Hollywood star joins Festival line-up with special screening of The Public


On Friday, March 22 at 7:00 PM, the Virginia Festival of the Book and Virginia Film Festival will present a special screening of The Public with actor, writer, director, and producer Emilio Estevez. Featuring a star-studded cast, the film explores homelessness and mental illness in America, through the dramatic tale of a public library and its staff and patrons.

Following the screening, Estevez will be joined for a discussion with Jefferson-Madison Regional Library director, David Plunkett, moderated by The Washington Post chief film critic Ann Hornaday.

After the discussion, Hornaday will participate in a book signing in the Paramount Theater lobby and her book, Talking Pictures: How to Watch Movies, will be available for purchase.

“We are very excited about partnering with the Virginia Festival of the Book to bring Emilio Estevez and this film to Charlottesville,” said Jody Kielbasa, director of the Virginia Film Festival and vice provost for the arts at The University of Virginia. “This is a great opportunity for both of our organizations to come together around a film with an important message that resonates here in our own community, as well as in communities across the country.”

“It’s always a pleasure for us to partner with the Virginia Film Festival, and we’re also celebrating our 25th year of partnering with the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library. The public library plays a vital role in the heart of a community, and we look forward to discussions raised by The Public,” adds Jane Kulow, director of the Virginia Festival of the Book.

Tickets for this special screening are $15 general admission ($12 for students and seniors), and are now available. Tickets can be purchased online, by phone at 434-979-1333, or in person at The Paramount Theater Box Office on the Downtown Mall at 215 East Main Street, Charlottesville.


About the Film

This uplifting story explores issues of homelessness and mental illness in America and sets the drama inside one of the last bastions of democracy-in-action: the public library.

As an unusually bitter Arctic blast makes its way into downtown Cincinnati, a group of homeless library patrons finds itself at odds with library officials over how to handle the extreme weather event. Led by Jackson (Michael K. Williams), the patrons decide to turn the building into a shelter for the night by staging a sit in. Librarians Stuart (Emilio Estevez) and Myra (Jena Malone) are faced with no choice but to step into the action. Some library staff feel an emotional connection and obligation to take care of their regular homeless patrons.

What begins as an act of civil disobedience quickly becomes a standoff with police while the media look to sensationalize the truth. Emilio Estevez wrote, directed, produced, and stars in The Public alongside an all-star cast featuring Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, Christian Slater, Jeffrey Wright, Taylor Schilling, Michael K. Williams, and Gabrielle Union.

The screening of The Public is generously supported by Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, The Paramount Theater, and UVA Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts.