Thanks to Obscured PicturesR.J. Millard for inviting Hollywood Elsewhere to attend the 2015 Middleburg Film Festival (10.22 thru 10.25). I’m going for three reasons. One, I haven’t visited rural Virginia in eons. Two, Washington Post critic Ann Hornaday tells me the festival is a “really nice hang.” And three, the films (including Spotlight, Meg Ryan‘s Ithaca, Son of Saul, Carol, Truth, 45 Years, Anomalisa) have been well chosen. They’re the consensus movies that anyone of taste and discretion who hasn’t attended the big fall festivals (Venice, Telluride, Toronto) would want to see. Yes, I’ve seen most of them but still.

A 10.27.13 Washington Post piece by Jen Chaney called Middleburg “a festival with the vibe of a hyper-miniature, horse country Park City, Utah…a really itty-bitty Cannes brightened by fall foliage instead of the glistening French Riviera.”

Why Middleburg? Because BET co-founder and billionaire Sheila Crump Johnson wants attention for the Salamander Resort, which she owns and which is located just outside of town. Hosting a bunch of film people (including journalist freeloaders like myself) is a good way of attracting business by selling people on the idea of Middleburg being a moneyed, honeyed, cultured, quasi-hip destination for people who can, you know, afford it.

Do I “ride”? As in “kippers and marmalade and riding to hounds”? Uhm, well…no. But I like the smell of sweaty horses and the sound of clop-clop-clop and the radiant colors of fall, and I love the idea of huge open fields and forests and stone walls and Virginia countryside.

Festival guests will include directors Lee Daniels, Catherine Hardwicke, Meg Ryan, Abigail Disney and Marc Abraham, as well as Tab Hunter and Bo Derek. Film composer Carter Burwell and cinematographer Dante Spinotti will be honored with awards for Distinguished Composer and Distinguished Cinematographer, respectively.