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Announcing the First Annual Fredericksburg Film Festival

- April 29, 2024

There’s no reason now to travel to Cannes or Sundance—Fredericksburg is getting a film festival of its own.

The first annual Fredericksburg Film Festival will take place throughout downtown starting Thursday and lasting through Sunday.

Thirty-three original, independent short and feature-length narrative and documentary films will be screened during the festival, and there will also be panel discussions, after-parties, and chances to meet the filmmakers.

Organizing the event has been a labor of love for Ryan Cudahy.

“I felt like Fredericksburg could be a good hub for film and that this could be a good way to promote the city and bring strong, independent, creative storytelling here,” he said.

Cudahy works in the city’s department of economic development and tourism and also was instrumental in creating the city’s film incentives program with the Economic Development Authority.

He said Fredericksburg presents many opportunities to potential filmmakers and producers that he hopes to share with visiting creatives this weekend.

Cudahy worked with Dalton Okolo and his production company 1108 Media to present the Fredericksburg Film Festival. The team announced submissions to the festival in September and received some 200 entries, Cudahy said.

In narrowing down the submissions to the 33 that will be screened, Cudahy said he looked for the most compelling characters.

“If you can find the characters compelling, you open the door to really exciting films,” he said.

Among the films that will be screened this weekend are the thriller “The Masterpiece,” which won the Short Film Grand Jury prize at Sundance this year; “Kim’s Video,” a documentary about a legendary New York video rental store that also screened at Sundance this year; “Banana Triangle Six,” which documents a day in the life of an older gentleman living in a retirement community and was directed by 72-year-old first-time filmmaker Marc Crandall; and “The Lives Between the Lines,” a documentary about the creation of the memorial to enslaved laborers at the University of Virginia.

Crandall will be attending the festival from Arkansas, and other filmmakers are coming from California, New York, and up-and-down the east coast, Cudahy said.

There will be several panel discussions, including one with Jessica Harris, a co-producer of “The Lives Between the Lines” and a descendant of the enslaved people who built the university.

All of the events will take place in downtown Fredericksburg. Films will be screened at 718 Venue, Red Dragon Brewery, and REIGN the Venue, and non-screening events will be held at the Fredericksburg Area Museum, Castiglia’s, Curitiba, and Wild Hare Cider.

Patrons can purchase tickets to individual events ($15 per screening and $10 for non-film events) or a $100 all-access pass to get into all the events.

Cudahy attended film school at James Madison University, but said he feels he’s “found his avenue” through organizing the festival. He’s excited to nurture creativity here in Fredericksburg, build a community through the love of movies and good storytelling, and share what the city has to offer to a wider audience.

“[This film festival] is where I feel at home,” he said.

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