Earlier this year, the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) Student Film Festival International was screened at the Schlesinger Auditorium on the Alexandria campus to an audience of more than 400 for films on ‘Immigration & Refugees’. In her welcoming remarks, Cinema Professor, Lucy Gebre Egziabher, repeated what she tells her students, “films should hold a mirror to society.” Picking up on the success of the voices of the students at the college that created such films; the Alexandria Film Festival (AFF) for the first time, will debut all student films produced by NOVA from the film festival at the city’s 13th Annual Alexandria Film Festival that is held from November 7th to the 10th.
The AFF offers new films in advance of their arrivals at commercial theaters, streaming services, or television. Now in its 13th year, the festival will present independent film screenings at a variety of popular Alexandria venues, including the AMC Hoffman Center 22 Cinema Complex. More than 50 free and ticketed films from around the world will be screened this year, inclusive of numerous premieres. The four-day event is open to all area motion picture enthusiasts.
NOVA student films will be played alongside independent heavy hitters screened this year such as; “Daddio” with actors such as Michael McKean “Better Call Saul,” “Spinal Tap” and Casey Wilson “SNL,” “Happy Endings”, and a documentary called “This Changes Everything” about the under-representation of women in Hollywood. This documentary features interviews with A-list actors and directors, including Meryl Streep, Taraji P. Henson, Shonda Rhimes, Reese Witherspoon, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei, Jessica Chastain, Zoe Saladana, Tiffany Haddish, Alan Alda, and Maria Giese, among many others. A Q&A with Casey Wilson from “Daddio”, and Maria Giese from “This Changes Everything” follows the screening of these films at AFF.
Such films that have reached community acclaim from NOVA to be played at the AFF is “Mi Tierra”, Winner of the 2019 Dean’s award for Cinematic Distinction. “Mi Tierra”, written and directed by Sandra Camargo, tells the story of Miguel, a stubborn Salvadoran father of two, who barricades his family inside their home in order to avoid deportation. Sandra Carmago carefully crafts the tale of sacrifice for the ‘American Dream’ that many can relate to. The film depicts the dialogue of a struggling family in both languages of English and Spanish.
The AFF is proud to partner with NOVA Student Film Festival International to promote Films by NOVA Students. To kick off the 2019 AFF, the works of young NOVA filmmakers will be featured during the festival’s cost-free screenings Friday November 8 at the Beatley Library in Alexandria. Student filmmakers will also be on hand for a Q&A session. The 2019 NOVA Student Film Festival International can be previewed at https://blogs.nvcc.edu/nsff/.
Highlighted at this Alexandria Film Festival this year will be “Gabriel’s Revolt”. The film tells the story of a literate enslaved blacksmith who had planned a large slave rebellion in Richmond, Virginia in the summer of 1800. Gabriel Prosser’s actions for emancipation resulted in laws that changed the lives of free blacks for centuries to come. “Gabriel’s Revolt” which was broadcasted on WETA over the summer, was actually an eight-year project created by NOVA faculty, staff and students in 2012.
The Alexandria Film Festival (AFF) Chair, Margaret Wohler notes, “We are very excited to bring the AFF 2019 festival to historic Alexandria. Our audiences truly participate in the Alexandria Film Festival – a home-grown event with a global reach”.
About the Alexandria Film Festival (AFF) -- The Alexandria Film Festival (AFF) brings state-of-the-art independent films to eager viewers in the Nation’s Capital region. The AFF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supported by a grant from the Alexandria Commission for the Arts and numerous corporate sponsors including Brandywine Living at Alexandria, Burke and Herbert Bank, The Foundry at Carlyle, Hilton Hotels, Connection Newspapers, Alexandria Hyundai, Ted’s Montana Grill, San Antonio Grill, Glory Days Grill, Wilson Grand Communications and Booka Looka, West End Business Association, and Alexandria Living Magazine, Visit Alexandria, Alexandria Times, and Alphagraphics.
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.