Alexandria, VA—The 2022 Alexandria Film Festival is now in its 16th year and it did not disappoint! This year’s festival was both in-person and virtually streamed (being held only virtually in 2020 and 2021). The much anticipated event hosted approximately 1,100 eager patrons who enjoyed a wide variety of genres during the festival’s three-day event.
The Alexandria Film Festival offers high quality short and feature-length films, documentaries, filmmaker panels, and arts presentations to the city of Alexandria and beyond. The festival highlights the talents of local, national, and international filmmakers. In 2021 the festival expanded by creating a movie buff club, streaming films monthly and launching a monthly newsletter.
At a ceremony Saturday night, November 12, the festival’s executive committee announced the awards for the films that stood out based on their compelling storytelling and high production values.
The feature documentary “Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power,” received top honors with the Best in Fest Award. The documentary, directed by Nina Menkes and produced by Maria Giese, examines the gendered nature of film language. This documentary incorporated 175 clips and films to explore “who gets looked at on screen and who does the looking,” per the Alexandria Film Festival.
Giese received the honor at the ceremony, noting that “change for women in the film industry starts with conversation and that ‘Brainwashed’ spurs exactly that.” This was Giese’s second appearance at the Alexandria Film Festival. In 2019 she presented the film “This Changes Everything” which focuses on gender disparity and employment discrimination facing women in Hollywood..
“Bringing ‘Brainwashed’ to the Alexandria Film Festivall this year and to a D.C. audience was an outstanding and inspiring experience,” said Giese. “And it wasn’t just the thrill of winning the award–it was joining a festival team that so understood the film and its transformative potential to bring about social change.”
The documentary “Guest House” received The Joe Cantwell Prize for Documentary Excellence. This locally-made documentary was directed by Hannah Dweck and Yael Luttwak and follows the stories of three women in an Alexandria re-entry house. After being released from incarceration and battling addiction, they are attempting to reacclimate to life outside bars.
The Best Foreign Language Film Award went to “Just Let Me Go” by Luis Diogo of Porto, Portugal.This film is a fictional narrative that focuses on a couple Ana and Ricardo. They were chosen to be the subjects of this documentary about loving relationships. Ricardo questions his love for Ana and whether he should remain in the relationship.
The Audience Award was determined by festival attendees who voted on site. The award went to local filmmaker Jane Pitman for her new feature documentary “Be Moved.” This documentary tells the story of the modern dance company “Choreographers Collaboration Project (CCP) and how the CCP helps strengthen and create community within the city. Over the Thanksgiving weekend an additional Audience Award will be awarded to the film chosen by the virtual cinema audience at the conclusion of the online festival programming.
The AFF is a non-profit that is supported by a grant from the Alexandria Commision for the Arts and corporate sponsors including Burke and Herbert Bank, West End Business Association, Zebra Magazine, Old Town Hilton Hotel, Alexandria Hyundai, Visit Alexandria, Connection News, James Connolly Realtor, Alexandria Living Magazine, Safer Country, Alexandria Times, and The Zebra.
The Alexandria Film festival continues online through November 28th. For more information, visit website www.alexfilmfest.com.