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The upcoming Virginia Film Festival

Coming "Attractions"

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Time's running out to get the choice seats for the upcoming Virginia Film Festival. Set in and around Charlottesville this weekend, the festival takes a special look at animal instincts and attractions. As always, the festival mixes the intellectual with the quirky, offering an eclectic mix of mainstream and independent filmmakers, writers, actors and musicians along with dozens of special screenings.

Actually, you're about six weeks too late if you had any thought of getting in to hear Sir Anthony Hopkins introduce, discuss and screen "Titus" or "Silence of the Lambs" on Oct. 28. Advance tickets sold out quickly, although fest organizers do have some standby admissions available for purchase the day of the event. Camping out may be the only way to snag one of these standby tickets for the back-to-back 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. screenings.

But Hopkins isn't the only fun attraction at this year's fest. Topping my list of hot screenings: The opening-night regional premiere of "Shadow of the Vampire" (Oct. 26), starring John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe. The movie dramatizes the making of the original vampire classic, "Nosferatu."

Adding to the fun, the silent "Nosferatu" will also be screened, accompanied by a live score provided by the Silent Orchestra. Another must-see: "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" in 3D! (Oct. 27) Or Stan Winston introducing the 1925 classic "The Lost World" (Oct. 28). William Wegman will also be on hand to screen his early black-and-white videos of Man Ray, his now-famous Weimaraner (Oct. 28). And how could you possibly pass up the chance to catch Aussie documentarian Mark Lewis' unblinking look at that Down-Under scourge, "Cane Toads." Part Monty Python skit and part National Geographic study, "Cane Toads" is a classic. Screening along with it, Lewis' latest work, "The Natural History of the Chicken," which has the dubious distinction of having been filmed in Virginia.

To purchase tickets or obtain a complete schedule of screenings and discussions, call 1-800-UVA-FEST. Or log onto the fest's official Website at www.vafilm.com.



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