Small children were working intently on homemade wreaths with tree limbs, glitter, ribbon, and glue. Entertainment industry figures mingled, flirted, and networked nearby, sipping cocktails and munching on catered treats on the deck of a gorgeous Bel-Air home. The event centered around a silent auction for the Children’s Action Network, an organization that provides scholarships, resources, and raises awareness for foster care adoptions in the United States. The organization is also responsible for presenting CBS’s annual Home for the Holidays special, an hour-long concert interwoven with stories of foster care adoption.
Foster care advocate and Sideways actress Virginia Madsen was also there to lend her support to the organization, and spoke openly about how she considered adopting a child through the foster care system. Though she ended up deciding not to go that route in the end, Madsen’s certification as a foster care parent made her a strong advocate for the “fost-adopt” process. She described attending an adoption ceremony for 130 children in Los Angeles with her friend Nia Vardalos (who underwent the fost-adopt process last year): “It was so heart-wrenching. It was so moving. I couldn’t stop crying the whole day… As cynical as people can get about this world and where we’re going, when you see people really putting themselves out there, to get so deeply involved in a child that they would adopt them and bring them into their family–I don’t know how to describe it. It was extraordinary.”
Virginia Madsen had plenty to celebrate this Thanksgiving. Last month, she was an official honoree of Hollywood’s LA Femme International Film Festival, an annual celebration of films written, directed or produced by women, for her achievements during 27 years in TV and film, and also for her recently formed production company’s maiden offering: I Know a Woman Like That, an acclaimed documentary about the lives of women 64 and older whose youthful vigor remains defiantly undiminished.
In March, she will be seen starring opposite Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried in Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke’s live-action adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood. Later next year she’ll be playing Aidan Quinn’s goddess-worshipping wife in the romantic drama The Art of Love. Yet on this evening, the Chicago-born Madsen, 49, has not come to the city’s Sundance Kabuki Cinemas simply to discuss the future, but to revisit her Oscar-nominated turn in Alexander Payne’s 2004 comedy Sideways.
In person, Madsen is friendly, forthright and refreshingly candid about a career that’s had its share of highs – including award-winning performances in Candyman (1992) and the heist drama Artworks (2003) – and lows. Tonight, as part of a Chase Sapphire rewards program that entitles cardholders to participate in unique meet-and-greets with stars of stage, screen and sport, she seems eager to talk about the movie that landed her back in the spotlight, and which has made her a magnet for autograph seekers.
On Sideways, and its effect on her personal life and career:
“It’s a wonderful film, but the fact that the movie was successful, too – what are the odds? These days, it seems like one in a million. Was it the most memorable experience of my career? It was one of them, but it certainly stands out the most in terms of how it changed my life. It brought me opportunities, and I was at a place in my life where I knew what to do with them. I made the right choices. And as an actor, to be given opportunities is so rare. Continue reading Virginia at the Sundance Kabuki Revisiting “Sideways”
LA Femme Film Festival’s Founder Leslie LaPage announced today that the 6th Annual LA Femme Film Festival 2010, October 14-17, 2010 will be honoring Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got to do with it, Green Lantern), Virginia Madsen (Sideways, Scoundrels), Angela Kinsey (The Office), Loretta Devine and Maggie Wheeler (Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond) at the festival’s Awards Ceremony on October 17, 2010.
LA Femme’s full program of films screening is available on line. Some selected films screening at the festival include: “Truth About Kerry”, Stana Katic (Castle); “ I Know a Woman Like That” Rita Moreno (Westside Story), Virginia Madsen (Sideways), Eartha Kitt (Batman), Lauren Hutton (American Gigolo); “Mountains that Take Wing” Angela Davis (Political Activist) & Yuri Kochiyama (Japanese American Human Rights Activist); “ Assisting Venus”, Michael Steger (90210), Jordan Bridges (Rizzoli & Isles), Julian Sands (24), Kirsten Gronfield (10 Items or Less); “Nothing Special” , Karen Black (Five Easy Pieces); “B-Girl” Jonathan Wesley (Roll Bounce), Jules “Lady Jules” Urich (America’s Best Dance Crew, Beat Freaks), Ivan “Flipz” Velez (Step Up 3D), Rynan “Rainen” Paguio (America’s Best Dance Crew, Jabbawockeez (Winner), Jonathan “Legacy” Perez (So You Think You Can Dance).
For more information, please visit the website at www.lafemme.org
The Savannah Film Festival is currently scheduled to host Academy Award-nominated actress Virginia Madsen, who will present the documentary “I Know a Woman Like That,” directed by her mother Elaine Madsen, who will also be in attendance.
Liam Neeson, Sir Ian McKellen and Isabella Rossellini will be honored as part of the 13th Annual Savannah Film Festival, which will take place Oct. 30 to Nov. 6.