Event Part of Special Festival Partnership with Community Idea Stations, UVA Center for Politics, and Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

The Virginia Film Festival, in partnership with the Community Idea Stations, UVA Center for Politics, and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, announced today that Martin Luther King III, son of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, will be a special guest speaker at the upcoming 2018 Virginia Film Festival. Mr. King will offer a community address following the national premiere of Charlottesville, produced and presented by the UVA Center for Politics and Community Idea Stations with major funding provided by the Virginia Foundation for Public Media. The address will be followed by a conversation moderated by UVA Center for Politics director Larry Sabato.

The Virginia Film Festival is a program of the University of Virginia and the Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts. The 2018 Festival will take place from November 1-4 in Charlottesville and will include more than 150 films and over 100 industry guests from around the world.

Charlottesville is a gripping two-hour documentary that traces the tragedies of August 11 and 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, all while asking “How could this happen in modern America?” Firsthand accounts by victims and witnesses who woke to find riots in their backyards and murder in their streets present a compelling account of Charlottesville in the wake of shocking racial strife, religious bigotry, government blunders, and political equivocation.

“Martin Luther King III has dedicated his life to carrying on the cause to which his father dedicated, and ultimately gave his life,” said Jody Kielbasa, director of the Virginia Film Festival and vice provost for the arts at the University of Virginia. “We are proud to be working with our friends and partners at the UVA Center for Politics to share this powerful documentary and to be part of a conversation about how we can and must move forward together in our ongoing effort to create the kind of world Martin Luther King Jr. envisioned for us all.”

“Martin Luther King III has seized the torch lit by his parents, continuing their quest for equality and justice for all people,” said Professor Larry J. Sabato, director of the UVA Center for Politics. “He has motivated audiences around the world with his insightful messages of hope for nearly twenty years.”

King’s dedication to creating and implementing strategic nonviolent action to rid the world of social, political, and economic injustice has propelled him to the forefront as one of the nation’s most ardent advocates for the poor, the oppressed, and the disillusioned.

His father, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., spoke at the University’s Old Cabell Hall on the evening of March 25, 1963, delivering what was a controversial message for the time: “If Democracy is to live, segregation must die,” he told an audience of 800 University students, faculty, and the general public. “The law cannot change the heart, but it can restrain hardness.”

Martin Luther King III’s commitment to world-wide humanitarian concerns was exemplified in the late 1970’s when he was asked to represent President Jimmy Carter in two official delegations to promote peace in foreign countries. Later, in 1984, as a member of the Board of Directors of The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, King ventured to five poverty and drought-stricken African nations on a fact-finding tour that became the inspiration for the Africa Initiative, a program developed to end starvation in Africa. In the 1980’s, he turned his attention and his action to the injustices of South Africa and was arrested at the South African embassy in Washington, D.C. as part of a civil disobedience protest against apartheid, and for the release of freedom fighter Nelson Mandela.

Committed to the personal, educational, and skill development of youth, he initiated the “King Summer Intern Program” to provide employment opportunities for high school students; “Hoops for Health,” a charity basketball game intended to increase public awareness of newborn babies who suffer the effects of substance abuse; and “A Call to Manhood,” an annual event designed to unite young African-American males with positive adult role models. In addition to addressing many youth groups and volunteering for several youth and young adult-oriented projects, one of King’s, writing projects is directed to young people. Since leaving public office, King has initiated “America United for Affirmative Action,” a national coalition of organizations to prevent the dismantling of affirmative action initiatives across the nation.

From 1997 to 2004, King served as the fourth President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the organization that his father co-founded in 1957. A long-standing member of the Board of Directors, King has devoted much of his adulthood to the continuance of his father’s mission of nonviolent conflict resolution, including convening police brutality and racial profiling hearings in several states that have led to anti-racial profiling resolutions. His “Stop the Killing-End the Violence” campaign was the anchor for the successful Gun Buy-Back program that collected over 10,000 weapons across the United States.

King has helped spread his father’s message to young people throughout the globe, including through his nonprofit Realizing the Dream, Inc., how a part of The King Center. He has led nonviolence conferences and youth development workshops here in the United States and in Bosnia Herzegovina, India, Israel and Palestine, Kenya, and Sri Lanka.

The 2018 Virginia Film Festival Program will be announced on Tuesday, October 2, the full schedule of films and guests will be available to browse online on Thursday, October 4, and tickets will go on sale to the public on Monday, October 8.

The 2018 Virginia Film Festival is presented by The Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation (Richard M. Adler and Joseph Erdman, Trustees).

For more information, visit virginiafilmfestival.org.