Alexandria, VA – There is more to the Alexandria Film Festival than watching new filmmakers show their stuff—opportunities to see the thought that goes into filmmaking, examine social messages, and see how filmmakers tell a story. From November 11-27, these opportunities and more will be part of the 16th annual Alexandria Film Festival.
Patti North, the executive director, believes the more discussion that arises from the films, the better. “Discussions following the films are a part of the fun in the whole thing,” she said, especially when moviegoers have a chance to ask the filmmakers themselves. “We always have a huge variety,” North added.
This year will be no different. There are feature films with alternative plots and characters, romance movies, short films, and documentaries about everything from craft brews to men who have cats for pets instead of the stereotypical “man’s best friend” genre.
“Cat Daddies is a refreshing and timely exploration of modern masculinity and the unlikely bond between man and cat,” the San Francisco-based producer’s description read. A filmmaker from Chicago produced a political party story told through the eyes of Barbie dolls. “It shows the creativity of the filmmaker,” said North.
Brainwashed: Sex, Camera, Power, which made it to the Sundance festival, investigates how women have been portrayed through the years in film. The producer lives in Connecticut and will appear at the showing.
The festival kicks off November 11-12 at the AMC Hoffman 22 Theater (206 Hoffman Street, Alexandria; (703) 236-1083). On November 13, 1-5 pm, screenings will be at The Lyceum (201 S Washington St). From November 13-27, the festival will comprise virtual cinema streaming. It’s a huge change from last year when everything was online, so they’re bringing it back to the theater, which adds another element to the viewing experience, but keeping the virtual element.
North has been involved since day one and has 16 years of experience, which, she said, “is a long time for a film festival.” Stars and producers have gone on to bigger and better things in the industry. One of the people involved last year was up for an Oscar five months later but did not win. But it was a good start. “We give people that opportunity,” North said.
This year, the festival has entries from all over the United States and 11 countries worldwide. There is no overarching theme because the festival stays open to every type of film submitted, but there are sub-categories called Showcases. The Family Showcase features films by and about young people; the Salute to Service Members Showcase will be offered free of charge to active and retired service members to celebrate Veteran’s Day Weekend.
An eight-person executive committee and hundreds of volunteers work behind the scenes to make it all happen. The executive committee comprises a chair, a vice chair, a sponsorship coordinator, a brand expert, and a web marketing guru.