A film festival to please all

Feature length domestic and foreign films to locally produced ‘shorts’  and workshops

Theresa Wood has no doubt had her fill of popcorn.

“I reviewed 212 films,” reveals the director of this year’s much-anticipated Third Annual Film Festival at Little Washington.

Wood fortunately wasn’t the lone film reviewer leading up to this year’s much expanded festival, which will be held Friday through Sunday, April 7 to 9, at the Theatre at Little Washington.

“We had a screening committee this year that consisted of 12 people from various arts and professional backgrounds,” notes the director, and it was through the critical reviews of this talented dozen that the “best of the best” modern films were selected for festival goers.

“I’m very excited,” says Wood, now in her second year as festival director. “Last year we accepted strictly Virginia films and filmmakers, but this year we opened up submissions to domestic and foreign films.”

Thirty-five films in all were chosen by the committee for April’s festival, not including this year’s youth program that has seen K-12th grade students submit their own impressive short films.

“They were all accepted, there was no competition for the student films,” Wood states. “We solicited films from every school in Rappahannock County, public and private, and from Highland School in Warrenton.

“One student film is from Australia, one is from Washington, D.C., four are from the Richmond area, one is from Warrenton and two are from right here in Rappahannock,” she announces. “We have nine youth films in all lined up for the festival, and I’m confident our attendees will be quite impressed with this young talent.”

Also new this year, the festival will be hosting a children’s workshop titled the “Art of Storyboarding” — which means pre-visualizing a motion picture from start to finish. The children’s workshop will be held on Sunday afternoon from 2 to 2:45 p.m., with the nine youth films to follow. Every child who attends the workshop will be presented with a certificate of participation.

But that’s not all that’s new with the 2017 festival.

“This year we’ve partnered with George Mason University’s Film and Video Studies Program, for which I was a judge in December, which was great fun,” reveals Wood. “We are going to show a block of senior class project films, which I’m really excited about because it gives us an insight into the future generation of filmmakers.“

The university’s films will be screened on Saturday from 12:30 to 2 p.m. “We hope to continue this relationship with GMU, as it ads an extra layer to the festival,” adds the director.

That said, Wood lets it be known that there will be three feature length films shown at this year’s festival — both Friday and Saturday evenings, and Sunday afternoon.

Friday’s feature is “Badsville”, teased by Wood as “a cutting edge film out of L.A. that provides a glimpse into another world.”

Friday, April 7, night’s cutting-edge “Badsville” movie. Courtesy photo

And if you’re wondering why Saturday evening’s featured screening is accompanied by a wine tasting at 6 p.m., it is to introduce filmmakers and wine industry leaders from the movie “Decanted”, which shows at 7:30 p.m. Decanted, as Wood tells it, takes viewers inside one of the most “intimate” wine growing regions in the world — Napa Valley.

“Decanted” Courtesy photo
Saturday night’s, April 8, movie “Decanted” about the Napa wine industry.


Sunday’s feature, starting at 1 p.m., is “Good Work: Masters of the Building Arts” by local Academy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Wagner.

“Paul is my mentor for the film festival and a member of our advisory board who lives in Charlottesville,” says Wood, describing Wagner’s documentary as a portrait of artisans from across America working in the building trades.

“Good Work: Masters of the Building Arts”, by local academy award-winning filmmaker Paul Wagner of Charlottesville. Courtesy photo

A question and answer session with filmmakers will follow all three feature films.

In addition, just prior to Friday evening’s inaugural film, the festival will host an opening red-carpet reception “under the tent” at Tula’s Restaurant and Bar from 5 to 7 p.m.

But wait, Wood says, there’s more: “Some of the other high points of this year’s festival include a block of international short films called ‘Around the world in 60 minutes.’ We will be introducing films from as far away as Norway and Iran.”

“And sprinkled throughout the festival will be four films by local Rappahannock filmmakers, which I am so pleased about, including Tracy and Mathieu Mazza and Nina May. Plus Will and Sam Mullany each have their own film,” she says.

“Which leads me to point out that the film festival will continue the tradition of supporting Virginia films and filmmakers, including providing host housing and travel assistance. In fact, the Virginia Film Office will once again sponsor the film festival this year.”

Finally, apart from the children’s film workshop, the festival will be offering two public workshops on both Saturday and Sunday — one surrounding acting, the other the business of filmmaking.

There will be a movie trivia night at Griffin Tavern in Flint Hill on Thursday, March 30. In addition, a festival sponsors appreciation dinner with be held Thursday, April 6, at Blue Rock Inn, catered by Sylvie Rowand of Laughing Duck Gardens and Cookery.

The Film Festival at Little Washington is a program of the Rappahannock Association for Arts and Community (RAAC), with net proceeds supporting local Rappahannock artists through Claudia Mitchell grants. In 2016, RAAC awarded over $40,000 in grants.

Third Annual Film Festival at Little Washington tickets are now on sale at EventBrite.com. Details surrounding the festival schedule can also be found via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and at filmfreeway.com/festival/TheFilmFestivalatLittleWashington.


About John McCaslin 448 Articles
John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at editor@rappnews.com.