The William & Mary Global Film Festival is hosting a series of events this fall to introduce “Film & Community” as the official programming theme for its ninth annual festival, scheduled for Feb. 18-21, 2016.
The official launch event takes place Friday night at the Kimball Theatre and will feature a community sing-along screening of the 1961 classic West Side Story. The film begins at 5 p.m. and is followed at 8 p.m. by a reception in the lobby. One hour later, Tokyo Tribe, Japanese Yakuza rap musical directed by cult auteur Sion Sono, will receive its Williamsburg premiere.
Tickets are priced at $4 for students and $5 for non-students to see one film. To attend both, student admission is $6, and non-students will pay $8.
“With our programming theme of ‘Film & Community,’ we want to use film’s unique creative power as both a local and a global medium that can bring our Williamsburg community together,” said Timothy Barnard, the festival’s director and film and media studies senior lecturer at W&M. “With the combination of screenings, events and production projects this fall, we want to launch next year’s programming focus with a combination of old and new, local and global and eclectic fun for all Williamsburg ‘tribes,’ ‘gangs,’ groups and moviegoers.”
The W&M Show Choir will be there to inspire the audience to sing along to West Side Story, Robert Wise’s classic film adaptation of the classic Broadway musical.
Screening West Side Story also represents a return to the GFF’s community film roots. The first-ever GFF fall theme launch in 2011 paired the film with Southeast Side Story: A Community Musical, a short homage that GFF students made featuring two “gangs” of local extras who represented “Townies” and “Twamps” (Typical W&M People) coming together for a staged musical rumble at the Kimball Theatre.
That local short will be re-screened before the evening’s second feature, Tokyo Tribe, which will take the audience to Japan’s Yakuza underworld in a film that Barnard described as “a unique and wild manga-inspired/hip-hop/samurai/martial-arts/kitsch-pomo-pinki-style reimagining of the gang fight film musical with a surprisingly hopeful message about community.”