate from her family life.
When teenage Priscilla Beaulieu meets Elvis Presley at a party, the man who is already a meteoric rock-and-roll superstar becomes someone entirely unexpected in private moments: a thrilling crush, an ally in loneliness, a vulnerable best friend. Through Priscilla’s eyes, Sofia Coppola tells the unseen side of a great American myth in Elvis and Priscilla's long courtship and turbulent marriage..
In 1755, the impoverished Captain Ludvig Kahlen (Mads Mikkelsen) sets out to conquer a vast uninhabitable land with a seemingly impossible goal; to cultivate valuable crops and build a colony for the King in exchange for a desperately desired royal name for himself. The illegitimate son of a maid and a nobleman, Kahlen is determined to secure his future.
In this beautifully rendered and heartfelt animated tale, we meet DOG living a sad and solitary life in Manhattan. He’s tired of being alone, not having any friends, and spending his days watching television. One day, DOG decides to build himself a robot that he’s ordered from on a home shopping TV channel to provide himself with a much-needed companion.
The architect of 1963’s momentous March on Washington, Bayard Rustin was one of the greatest activists and organizers the world has ever known. He challenged authority, never apologized for who he was, what he believed, or who he desired. And he did not back down. He made history, and in turn, he was forgotten.
Academy Award winning, British filmmaker Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) brings us a beautifully wicked tale of privilege and desire. Struggling to find his place at Oxford University, first-year student Oliver Quick (Barry Keoghan) finds himself drawn into the world of the charming and aristocratic Felix Catton (Jacob Elordi), who invites him to spend the summer at Saltburn..
An Iranian woman living in Australia, Shayda finds refuge in a secret women’s shelter with her frightened 6-year-old daughter, Mona. Having fled her husband, Hossein, and filed for divorce, Shayda struggles to maintain normalcy for Mona as well as continue to embrace and celebrate her Persian heritage and traditions. As Nowruz (Persian New Year) approaches, Shadya tries to forge a fresh start with new and unfettered freedoms.
On October 12, 1972, The Old Christians Rugby team boarded Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 from Montevideo, Uruguay to Santiago, Chile, where they had a game scheduled. That game never took place. The airplane, carrying 45 passengers (including crew, players, family members, and friends) crashed in the snowy heart of the Andes in an area known as the Valley of Tears. Only 29 passengers survived the impact.
Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams brings Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s New York Times bestseller to the screen with his latest documentary,Stamped from the Beginning. Published in 2016, Dr.Kendi’s National Book Award winner chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history.
Set in France in 1889, the film follows the life of Dodin Bouffant, a master chef living with his personal cook and lover Eugénie. We first meet Eugenie, portrayed by perfectly-cast Juliette Binoche (The English Patient), at dawn in a lush vegetable garden as she is gathering produce to prepare for the day’s meal. With her refined beauty, elegant precision, and sharp wit as she undertakes her culinary tasks..
Carla Nowak is a dedicated sports and math teacher starting her first job at a junior high school. She’s also naive and idealistic with a firm sense of right and wrong. When a series of thefts occur at the school, and a young Turkish student is suspected, Carla decides to investigate the matter on her own. Her plan to catch the thief only gets her deeper and deeper embroiled in conflict and the target of a theft herself.
It’s 2010 and Jeff Harris, a journalist from New York, has just published a piece in The New Yorker on the fifty years of Bossa Nova. His editor suggests that he write a book about this influential musical movement that revolutionized music in Brazil and around the world during the early 1960s. While researching his book, Harris stumbles upon a pianist previously unknown to him: Francisco Tenório Jr. 
Seven-year-old Sol (remarkable newcomer Naíma Sentíes) is spending the day at her grandfather’s home as her aunts Nuri and Alejandra are busily preparing for a surprise birthday for her father, Tonatiuh, who is gravely ill. They’re determined to make it a festive celebration knowing this will be his last. Sol, feels rejected, and doesn’t understand why her father, behind the closed bedroom door and being cared for by a nurse, doesn’t want to see her.
We Are Guardians follows Indigenous forest guardian Marçal Guajajara and activist Puyr Tembé as they fight to protect their territories from deforestation, an illegal logger who has no choice but to cut the forest down, and a large landowner at the mercy of thousands of invaders and extractive industry. The Tembé have been battling for 40 years to save their land, one of the last standing forests in the state of Pará in Northern Brazil.
This unforgettable film took home the prestigious Grand Prix prize at Cannes. The chilling designation “the zone of interest” was used by the Nazi SS to describe the 40-square-kilometer area immediately surrounding the Auschwitz concentration camp The commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss (Christian Friedel), and his wife Hedwig (Sandra Huller) live with their five children next to the notorious camp. The family blissfully spends time in their beautiful garden or by the river..
Academy Award-nominated filmmaker SOFIA COPPOLA and her longtime collaborator and costume designer STACEY BATTAT will receive the second annual Variety Creative Collaborators award. The award will honor their creative collaboration on films such as The Bling Ring, The Beguiled, On the Rocks and the highly anticipated film, Priscilla, showing at this year's festival.
A beloved signature event of the festival is our CONCERT honoring a DISTINGUISHED FILM COMPOSER.This year, we're delighted to be featuring the scores of Academy Award winning composer, MICHAEL GIACCHINO. Some of his most memorable scores will be performed by sixty members of the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kim Kluge and accompanied by movie clips and a conversation with Giacchino about his creative process. 
Join ALEXANDER PAYNE, recipient of MFF's 2023 Spotlight Director Award, for an in-depth conversation about his storied career. The Holdovers, screening at this year's festival as Saturday Centerpiece film, marks Payne’s eighth feature film. It also reunites him with his Sideways actor Paul Giamatti. Payne's movies, which include The Descendants, Election, Sideways, About Schmidt, and Nebraska, have been nominated for nineteen Oscars and won two. Nebraska, starring Bruce Dern, was the opening night film at MFF’s first festival in 2013.
Join the amazing EMERALD FENNELL, recipient of this year's Agnes Varda Trailblazing Film Artist Award for a fascinating conversation and awards presentation.Fennell holds many firsts -- including the first British female director to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar. Fennell is an Academy Award®, Golden Globe®, Emmy®, DGA, PGA and WGA nominated writer, director, actress and author who has established herself as a prolific multihyphenate in film, television and theatre. She's also a published novelist. Fennell's 2nd feature, Saltburn, is screening at the festival.
Through Their Own Lens: The Power of Ukrainian Narratives in Cinema:
This special panel event will feature five leading Ukrainian directors and producers discussing the importance of developing their unique narratives, while providing insight into the breadth of Ukraine's cinematic landscape. The conversation will also feature clips of their work, while touching upon current production and distribution challenges, and why global support for Ukraine’s film industry is so critical.
Join the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, for a thoughtful and insightful conversation about the importance of “Telling America’s Stories”. She’ll be joined by leading documentary filmmakers including Dawn Porter (The Lady Bird Diaries, John Lewis: Good Trouble).  Presented by The Better Angels Society, which is dedicated to educating Americans about their history through documentary film
A signature MFF event - and always one of our. most popular. Love the Oscars? Love the Oscar race? Don’t miss our annual Coffee & Contenders conversation with Clayton Davis (Senior Awards Editor, Variety) and Jazz Tangcay (Senior Artisans Editor, Variety). They’ll be talking about their Oscar predictions – and invite you to share yours as well. How many Best Picture nominees will be shown at Middleburg this year? And who are the likely nominees in the other categories? Last year, there were 54 Oscar nominations among the films screened at the festival.
Join Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and journalist, for a conversation about his personal experience adapting a book to the big screen. He won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2006 for American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (co-authored with Martin J. Sherwin). American Prometheus is the basis for Christopher Nolan’s recent critically-acclaimed film, Oppenheimer.
Join MFF Founder and Board Chair SHEILA JOHNSON for a conversation and book signing of her recently released memoir, WALK THROUGH FIRE: A MEMOIR OF LOVE, LOSS AND TRIUMPH.

WALK THROUGH FIRE is a uniquely American success story. And it is the deeply personal portrait of one woman who, despite heartache and obstacles, finally found herself and her place in the world.

Hosted by Wells Fargo.
Our terrific DC film critics return to MFF for another lively Talk Back to the Critics. Join TIM GORDON (Keeping it Reel with FilmGordon), TRAVIS HOPSON (News Channel 8 & WETA Around Town), NELL MINOW (rogerebert.com), ROXANA HADADI (New York Magazine, Vulture) and JEN CHANEY (WTOP-FM, New York Magazine) for a spirited conversation about your favorite – and (to put it politely) your least favorite films. You know that movie with the 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes that you couldn’t stand?