The 2nd Annual Middleburg Film Festival (Official Site) was truly a gem of a festival nestled in wine country Virginia. Over twenty films were screened over four days, but the creators of this festival did not stop there. This festival included a Masquerade Ball in honor of Oscar winning costume designer Colleen Atwood (Edward Scissorhands, Snow White and the Huntsman, Into the Woods) as well as a Symphony Orchestra tribute to the immensely talented composer Marco Beltrami (Hurt Locker, Scream - who wouldn't recognize the iconic, sharp, sinister sound of doomed Woodsboro?). In essence, this festival truly celebrates every aspect of the movie-making and movie-going experience.
It also doesn't hurt that the small, country town also boasts fine wine & dining to compliment the screening experience. Leaving with torn movie tickets and a bottle of local wine made Middleburg Film Festival a worthy trip.
Pros: small, thoughtful selection of independent films; cozy atmosphere among celebrities; the press blend in as genuine fans (mostly because they are genuine fans); everything feels accessible especially geographically (all locations except one were within walking distance or five minute drive); the souvenirs and informational materials were beautiful keepsakes; the voting system was simple; and the drive to Middleburg/Upperville is through some lovely country
Cons: the town shuts down too early for festival goers to take full advantage; difficult to spot some of the venues; not super festive for a festival - but then, quiet and smooth may be what Middleburg is all about
But you know what?! This is just the second year. The festival is still young. I am sure that Year 3 will be all banners and brighter lights in the town of Middleburg at least for a few days. The Middleburg Film Festival is definitely for those who enjoy seeing little-known films in a cozy atmosphere. Meanwhile, thank you Middleburg for hosting us movie lovers. Seeya next year!