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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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"Annihilation, First Man and Roma are especially pretty" - Anonny

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Entries in film festivals (397)


Festival Wrap - All The Reviews

We screened them at TIFF or NYFF or Middleburg but you also may have heard about them from Cannes or Venice media coverage. Now that the festivals are wrapped (only AFI remains and we're unable to make it this year *cries*) the rest of the year is all of these treasures and some of the duds hitting movie theaters (hopefully) near you. THEN, THE OSCARS. You know how it goes. It's our very very very favorite time of year. That sound you hear is the squealing of movie fans everywhere.

Nicole making the festival rounds in the fallHere's everything we reviewed from TIFF and NYFF or Middleburg in case you missed any of them...


It's true we didn't review everything we saw at Festivals but the biggies we didn't get to --  Shoplifters, El Angel, Capernaum, and Boy Erased -- will be in theaters very soon so reviews are forthcoming.


Believe the hype: "Green Book" is a true crowd pleaser

by Nathaniel R

The final day and a half of the very short but very fun Middleburg Film Festival went by with a whirl. We've since received word on the winners. Though Middleburg is a non-juried festival, the audience votes for a people's choice style prize. The documentary winner was Biggest Little Farm, a film about the director and his wife trying to develop a sustainable farm on 200 acres in California. Farm has been making the festival rounds for the past two months and is aiming for an April 2019 bow in movie theaters.

The narrative feature winner, echoing the crowd-response at TIFF a month earlier, went to Peter Farrelly's Green Book. Green Book was the closing film of the festival and I was able to catch its first screening on Sunday before racing to the airport to return home. The crowd went wild for it and it's worth noting that Middleburg has a more diverse audience than a lot of festivals (that's probably due to the vast social connections of the founder Sheila C Johnson, co-founder of BET who is one of the nation's richest African-American women and very involved in the arts). Sadly I wasn't able to attend the Q&A though I did manage to snap this photo before racing to the airport as the star Viggo Mortensen, the composer Kris Bowers, and director Peter Farrelly entered to a wild standing ovation to discuss the movie... 

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Middleburg: "Ruben Brandt" Collects and "Widows" Thrills

Day two of the Middleburg Film Festival

Friday kicked off with a special "sneak" of Stan & Ollie (which, more on tomorrow) and then two more movies which went like so...

Ruben Brandt, Collector
From the opening shot of this animated film from Hungary you know you're in for an idiosyncratic lark. We're humorously crosscutting between an ultra fast moving train and the molasses crawl of a snail on the tracks. Then we're inside the train with Ruben Brandt, a famous psychotherapist who is promptly attacked by a little girl with a very sharp bite who is dressed suspiciously like Diego Velázquez's  "Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress". I say 'dressed like' because it's hard to make the connection at first...

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Middleburg Opening Nite: Yalitza Aparicio and "Roma"

by Nathaniel R

with Yalitza Aparicio on opening nightThe Film Experience's beloved annual trip to the Middleburg Film Festival in Virginia got off to a late start. Flight delays and airport mix-ups and the like but a happy result: the Lyft driver was very chatty and wanted movie recommendations. I was happy to oblige since it wasn't just small talk but actual cinephilia! She wanted to know if I'd ever seen Woman in the Dunes and Hereditary. C'mon Double Feature! 

By the time I arrived at the opening night film, Alfonso Cuarón's Roma, it was already halfway over. As you know we've already seen and loved, but I watched from the back of the house as it was a sold-out house. Who knows how many chances any of us will have to see those teeming incredible images on a gargantuan screen...

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Middleburg Film Festival Announces Its (Oscar-Seeking) Lineup

by Nathaniel R

The Middleburg Film Festival is one of The Film Experience's favorite stops on the road to Oscar. It's only one weekend long (like Telluride) and takes place in scenic Virginia, just one hour from DC, at the Salamander Resort and Spa. The festival began in 2013 and has been upping the ante each year (last year's festival prominently featured future Oscar nominees and winners like Greta Gerwig, Mudbound, James Ivory, and A Fantastic Woman.) Inbetween movies you can go horseback riding, visit the charming town and its wineries, or go for walks on the grounds.

One of my favorite events, unique to this festival, is a concert featuring a famous film composer -- the Nicholas Britell concert last year was just phenomenal. This year, they're throwing a bit of a curveball since the event will be in honor of a songwriter instead. Nine-time Oscar nominee Diane Warren will be performing some of her work.

Diane Warren

The lineup this year is as follows and tickets are now on sale...
Opening NightROMA 
Friday Spotlight: BOY ERASED
Closing Film: GREEN BOOK
Tributes/Honorees: Actress Yalitza Aparicio, Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, Songwriter Diane Warren, and Director Nadine Labaki (Capernaum).
The Rest of the Films AT ETERNITY'S GATE • BEN IS BACK • BIGGEST LITTLE FARM (doc) • BORDER (Sweden's Oscar submission) • CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? • CAPERNAUM (Lebanon's Oscar submission) • COLD WAR (Poland's submission • DIVIDE AND CONQUER: ROGER AILES (doc) • EVERYBODY KNOWS • THE FAVOURITE • HAPPY AS LAZZARO • LITTLE WOODS • MARIA BY CALLAS (doc) • NEVER LOOK AWAY (Germany's submission) • A PRIVATE WAR • RUBEN BRANDT, COLLECTOR (Animated) • SHOPLIFTERS (Japan's submission) • SUNSET (Hungary's submission) • THEY’LL LOVE ME WHEN I’M DEAD (doc) • WHAT THEY HAD • WIDOWS • WILDLIFE • WOMAN AT WAR (Iceland's submission)