We think this four day film festival is a reel-y good chance to support and engage with independent filmmakers from Alexandria, Virginia state and beyond.
Okay, so this might not be your average watch a blockbuster and eat your weight in popcorn affair, but the annual Alexandria Film Festival is nevertheless a wonderful way to experience the big screen. Held every year, it has become a firm fixture on the city's creative calendar and has been steadily growing in popularity since 2006; 2017 will be its 10th birthday year.
Showcasing a range of talented filmmakers, directors, script-writers, videographers and more, the four day event is jam-packed with established and up-and-coming industry professionals. Featuring local, national and international talent, the festival hosts showings from a variety of genres; expect feature lengths, documentaries, shorts, art presentations and panels.
The festival's main ethos is all about supporting independent film and as such, it offers a platform for many emerging and young industry members. Traditionally, the event begins with a free documentary screening in Market Square in the historic centre of Alexandria which is often accompanied by live music. Although the event has a varied programme, there are some common themes among some of the films; this year includes 'foodie film' and 'sports film' showcases.
If you want a bit of behind the scenes action then opt for the Meet the Filmmakers Happy Hour - although tickets are somewhat difficult to come by, it's still worth a punt. Even if you don't manage to make the VIP events (the closing party is pretty swanky too) then there are plenty of great films and screenings to keep you busy. Showings are held in several venues around the city so you can mix your city break up by exploring different parts of town.
Some films to look out for this year include R. Shanea Williams' Paralysis, PBS' Mercy Street, Ryan Steven Green's Hollywood Shorties and of course the opening free screening of Michael Streissguth's Nighthawks on Blue Highway. Given the popularity of the event it's unsurprising that the city gets busy and tickets sell out fast - you can pre-book your festival passes through the event's official site. If you're looking for somewhere to stay, we recommend the Hilton Alexandria for smart, straightforward digs.
So while it might not be Star Trek and a bucket of sugary goodness, the Alexandria Film Festival still offers plenty for film buffs. Plus you won't return two clothes sizes bigger; popcorn does that y'know.
*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!