Every fall, The Virginia Film Festival celebrates cinema art in Charlottesville. Since the 1980s the festival has been hosted by the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia. The program includes over 70 films and over 80 guests, including celebrity actors and filmmakers. Past participants of the festival included Sandra Bullock, Anthony Hopkins, Paul Schrader, Stan Winston, Sigourney Weaver, Vanessa Redgrave, Nicolas Cage, Gena Rowlands, William Styron, Jimmy Stewart, Ross McElwee, Matthew Broderick, and Cherry Jones, Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, and Horton Foote.
The Virginia Film Festival was first held in 1988 to gather local filmmakers, film production and increase tourism in the state. It covers a broad range of genres: documentaries, Hollywood premiers, and experimental videos. The festival featured a tribute to the TV-series In the Heat of the Night and Sidney Poitier, Distinguished Filmmaker presentations, creative workshops on classical movies, like Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Vertigo (1958). Premieres included Mother & Child (featuring director Rodrigo Garcia) and True Blood (featuring creator Alan Ball).