Film Talkback Series

Watching compelling films and engaging afterwards in lively discussions with subject matter experts offers some of the best of Rappahannock. Film-talkbacks included first-run movies as well as documentaries that shine light on a variety of significant topics. 

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Previous Film—Talkbacks

The Last Repair Shop
Winner of the 2024 Oscar for the Best Documentary Short, this heartwarming film tells the story of the four people who keep some 80,000 musical instruments in good repair for the Los Angeles Unified School District – one of the last districts in the country to provide free and freely repaired musical instruments to its public schoolchildren.  The documentary makes it clear that for these people, fixing broken instruments is a calling – they know from personal experience how much a musical instrument can change a child’s life. And the young musicians who talk about their instruments share heartwarming testimony to the importance of music education in our schools.

RAAC presented a film and talk featuring Freeman Allan and Sharon Smith. The film is a 20-minute retrospective about a small group of the many back-to-the-landers who settled in Rappahannock County in the 1970’s. Freeman Allan and Sharon Smith were among those settlers. Titled from the well-known Grateful Dead song and centered around a memorial Thanksgiving dinner in 1973, the film is a kind of “home movie” composed of archival photographs collected from this community and interviews that the filmmaker, Sharon Smith, conducted at a reunion held in 2003. Some of those featured in the film have passed on, some are still residents of the area while others have “rippled” out into other locations, taking the ethos of this seminal time period with them. Sharon now lives in NYC and after a career as a photographer and award-winning filmmaker, now teaches Tai Chi and Quigong. Freeman, now an author living in Charlottesville, was instrumental in leading Rappahannock County arts initiatives in the ’70’s and early ’80’s, including bringing movies to 291 Gay Street, which was then called Gay Street Theatre.

When Wire Was King
This documentary puts the telecommunications revolution into historical context. When Wire Was King explores three interconnected themes – innovation, competition, and regulation – and the shifting balance among the three that sparked the telecommunications revolution, beginning in the early 1970s. The liberalization of regulations and opening of the telecommunications market covering satellite, cable, wireless, and telephony led to an explosion of innovation that brought us the Internet and wireless. Afterwards we heard from three of the people involved in creating this award winning documentary. For more information on this film go to

Forging Art: Nol Putnam, Artist & Blacksmith
RAAC Theatre welcomed revered blacksmith and artist Nol Putnam, and filmmakers Tracy and Mathieu Mazza, producers of Forging Art: Nol Putnam Artist Blacksmith. A screening of the film,, which ran on Maryland Public Television, was followed by an extended discussion with Putnam, who reflected on creating in iron for nearly a half century. The filmmakers showed excerpts from a film in progress that focuses on works Putnam produced on commission for the Washington National Cathedral.

The Biggest Little Farm 
The documentary follows a couple who buy 200 acres of barren land north of LA and establish a modern-day Eden of organic food, ecological restoration, and environmental diversity. But this didn’t happen without overcoming a series of unwelcome realities from pests and predators, to wildfires and wind, to biblical rainstorms. Post-movie discussion was led by local farmers who examined the implications for Rappahannock county.

The Post
A showing of The Post, the inside story of the Washington Post’s first female publisher and their decision to publish the Pentagon Papers. Co-sponsored by Foothills Forum and RAAC, and followed by a discussion featuring two local luminaries: Jay Ward Brown, an eminent First Amendment lawyer, and Andy Alexander, former ombudsman for The Washington Post.

Farm Tour Edition
A special Farm Tour Edition of RAAC Talk-Back featured a series of farming-related films over two nights. After the showing, we had guest speakers from our partnering organizations: Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the American Conservation Film Festival.

The story of the Boston Globe investigation into allegations of abuse in the Catholic church in Boston. Co-hosted by Foothills Forum & RAAC, with discussion following film with former Washington Post ombudsman Andy Alexander, and Martin Baron, the former editor at The Boston Globe responsible for initiating the investigation, now Executive Editor of The Washington Post.


Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community
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Washington, VA 22747

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