Welcome to the 2017 Alexandria Film Festival!

Welcome all film lovers to the 11th annual Alexandria Film Festival. This year we are screening more than 50 films from around the world and hosting more than 40 filmmakers, artists, musicians, technicians, and actors in our beautiful, historic city. We are so glad you can join us! Thank you for being ambassadors for both the City of Alexandria and the film arts. We relish the opportunity to offer our audiences a feast of new ideas, beautiful cinematography, cultural exploration and a chance to engage in the civil discussion that creates the vibrant democracy we all enjoy.

I also want to thank our very generous sponsors and loyal volunteers who literally make the festival possible every year.

Enjoy celebrating independents!

Margaret Wohler, Chair

Schedule subject to change without notice.
Beatley screenings are free of charge. For all other events tickets are available on Eventbrite.com. “Salute to Service Members Showcase” screenings are free of charge to veterans and one guest.

Thursday, November 9

Private Events

Screening #1
Friday, November 10
Beatley Central Library
10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Waking the Sleeping Giant – 10:30 a.m.
, Documentary, USA
A story of the attempt to build a 21st century progressive movement in the United States. Five remarkable individuals wrestle with persistent racial injustice, growing economic inequality, and the corrupting influence of money in politics against the backdrop of an extraordinary 2016 presidential race.
Q&A with Sabrina Shrader (featured in the film)

In My Mother’s House – 12:15
, Documentary, USA
Chronicles the decades long journey of Lina Fruzzetti to learn more about her Italian father who died young in Italian-ruled Eritrea and her Eritrean mother who does not speak about the past. Lina seeks to understand her far flung African, European, and American family against the backdrop of colonial rule, worlds at war, migration, grief, diasporas, and the global world in which we all live.
Q&A with director Akos Ostor

Out of the Ring, Still in the Fight – 1:50
, Documentary, USA
A professional boxer makes a decision about life after the tragic death of his infant daughter.
Q&A with director Maniko Barthelemy and Tony “Da Beast” Suggs, (featured in the film)

BURNED: Are Trees the New Coal? – 2:30
, Documentary, United Kingdom
A penetrating look at the accelerating destruction of our forests for fuel, probing the policy loopholes, huge subsidies, and blatant greenwashing of the burgeoning biomass power industry. This is the little-reported story of the energy industry’s “solution” to climate change.

A Change in the Family – 4 p.m.
, Documentary, USA
World Premiere
When Zo transitions from female to male, his family members must also change. This film looks at the current paradigm shift of transgender individuals being accepted more largely in society from the perspective of one family.
Q&A with director Sam Hampton

Screening #2
Saturday, November 11
AMC Theater 1, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Burke and Herbert Bank Presents:
Alexandria Film Festival Family Showcase

$ave Your Future!
0:01:30, Student Film, USA
The Burke & Herbert Bank regional winner and one of the top 5 national finalists in the American Bankers Association’s 2016-2017 Lights, Camera, Save! video contest on financial literacy. Director Dylan Fox, found a fun and unique way to share the importance of saving money with his peers, while still being able to produce a high quality and technologically impressive video.
Q&A with director Dylan Fox

Swimming in the Desert
0:15, Drama, USA
In the drought stricken town of Agua Dulce, in the California High Desert, a ten-year-old girl challenges her grandfather, a cranky retired firefighter, to follow a crazy plan and bring the water back to the dry river.
Trailer: Swimming in the Desert

0:07, Drama, Student Film, USA
A teenager named Ivy wakes up by the seaside, not knowing how she got there, slowly remembering her past.
Q&A with director Simon Lundquist

Queens in Training
0:15, Documentary, USA
Two African-American girls learn to play chess competitively and apply those skills to obstacles of race and gender as they prepare for a citywide co-educational tournament in Washington, D.C.
Q&A with producer Deanna Del Ciello

Pirate Cruncher
0:10, Animated, USA
One night in Port Royal, a band of pirates meets an old fiddler with a map leading to treasure. As they set out to sea, they learn that a monster called “The Pirate Cruncher” guards the treasure, and not everything is as it seems.
The full film: https://vimeo.com/220833929
The University of Colorado Denver Digital Animation Center’s Class of 2017 Senior Short Film

Tale of the Kite
0:30, Drama, USA
A young test pilot finds himself in a mysterious desert, out of contact with his airbase and with little hope of survival. But childhood memories of his grandfather may provide the key to his ultimate destiny. Tale of the Kite was filmed over a period of 11 years, beginning when the lead actor was only 10 years old and wrapping when he was 21.
Q&A with Director Michael Fallovolita, who will offer his insights to young filmmakers, based on a career in Hollywood that includes stints working with Steven Spielberg on Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List.
Film trailer: Tale of the Kite https://vimeo.com/204700931

Screening #3
Saturday, November 11
AMC Theater 2, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Common Ground
0:22, Documentary, Cyprus
U.S. Premiere
Set against the backdrop of the 35-year border separation of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot communities, the director coordinates an art project featuring the children of these communities. Videos and gifts are exchanged, creating a communication bridge between them.

2:18, Drama, Pakistan
Pakistan’s nominee for the 2018 Academy Awards
The story of a 9-year-old Pakistani boy with polio. Rejected by his father, hated by society and harassed by his peers, he gets left behind in his village as the residents are forced to vacate the valley where they live. Forced to live on his own, he relies on the memories of his mother, a three-legged dog, and a sense of purpose, to journey to the city and be reunited with his family.

Screening #4
Saturday, November 11
AMC Theater 1, 1-4:15 p.m.

Just Say Goodbye
1:47, Drama, USA
Sarah has been methodically counting down the days to her highly anticipated summer vacation, when she learns that her best friend has made the decision to end his life while she’s away.
Q&A with director/co-producer Matt Walting, writer Layla O’Shea, and actor William “Bill” Galatis

Painted City
0:27, Documentary, USA
Virginia Premiere
One woman and her dedication to preserving Washington D.C.’s historic community murals, despite rapidly changing city neighborhoods.
Q&A with director Caitlin Carroll

0:05, Drama, USA
A hearing-impaired girl at summer camp struggles to find the courage to try out for the camp musical.
Q&A with actress/writer Marley Boss and Barry Boss

0:04, Drama, USA
Virginia Premiere
A man tries to help his friend get the money to pay his bills . . . by any means.
Q&A with filmmaker Justin Szilagyi

Screening #5
Saturday, November 11
AMC Theater 2, 1-4 p.m.

The Jar
0:20, Drama, United Kingdom
East Coast Premiere
Jake banks his boyish ambitions of being an astronaut inside a jar of coins. Despite being surrounded by those who would step all over his dreams, can he still manage to make them come true?
no trailer

The Things They Left Behind
0:29, Drama, USA
Scott, lost his girlfriend on 9/11, and a year later her eyeglasses are haunting him! He tries to find out what they want from him while he recovers from the grief, loss, and guilt that remain from that day. Based on the short story by Stephen King.
Q&A with filmmakers Duba Leibell and Missy Jenkins
Film Trailer: https://vimeo.com/63218659

Searching Skies
0:09, Drama, USA
East Coast Premiere
When a Syrian refugee family accepts a Christian family’s invitation to dinner, they are caught between opposing viewpoints for and against them–until an unexpected event suddenly occurs.
No trailer

Her Tango
1:22, Drama, USA
Dino has given everything to make his restaurant a success and to move on from the death of his wife. After a chance encounter with a beautiful and elusive dancer turns into tango lessons, will Dino find a new reason to live?
Q&A with director Jason Mullis, screenwriter Matt Lintner, actor/producer Dan Istrate, director of photography James Ray, post-production supervisor Doug Bischoff. Q&A will be followed by a live Tango demonstration.
Her Tango Trailer https://vimeo.com/204295724

Screening #6
Saturday, November 11
AMC Theater 1, 4:15-7:25 p.m.

Virginia Premiere
The Collection
0:11, Documentary, USA
Two friends stumble unto the holy grail of movie memorabilia in the most unlikely of places.
Not trailer

A Celebrity
O:15, Drama, USA
Virginia Premiere
In present day Los Angeles, a celebrity loses his phone.
Q&A with executive producer/writer Justin Radano
No trailer

A Time Before
0:12, Drama, USA
Virginia Premiere
The masked secrets of a newlywed couple revealed through the lens of time. A mesmerizing film shot in one take.
Q&A with director Zhibo Lai
No trailer

Nothing to Do
1:30, Drama, USA
World Premiere
Filmed in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia, the story of two siblings with very different views on how to care for their dying father.
Q&A with director Mike Kravinsky
Film trailer: https://youtu.be/ka1ZnpfY50g

Screening #7
Saturday, November 11
AMC Theater 2, 4:15-7:45 p.m.
Alexandria Film Festival’s Salute to Service Members #1
(Complimentary admission for veteran and 1 guest)

The 2 Sides Project
1:42, Documentary, USA
Chronicles the journey of six Americans who lost fathers in the Vietnam War as they bridge the cultural, geographical, and emotional divide between themselves and a group of Vietnamese sons and daughters whose fathers died fighting for the other side.
Q&A with director Anthony Istrico

Forgive—Don’t Forget
1:11, Documentary, USA
Northern Virginia Premiere
At the end of World War II, American officers confiscated many Japanese swords. In order to better understand the past and build a bridge between cultures in the present, a filmmaker attempts to return one of these swords to its original owner.
Q&A with director Brad Bennett

Screening #8
Saturday, November 11
AMC Theater 1, 7:25-10 p.m.

0:10, Drama, USA
Virginia Premiere
In 1848 Virginia, Sam and Ninny, a slave couple, execute an escape after their slave master George makes an unconscionable and unwanted advance to Sam.
No trailer

Love is Dead
1:31, Comedy, France
A young entrepreneur’s start-up “Love is Dead” is a business providing a peculiar service. For a fee, Mathias takes care of their relationship break-ups for them. The business is successful and takes off . . . until the day his own mother asks him to break up with his father for her.
Film trailer: https://youtu.be/qhTq0vXgfgs

Screening #9
Saturday, November 11
AMC Theater 2, 7:50-10p.m.

1:32, Drama, Finland
A couple is speeding toward the hospital; the wife is in premature labor. A suspicious sound causes them to stop, but after the man investigates, they continue on. What would you do if you had to make a choice between saving a stranger and someone you loved? Would fate let you live with it?
Film trailer: https://youtu.be/cQy_nj8_kMI

Screening #10
Saturday, November 11
AMC Theater 1, 10-midnight
Late Night Showcase #1

1:23, Drama, USA
Brooke and Caleb, a celebrity social media couple, are celebrating their anniversary in the deep woods of central Florida. They plan to record the entire trip for their fans, but don’t realize they are being followed by a twisted pair of aspiring filmmakers hell-bent on filming a documentary on how easy it is to track someone down through social media . . . and kill them. “Blair Witch Project for the Instagram age.”
Q&A with filmmakers Ryan Justice
Film trailer: https://youtu.be/MerqCnLvlNk

Alfred J. Hemlock
0:14, Drama, Australia
When Emily’s boyfriend abandons her in the middle of the night, her only way home is through an alleyway where she is terrorized by the mysterious entity Alfred J Hemlock.
Film Trailer: https://vimeo.com/176929079

Down Please
0:08, Comedy, USA
When a plumber and a politician get stuck on a service elevator their conflicting views are exposed and the plumber gets a chance at revenge.

Screening #11
Saturday, November 11
AMC Theater 2, 10-midnight
Late Night Showcase #2

0:38, Drama, USA
On the run from the police, petty criminals Tim and Molly hole up in Marbletown. Fed up with their transient lifestyle and Tim’s abusive behavior, Molly searches for a way to get out of this toxic relationship—but Tim won’t let her go without a fight.
Q&A with director/editor/cinematographer Wesley Mellott and actor Michael Mowen
Film trailer: https://youtu.be/C07oKLCrtOw

The Leeward Side of the Mountain
0:22, Drama, Austria
World Premiere
Two strangers meet by chance while they are both staying at a hostel in Austria, but they soon discover they share a similar tragic past.

Don’t Think About it
0:12, Drama, USA
Virginia Premiere
Ron and Casey are expecting a child, but things get out of hand when they both try to protect each other from an inevitable break-up.

Thanks for Everything
0:23, Drama, Norway
After a series of coincidences, two strangers meet on a deserted bridge at night. They appear to have little in common but they do share one thing.

Screening #12

Sunday, November 12

AMC Theater 1, 10 a.m.-1pm


Cranberry Lake

0:17, Documentary, USA

Virginia Premiere

Forest ecology students lead us through an immersive learning experience at a remote research station in the Adirondacks.

Q&A with director Zoya Baker


Film Trailer: Cranberry Lake: https://vimeo.com/221531102


A Good Blinder

0:27, Documentary, USA

Meet 75-year-old Dan Bowman of Harrisonburg, VA, who lost his sight at age 12, became a piano tuner and crafts fine furniture using power tools and precision instruments.

Q&A with producer/directors Shaun Wright and Mike Grundmann


I Did Her Wrong

1:25, Drama, USA

A disillusioned Hollywood actress returns home to the countryside where she reconnects with her estranged father, a retired filmmaker. To her surprise, he offers her the role of Cordelia in his passion project, an adaption of Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Q&A with director/writer/editor Francisco Campos-Lopez, producer David Schiff, actress Catalina Lavalle, actor Alexander Barnett, and cinematographer Greg Hess

Film Trailer: I Did Her Wrong: https://youtu.be/_Yx9mKFncVw



Screening #13

Autism Awareness Showcase

Sunday, November 12

AMC Theater 2, 10:00 a.m.-12:45pm



0:28, Documentary, USA

Nina and Lisa are sisters destined to be the best of friends, but diagnosed with autism at the age of 2, Lisa’s voice disappears. Without communication, Nina and Lisa struggle to find connection and sisterhood.

Q&A with Leila Silva, and Lisa Vallado, both featured in the film

Film Trailer:  Sisterly – a documentary about autism and sisterhood.



The Buddy System

1:00, Documentary, USA

David Williams is a 7-year-old boy on the autism spectrum, whose life is transformed by Buddy, a specially trained autism assistance dog.

Q&A with producer/director Megan Smith-Harris and executive producer Bill Harris


Trailer: https://vimeo.com/131347504


Life in Strides

0:18, Documentary, USA

Jake is a young man with autism, who has become a champion on therapeutic horseback riding. With help from his family, he faces a big test when he competes in his first non-therapeutic horseback riding competition.

Q&A with co-producers Patrick Foust and Pauline Tran

Film Trailer: Life in Strides: https://vimeo.com/232123353


Screening #14

Sunday, November 12

AMC Theater 1, 1-4 p.m.

Alexandria Film Festival Salute to Service Members #2


Angels of the Sky

1:30, Documentary, USA

Virginia Premiere

The true story of World War II pilots from the 8th Air force, who were shot down over German territory and became POWs. We hear from the survivors themselves, as they recall what they endured and experienced.

Film Trailer: Angels of the Sky: https://youtu.be/2Zlgamp0S34


The Weight of Honor

0:56, Documentary, USA

When our vets come home, catastrophically wounded in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, who cares for them? Meet the caregivers—spouses, parents, and children who provide a glimpse into their daily lives, as they grapple with the overwhelming effects of wartime injuries on all our heroes—vets and their families.

Q&A with director Stephanie Seldin Howard and Terri Tanielian

Film Trailer: The Weight of Honor: https://youtu.be/1E0ycjT-7KM


Screening #15

Sunday, November 12

AMC Theater 2 12:50p.m.-4 p.m.


Labyrinth Journeys

0:27, Documentary, USA

Exploring labyrinths around the D.C. area, the film explores the mystery and power of this 4,000-year-old symbol. Interview subjects describe why they are drawn to labyrinths and how they use them as a modern tool for healing, meditation, and stress reduction.

Q&A with director Cintia Cabib

Film Trailer: Labyrinth Journeys  https://vimeo.com/174530929



Pyramid Dream

0:27, Documentary, USA

Three women search for empowerment, independence and prosperity through ‘direct-selling’ of LipSense lipstick in Utah—the dubious capital of “network marketing.”

Q&A with filmmaker McKinley Haas

Film Trailer: No Trailer


Billboard Boys

1:20, Documentary, USA

How long would you live on a billboard over a busy highway? When an AM radio station devised a contest in 1982 to award the winner a mobile home, 3 men in a recession-stricken area of Pennsylvania took the bait. What nearly everyone expected to be over in a few weeks became a yearlong international phenomenon and media circus—long before the advent of reality TV.

Q&A with director/editor Pat Taggart and producer Frank Petka

Film Trailer:  Billboard Boys: https://vimeo.com/223067873


Screening #16

Sunday, November 12

AMC Theater 1, 4-6 p.m.


Behind the Woods and Across the Sea

0:20, Documentary, USA

Owen Phillips was 16 years old when he immigrated to America a century ago from the Republic of Belarus. We learn about his challenges adapting to life in small town Indiana. The film asks us how the experiences of immigrants like Owen compare to those that immigrate today.

Q&A with writer/director Doug Phillips

Film Trailer: https://vimeo.com/230815203


Road to A.I.

0:17, Documentary, USA

A fascinating look at the emerging industry of self-driving cars, how it is shaping the future of public transportation, why it offers the best case for advancing artificial intelligence, and how “open source” can best fill the gap between the present moment and the future of autonomy.

Q&A with director Brett Abramsky and motion graphic designers Eric Kramer and Drew Carrow

Film Trailer: https://youtu.be/fBZplQKKbLs


Give and Take

0:15, Drama, USA

World Premiere

A talented chef fights time and resentment as he prepares meals for Death Row prisoners.

Q&A with director Alex Snider, associate producer Christopher Amaya, and editor Leighton Good

Film Trailer: not found


Me Two

0:12, Science Fiction, USA

Virginia Premiere

Hailed as the perfect solution to the incessant tedium of mundane tasks, the Personal Assistant Clone is a triumph of state-of-the-art engineering . . . until unforeseen errors lead to a hostile takeover of the clients’ lives.

Q&A with actress Audra Van Hees

Film Trailer:



Screening #17

Sunday, November 12

AMC Theater 2, 4-6 p.m.


Your Health: A Sacred Matter

1:45, Documentary, USA

Are science and religion incompatible at best or enemies at worst? This film explores the relationship between religion, spirituality, and health. It weaves together compelling individual stories from patients, doctors, nurses, chaplains, and caregivers. The lives and experiences they share on this film are ones of transcendence, courage, and dignity.

Q&A with director Gerald Krell and producer Adam Krell

trailer for your Your Health: A Sacred Matter :  https://vimeo.com/189669825


Awards Ceremony and Closing Reception

AMC Mezzanine Level

6-8 p.m.


It’s a Wrap!

We invite you to join us as we present top honors to the 2017 Alexandria Film Festival’s best filmmakers and enjoy light refreshments.