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Celebrate Hampton Roads filmmakers at this event in Newport News

Celebrating Virginia Filmmakers (HNNDaily Photo/ Courtesy of the City of Newport News)
Celebrating Virginia Filmmakers (HNNDaily Photo/ Courtesy of the City of Newport News)

NEWPORT NEWS — For the second year in a row, the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center will host Celebrating Virginia Filmmakers, a free networking event that honors Hampton Roads filmmakers.

It will be on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.

The event was created to provide local artists involved in the film industry a place to network and collaborate on new or ongoing projects, said Corrin Morgan, marketing director for Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center.

The cultural center, located in downtown Newport News, is multi-purpose space funded by the city that hosts different programs and events that highlight the city’s history, according to the center’s website.

One of classes offered at the center is called ‘Point, Aim and Shoot‘, a free photography class that teaches kids ages 6 to 18, technical skills, including but not limited to, operating a camera, editing videos using Final Cut Pro software, and working on a documentary project. There is also an adult version of this course.

The kids are encouraged to attend the networking event to show them it is possible to pursue a career in film and that showcasing their work at the center is the next step, Morgan said.

The celebration is broken into three parts: a panel of keynote speakers, a film screening and a networking for independent filmmakers, directors, actors, make-up artists, musicians, production team members and other people involved in film.

The event screening features trailers created by local filmmakers.

Last year one of the screened trailers was in a “music video kind of format” and a horror picture, said Michelle Gilliam, director of the Ella Fitzgerald Theater at the center.

“We don’t censor as much,” she said in regards to film ratings, and notes that ‘R’ rated films have been featured with a disclaimer before showing the trailer. Next year, she hopes to feature the documentary project from the kids film class as part of the film screening.

Gilliam said submissions for networking are open to everyone and that they feature material from all categories.

“Filmmakers that don’t have projects are encouraged to come,” she said.

The Celebrating Virginia Filmmakers will take place at the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center, 2410 Wickham Ave. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP is recommended but not required.

Deadline to submit trailers for the event is Sept 6. Submissions should be sent to

For information about the event, visit the Downing-Gross Cultural Center website or call the center 757-247-8950.

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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