Coming Home: Alexandria Filmmakers Spotlight the 13th Annual Alexandria Film Festival

The 2019 Alexandria Film Festival (AFF) kicks off November 7 and runs through November 10. It’s the thirteenth year for this grassroots filmmakers showcase. (Courtesy photo)

By Kelly MacConomy

Alexandria holds hometown memories for numerous luminati from La La Land. Longtime star of Law and Order: SVU, as well as film actor Christopher Meloni grew up in Alexandria, graduating from St. Stephen’s School. Film star Dermot Mulroney along with Steven Ford, son of President Gerald Ford, who had a brief but notable film career and a run on The Young and the Restless, graduated from TC Williams. Cappie winner Margaret “Maggie Mae” Reid, appearing on Revenge and Californication, also attended TC. The 27th highest domestic-grossing associate producer (by 30 years of age) and actor native Alexandrian Cameron MacConomy, (Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1 & Part 2, Red Sparrow) is a St. Stephen’s and Saint Agnes graduate.

Alexandria native filmmaker Cameron MacConomy (left) with Liam Hemsworth (upper left) and Jennifer Lawrence (right) at the Cannes Film Festival. (Courtesy Photo)

With the 13th annual Alexandria Film Festival kicking off Thursday, November 7 and continuing through Sunday, November 10, Hollywood returns to Alexandria. Better get your tickets now. This year the non-profit film festival presents an exciting lineup of short and feature-length narrative and documentary films, in addition to filmmaker panels and arts presentations, don’t miss This Changes Everything, a documentary examining the economic and pandemic gender disparity in Hollywood featuring Cate Blanchett, Jessica Chastain, Gena Davis, Natalie Portman, and Meryl Streep among the commentary of many other female actors.

But it’s old home week in Port City at the 2019 AFF. Former Alexandrian now living in the Los Angeles area filmmaker Marc Carlini is screening She’s In Portland starring Joelle Carter, Francois Arnaud, Tommy Dewey, and Minka Kelly. Carlini wrote the screenplay as well as directed and produced the indie film under his company Tilt/Shift Films.

The comedy tracks two thirty-something guys striking out on a road trip up the California coast desperately seeking Maggie- the one that got away. Difficult as it is to believe that two successful men in their prime, married to stunningly beautiful Minka Kelly and Joelle Carter, would be so dissatisfied, but their existential envy makes for a diverting joy ride. Seven-year itching and mid-life angst aside, Carlini was inspired to make this film, simmering for sometime on the back burner, following the death of his good friend’s wife while giving birth to their third child. The message isn’t so much life is short as life is precious. Love it well and live it with kindness. But it’s okay to have a few regrets.

Former Alexandrian writer/director/producer/erstwhile editor of “She’s In Portland” Marc Carlini (center left) with cast members Lola Glaudini (left), Tommy Dewey (center right), and François Arnaud (right) at the world premier in Boston. The film will be screened at the Alexandria Film Festival November 7 ~ 10. (Courtesy photo)

Casey Williams (née Catherine Rose Wilson – TC Class of 1998), a former Saturday Night Live cast member, prolific film and television actress (Gone Girl, Heathers, Julie & Julia) comedian, screenwriter, soundtrack producer and now director comes home presenting her comedy film short Daddio. Daddio reunites a fiercely independent daughter and a riotously eccentric father as they struggle separately to cope with the loss of a mother and a wife. Based on Casey’s true-life experience with her own no-less exaggerated quirky dad after they lost her mom, Casey stars (in a cast of five) as the daughter Abby, with veteran supporting actor Oscar-nominated Michael McKeon (This Is Spinal Tap, For Your Consideration, A Mighty Wind, Best In Show) as her father.

Alexandria’s own Casey Wilson coming home to attend the screening of her comedy film short “Daddio” at the 2019 Alexandria Film Festival November 7 ~ 10. (Courtesy Photo)

Daddio was co-written by Casey and Laura Kindred. Apparently Mr. Wilson was an epic comedic muse. Once when Casey was pitching SNL sketches to Lorne Michaels and the writing staff to no avail, Daddio took it upon himself to write one for her. Dubbed “the best SNL sketch you never saw” by Casey’s father, “Monster Daughter” has a widower father handling his daughter’s animosity toward his new girlfriend Paula, played by the father dressed in drag. In the skillful comedic hands of Michael McKeon, Daddio proves to be a far more plausible reconciliation. Daddio’s home!

“Daddio” writer/director/star Casey Wilson with Michael McKeon, Adam Pally, and June Diane Raphael at the world premier “Toronto Film Festival”. (Photo courtesy Variety)

Alexandria has long been a destination for filmmakers. In addition to last year’s filming in Del Ray of “Kringle Time,” next year’s sure-to-be-blockbuster Wonder Woman 1984 was filmed at the vacated Landmark Mall with Gal Gadot reprising her super-heroine role. The Port City was the setting for PBS’s short-lived but outstanding Mercy Street , though filming took place in Richmond. Revisiting film-fans’ favorites such as 1988 Best Picture Oscar Broadcast News and heartthrob Kevin Costner in No Way Out, Alexandrians will notice familiar streets and King Street eats. Sydney Pollack’s Random Hearts was also filmed here with Grace Episcopal Church’s own Father Robert Malm playing of all things a priest!

Don’t miss this year’s Alexandria Film Festival. There’s something for film aficionados of all ages. Films are grouped into themed showcases.

There’s a Family Showcase sponsored by Burke and Herbert Bank, 10:00 am Saturday morning at AMC Hoffman on Fox Swamp Road in Alexandria. There’s also a Veteran’s Showcase: Salute to Service Members spotlighting Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn? about a helicopter fatality in a mysterious crash off the coast of Virginia. The Veterans Showcase is Sunday, November 10 from 1 – 4 p.m. at AMC Hoffman 21 Theaters. Admission is free for veterans.

The Zebra Press is a proud sponsor of the Alexandria Film Festival. Screenings will take place at AMC Hoffman, the Beatley main branch of the Alexandria Public Library, and other venues around the city.

For more information visit www.alexfilmfest.com

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