Thursday, October 31, 2013

Alexandria Film Festival Expands to 60+ Films

From our friends at the Alexandria Film Festival...

Nearly 30 Films at Alexandria Film Festival Having Premieres

Many Local Filmmakers Featured Nov. 7-10

The Alexandria Film Festival, Nov. 7-10, is the biggest in its seven-year history. Films have expanded from 40 to more than 60, selected from more than 200 films considered.

Films chosen are from all over the world, including from France, Italy, India, the U.K., Germany and Brazil. The festival also features appearances by many filmmakers—both those traveling to Alexandria especially for the event as well as those from the Washington metropolitan area.

The festival will include a thought-provoking mix of programming and genres, including foreign-language films, shorts, documentaries and feature-length productions. Directors and cast members of at least half the films will participate in Q&A sessions after the screenings.

“Our tag line says it all: ‘Celebrating Independents.’ Our rich offerings are diverse in subject matter, presentation and perspective and offer the viewer an experience they simply cannot get anywhere else,” said festival chair Patti North.

A full schedule of films and ticket sales are available at

Screenings will take place at the recently restored Old Town Theater, the historic Lyceum, Charles Beatley Central Library and United Way Mary M. Gates Learning Center.

There are several special programming blocks. Opening night on Thursday, Nov. 7, is sponsored by MOM’s Organic Market and will feature a celebration of food and sustainability. Dark Night Showcase I and II, at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9, are collections of macabre and mysterious films. Movies at Beatley Library, including a family friendly program will be provided at no charge.

New this year —on Sunday afternoon— is a ‘Best of Fest’ program where attendees can see the films that judges and audiences selected for top honors, then attend a closing reception to fete the winners.

Films with local connections include:

GRAPE, directed by Daniel Stine, who went to high school in Fairfax County. His film takes place on a Virginia vineyard. A grieving winemaker ponders the sale of his family vineyard. Grape is one of 2 films by Daniel Stine that will be featured at the festival.

ASS BACKWARDS, a lighthearted comedy, is written by and starring Alexandria native Casey Wilson, formerly of Saturday Night Live. Her film is having its D.C. premiere at the festival ahead of nationwide release. Best friends Kate and Chloe (played by Casey Wilson) embark on a cross-country trip back to their hometown to attempt to win a pageant that eluded them as children.

CAPITAL FOOD FIGHT by D.C.-area director Robert Paschen, is about the political fight that is happening in cities across the country as communities cope with an exploding food truck industry.

Other works by local filmmakers include TA (GRANDFATHER), a short film set in Thailand directed by Alexandria-based Kunlakan Chanakan Mamber, WHEELCHAIR DIARIES by George Washington University graduate Reid Davenport and PEDESTRIAN, directed by Claire Ensslin, a T.C. Williams High School graduate.

A Festival highlight includes A CONVERSATION WITH BENH ZEITLIN, director of the Oscar-nominated BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. Zeitlin will appear via Skype on Nov. 9 following a screening of two of his shorts, GLORY AT SEA and I GET WETAmong many other film offerings:

CITIZEN AUSTISTIC, by William Davenport, explores the controversy surrounding autism advocacy from the perspectives of members of the autism community.

DREAM, by Betsy Cox, is a story of a group of students from Washington’s Anacostia neighborhood who were part of the I Have a Dream Program at the height of the drug wars.

WILD BLUE, by Josh Hope, is about a young man released from the foster care system, who leaves his small Oklahoma town for the first time to travel across the country with a strange woman he meets by chance.

PIED PIPER is a satirical folk tale of a simple laundryman, Chunnilal, who is rumored to have acquired his beloved donkey’s brain in a freak accident. Charming millions with his asinine traits, Chunnilal soon rises to become the most popular—and feared—hero of his time. 

HEARTS AND MINDS is a story of war, psychology and family. The film was nominated for the James Bridges Award at UCLA and writer/director Charlie Guillen won the prestigious 2013 Charles and Lucille King Foundation Award for the work. He will also participate in an audience Q&A. 
 The Alexandria Film Festival is made possible thanks to the generous support of the City of Alexandria Office of the Arts, MOM’s Organic Market, Burke & Herbert Bank, Pulte Homes, Alexandria Hyundai, media partners Alexandria Gazette Packet, Alexandria Times and Yelp, and many other corporate sponsors and individual contributors.

Ticket prices are $12 in advance; $15 at the door. Films at Beatley Library are free of charge. Tickets can be purchased online at