Southern Film Festival to screen films exploring theme of ‘Screening Southern Justice’

Featured photo
Gavin Grimm, a transgender teen from Gloucester, Virginia featured in the 2017 documentary "Gender Revolution" is one of several special guests attending this year's Southern Film Festival.

Virginia Commonwealth University’s eighth annual Southern Film Festival will be held Sept. 6-9 and will feature five films centered on the theme of “Screening Southern Justice.”

“We wanted to put together a slate of films that brings together the various elements of the legal system, from police officers to lawyers and judges, as well as the personal stories of the people they represent,” said festival organizer Emilie Raymond, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of History in the College of Humanities and Sciences. “All of the films involve court cases and the legal system, with the exception of ‘An Outrage,’ which highlights the failure of the justice system through the extralegal vigilantism of lynching. The films are representative of issues that affect many of us in our daily lives.”

All screenings are free unless noted otherwise. Each screening will feature a number of special guests who will participate in post-film discussions and enlighten audiences on the legal, social and production aspects of the films.

“Some people might say that ‘Southern justice’ is an oxymoron, but it is often Southerners who challenge, legal or otherwise, the status quo in a way that has national implications,” Raymond said. “A case in point is Gavin Grimm, a transgender teen from Gloucester, Virginia, whose case is currently in the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Another interesting note, ‘My Cousin Vinny’ is a favorite of judges and lawyers for its comedic and realistic use of cross-examination techniques and expert witness testimony. And one of its best scenes features VCU alumnus, the actor Raynor Scheine, who will be on hand to discuss the making of the film.”

The festival, founded in 2010, is sponsored by VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences, the Department of English, the Department of History, the Division of Student Affairs, the Humanities Research Center, VCU Libraries, the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, as well as the Virginia Historical Society and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.


Wednesday, Sept. 6

Gender Revolution” (2017)
6 p.m. reception; event begins at 6:30 p.m., James Branch Cabell Library Lecture Hall, 901 Park Ave.
Featuring special guests Gavin Grimm and Bill Farrar of Virginia ACLU.

Gender and sexuality can be fluid, and today transgender issues are altering the nature of day-to-day interactions. Newscasting legend Katie Couric takes us on a journey to discover the dynamics of gender in our world, and promotes understanding the personal and the political issues behind the headlines. “Gender Revolution” includes interviews with activists, doctors, families and individuals, and highlights Virginia native Gavin Grimm, a transgender student whose case is currently in the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.


Thursday, Sept. 7

"Do Not Resist" will screen Thursday, Sept. 7 at  the Virginia Historical Society.
"Do Not Resist" will screen Thursday, Sept. 7 at the Virginia Historical Society.

Do Not Resist” (2016)
6:30 p.m., Virginia Historical Society, 428 N. Boulevard
In cooperation with the VHS “Created Equal” series, with special guests Phillip Thompson, president of the Loudoun County Chapter of the NAACP, and a representative from the Richmond Police Department.

The 2016 Tribeca Film Festival winner for Best Documentary, “Do Not Resist” explores the rapid militarization of the police in the United States. Starting on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, as the community grapples with the death of Michael Brown, the documentary offers a stunning look at the current state of policing in America and a glimpse into the future. It puts viewers in the center of the action — from a ride-along with a South Carolina SWAT team to a Congressional hearing on the proliferation of military equipment in small-town police departments.



Friday, Sept. 8

My Cousin Vinny” (1992)
6:30 p.m., Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 200 N. Boulevard
$8 ($5 for VMFA members), free for VCU students, faculty and staff with valid VCU ID.
Featuring special guests: actor and VCU alumnus Raynor Scheine and Richmond criminal trial attorney David Baugh; moderated by Trent Nicholas.

In this clever comedy, two New York college kids are accused of a crime in the Deep South. Their only hope is their cousin — a sarcastic Brooklyn lawyer (Joe Pesci) who has no clue of genteel Southern manners and rules. Marisa Tomei won an Oscar for her role. Scheine, who stars in a hilarious scene, will speak in-person with attorney David Baugh, who will provide legal commentary.


Saturday, Sept. 9

"Loving" will screen Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Virginia Historical Society.
"Loving" will screen Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Virginia Historical Society.

Loving” (2016)
3 p.m., Virginia Historical Society, 428 N. Boulevard
Featuring special guests: historian Peter Wallenstein, Ph.D., professor of history at Virginia Tech; Amelia Zontini, lead set costumer for the film; and others to be announced.

From acclaimed writer and director Jeff Nichols, “Loving” celebrates the real-life courage and commitment of an interracial couple, Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), who married and then spent the next nine years fighting for the right to live as a family in their hometown. Their civil rights case, Loving v. Virginia, went all the way to the Supreme Court, which in 1967 reaffirmed the very foundation of the right to marry — and their love story has become an inspiration to couples ever since.



"An Outrage" will screen Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Virginia Historical Society.
"An Outrage" will screen Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Virginia Historical Society.

An Outrage” (2016)
6 p.m., Virginia Historical Society, 428 N. Boulevard
With special guests: filmmakers Hannah Ayers and Lance Warren, and Kimberly Wilson, who appears in the film; moderated by John Kneebone, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of the Department of History in the College of Humanities and Sciences.

“An Outrage” is a documentary film about lynching in the American South. Filmed on location at lynching sites in six states and bolstered by the memories and perspectives of descendants, community activists and scholars, this unusual historical documentary seeks to educate even as it serves as a hub for action to remember and reflect upon a long-hidden past.



About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 217 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Thirty-eight of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. The VCU Health brand represents the health sciences schools of VCU, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, MCV Physicians and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visit and