by Dave Emke — October 19, 2017 at 4:00 pm 3 Comments

Some big names have been added to the list of celebrities who will participate in the Washington West Film Festival next weekend at Reston Town Center.

Rapper, actor and activist Common will headline the festival with an in-depth conversation that will also feature Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young. The event will take place at 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29, at Bowtie Cinemas (11940 Market St.), featuring showings of Young and Common’s short films “Letter to the Free” and “Black America Again” prior to the discussion.

Common is a two-time Grammy Award-winning performer and won a Golden Globe and Academy Award for his song “Glory” from the film “Selma,” in which he also co-starred and for which Young was cinematographer. In 2011, Common was controversially invited by President Barack Obama to perform at the White House during a poetry event.

Earlier this year, Young became the first African-American cinematographer to be nominated for an Oscar, for his work on the science-fiction film “Arrival.” In addition to that film and “Selma,” Young has also worked on films including “Pariah,” “Mother of George” and “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.” He also worked on “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” scheduled for release in the spring.

Common and Young aren’t the only big names who have been added to the Washington West Film Festival’s lineup.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, actor Ty Burrell will host a free advanced screening of an upcoming episode of long-running ABC sitcom “Modern Family,” on which he stars as father Phil Dunphy. After the showing, Burrell will participate in a 20-minute question-and-answer period with fans.

Burrell has won multiple Primetime Emmys, Screen Actors Guild Awards and more for his work on the critically acclaimed series. He has also been part of numerous other projects including the films “Black Hawk Down,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” and “The Skeleton Twins.”

Burrell is also scheduled to participate in the festival Sunday during the Kids In The Spotlight film program.

The Washington West Film Festival is scheduled for Oct. 25-30 in both Reston and Arlington. For more information about events scheduled as part of the festival, visit its website.

Pictured: Ty Burrell, left, and Common

by Dave Emke — October 11, 2017 at 11:30 am 4 Comments

A Syrian opposition filmmaker, who resides in Reston, was apparently the target of an assassination attempt Tuesday in Istanbul.

According to the Middle East Eye, Muhammad Bayazid was stabbed in the chest while meeting potential investors for his new film project, which focuses on Syria’s notorious Tadmor prison. The film tells the story of a Syrian-American man unjustly imprisoned and tortured there.

The prison was destroyed by the Islamic State in 2015.

Bayazid’s LinkedIn page shows he lives in Reston and is owner of DC-based LightArt Media Productions.

He and his wife, Samah Safi Bayazid, have a short film scheduled to be shown in Reston later this month as part of the Washington West Film Festival. “Fireplace” will be shown Oct. 27 and 28 at Bowtie Cinemas (11940 Market St.). Bayazid and his wife are advertised to be participating in question-and-answer sessions following the screenings.

According to the description of that film:

Inspired by true events. It is Christmas Eve in Syria. A small kid plays hide and seek with his dad, picking the most unexpected place to hide — the fireplace. As a jet fighter bombards the house, the fireplace stands. But now, the child finds himself trapped and alone.

Bayazid is in intensive care following the attack, the BBC reports.

by RestonNow.com Sponsor — October 2, 2017 at 6:00 am 0

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Story Can Change The World. Learn more about the Washington West Film Festival

by Karen Goff — October 19, 2016 at 2:30 pm 0

All the Presidents' Men/Credit: Washington West Film Festival

The sixth annual Washington West Film Festival returns to Reston and other area locations today with its message “Story Can Change the World.”

On tap are more than 50 films — long, short, documentaries and more. Special event VIPS include Oscar winner Robert Duvall; journalist Bob Woodward; and actor Ed Asner, a consistent supporter of the festival.

Today’s presentations will take place in Arlington. The Reston schedule begins Thursday with Life Animated, a documentary about Owen Suskind, a young man with autism who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. The screening is at 7 p.m. at Bow Tie Cinemas at Reston Town Center.

Check the Washington West schedule for Thursday’s other film screenings.

On Friday, there is a family-friendly screening of SNOWTIME!, an animated movie. That event is free and outdoors in the RTC pavilion. Bring chairs or blankets.

You can also catch Almost Sunrise, the epic journey of ex-soldiers, who battle the moral injuries of war, and the temptation to escape through suicide, as they walk across America; and Endless Night starring Juliette Binoche.

Saturday’s highlights include a George Mason University student film showcase; Midsummer in Newtown, a doc about children in Newtown putting on a play in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shootings; and Win From Within, a presentation of three short films, including one about Maryland tennis star Francis Tiafoe, an immigrant from Sierra Leone.

Also Saturday, a 40th anniversary screening of All the Presidents’ Men, the panel discussion with Woodward; and a VIP party in the Pavilion and the In Conversation and red carpet event with Duvall.

There is a full lineup on Sunday, including a Sound of Music special event at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna, and the headline closing film, Bleed For This, a boxing story from Academy Award-winning Producer Bruce Cohen (Silver Linings Playbook, American Beauty, Milk).

To see the full film festival schedule, see ticket prices and purchase tickets online, visit the Washington West Film Festival online.

Photo: All the Presidents’ Men/Credit: Washington West Film Festival

by Karen Goff — October 10, 2016 at 11:30 am 1 Comment

Robert Duvall/Credit: WW Film Festival

The Washington West Film Festival returns to Reston Oct. 19-25 with more than 50 films chosen to reflect the festival theme of “Story Can Change the World.”

It will also be bringing some high-profile Hollywood and media names.

Academy Award-winning actor, director, and writer, Robert Duvall, who lives in nearby Fauquier County, will speak at an “In Conversation with Robert Duvall” event on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. at Bow Tie Cinemas Reston. Tickets are $45-50 and available online.

Duvall will share multiple on-screen scenes from his career and answer audience questions after each. Scenes from The Godfather and The Apostle will be included in the sampling and conversations about his career.

The Duvall event will immediately follow the festival’s 2016 Best In Achievement Awards presentations, all beginning at 3 p.m. It will be hosted and moderated by Chris King, Director of Birthday, a 50+ award-winning and Oscar-qualified short film.

Following the Duvall talk there will be a red carpet event on Market Street outside the movie theatre. This event is free to the public.

Also at the festival:

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of All the President’s Men with a screening of the movie and a Q-and-A with The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward at Bow Tie on Oct. 22 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $35-40 and available online.

The ticket to the anniversary screening and panel discussion also includes the After-Party at the Reston Town Center Pavilion.  Audience, filmmakers, and VIPs will celebrate the Washington West Film Festival at the Reston Town Center Pavilion on Oct. 22 (9 – 11:30 p.m.). There will be music, dancing, drinks, and food from M & S Grill.

On Oct. 23 at 2 p.m., head over to Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in Vienna (education center) for a a Film Vault Classic conversation about the making of the film classic The Sound of Music with actors Heather Menzies Urich (Louisa von Trapp) and Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich von Trapp). The discussion will be moderated by journalist Fred Bronson (Chart Beat, Billboard Magazine). Questions will be received from the audience. Tickets are $10-12 and available online.

Tickets to the other films from around the world range from free to $20. Some will be shown at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage, as well as at Reston Station and other venues.  Check out the full schedule.

Photo: Robert Duvall/Credit: WW Film Festival  

by RestonNow.com — October 26, 2015 at 11:00 am 0

The Washington West Film Festival wrapped up its final day in Reston on Sunday with a red carpet event at Bow Tie Cinemas at Reston Town Center.

In addition to about 50 short films, documentaries and international films in keeping with the theme “story can change the world,” this year’s festival — the fifth annual — highlighted the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future.

Sunday’s event featured a bunch of DeLoreans, the sportscar that served as the time machine in the movie trilogy, arriving at town center. On hand Sunday were actor Christopher Lloyd, who played Doc Brown in the movies; Back to the Future co-writer Bob Gale; actress Claudia Wells; and special friend of the festival Ed Asner, among other VIPS.

A huge crowd filled Market Street to welcome the DeLoreans and the special guests.

Proceeds from the event benefitted the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Photos courtesy of Vita Images

by Karen Goff — October 23, 2015 at 12:00 pm 0

Coach of the Year/Credit: Washington West Film Fetival

The Washington West Film Festival, going on now in Reston and other Northern Virginia locations, is taking the show (s) on the road Friday night.

There will be free movie screenings at Southgate Community Center, 12125 Pinecrest Rd., beginning at 7 p.m.

Here is what you need to know:

Two short film fest movies will be shown: the animated Taking Flight and Great Britain’s The Gift.

The feature presentation is Coach of the Year, about comedy about a Richmond swim team’s quest to win a state championship even though they have no pool in which to practice.

Coach of the Year Director David Stott will also be in attendance for a Q&A with the audience.

Admission and snacks are free. Donations are accepted, and they will be donated to the Robert Duvall Children’s Fund)

Photo: Coach of the Year/Credit: Washington West Film Festival

by Karen Goff — October 21, 2015 at 1:00 pm 4 Comments

Back to the Future

How much did Back to the Future get correct about life in 2015?

That’s what NBC Nightly News explored on Tuesday, with Reston Town Center and a time machine DeLorean as the backdrop.

Oct. 21, 2015 was the exact date Marty McFly and Doc Brown found themselves in in the second Back to the Future movie. It was a world with drones, hoverboard skateboards, flying cars, video phone calls and the Cubs winning the World Series.

Well, we’re constantly on the video calls and the Cubs, despite being down 3-0 in the National League Championship Series, still have a (slim) shot.

The tricked-out DeLorean — owned by Back to the Future enthusiast Ken Smith — has been at Reston Town Center all week as the Washington West Film Festival prepares to open tonight. A showing of the entire Back to the Future trilogy begins at Bow Tie Cinemas Reston at 7 p.m.

Reston received a proclamation from the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors over the summer ceremoniously changing its name from Reston to Hill Valley, where Back to the Future took place, for the duration of the festival.

Sunday will feature a red carpet screening of the first movie, and a Q-and-A featuring star Christopher Lloyd. That event is sold out.

Check out the NBC News report.

by Heather Mongilio — October 14, 2015 at 1:00 pm 0

Washington West Film Festival/Credit: WW Film FestivalNorthern Virginia moviegoers will be taken back to 1955 and to the hills of Austria, among dozens of other destinations, at the fifth annual Washington West Film Festival.

The festival runs from Oct. 21-27, with movie showings at Bow Tie Cinemas Reston Town Center and other Northern Virginia locations.

The festival kicks off on Oct. 21 with a screening of the Back to the Future trilogy at 7 p.m., said Reston outreach coordinator Andy Sigle. Oct. 21, 2015 is where Marty McFly and Doc Brown landed when they time traveled in Back to the Future.

The film festival will also hold a red carpet showing of the first film on Sunday, and actor Christopher Lloyd, who played Doc and Bob Gale, one of the trilogy’s writers, are expected to attend, Sigle said.

The festival will also feature a 50th anniversary screening of The Sound of Music at The Barns of Wolf Trap on Oct 24 at 7:30 p.m.

The festival includes more than 45 other films, including featured, independent and short films and documentaries. Among the highlights: a showcase of films by George Mason University students; a documentary about Matt Rutherford, the first person to sail alone around North and South America; and a documentary My Friend Ed, about longtime actor Ed Asner the reality behind heroes vs celebrities.

See the full schedule and purchase tickets on the Washington West website.

This year, the festival is trying to reach further in the Reston community, Sigle said. Sigle says there will be streetlight banners at Reston Town Center drawing greater awareness for the event.

“We’re trying to be much more out front with people in the Reston Town Center.”

The festival is reaching out to parts of the Reston community that usually do not attend the festival, such as those living near the Southgate Community Center, Sigle said.

To remedy that, there will be a free screening (donations accepted) at Southgate of Coach of the Year, a movie about a swim team struggling to practice without having a pool, at the center. Two short films, Taking Flight and The Gift, will also be shown.

“We’ll take the film festival to that area of Reston instead of hoping that area will come to us,” Sigle said.

The proceeds of this year’s festival will go the Robert Duvall Children’s Fund.

“It is kind of cool that the festival combines the love of the arts and philanthropy,” Sigle said.

by Karen Goff — October 6, 2015 at 3:00 pm 2,749 6 Comments

Back to the Future/Credit : Universal Pictures

Reston is going Back to the Future.

In honor of the Washington West Film Festival’s fifth birthday and the movie Back to Future’s 30th anniversary, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in July passed a resolution symbolically changing Reston’s name during the five days of the Washington West Film Festival.

The film festival, running at Reston’s Bow Tie Cinema, among other Northern Virginia locations, begins Oct. 21.

Hill Valley was the name of the town where Back to the Future hero Marty McFly lived. And the date, Oct. 21. 2015, was the exact spot on the calendar where the DeLorean deposited Marty and Doc in the movie.

Washington West will host two Back to the Future events at Bow Tie Reston: A trilogy marathon on Oct. 21, as well as a red carpet screening of Back to the Future Part 1 on Sunday, Oct. 25.

Scheduled to appear at the Oct. 25 screening: Actor Christopher Lloyd (Doc); trilogy co-writer and producer Bob Gale; Claudia Wells (Marty’s girlfriend in Part 1); and others.

Box office proceeds from the Oct. 25 red carpet screening will benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

“Back To The Future represents for us the idea of dreaming what could be, and the potential personal impact every individual can have on the future,” says Washington West Founder and President Brad Russell. “Washington West is entirely about inspiring innovative ways to change our future and our world.”

See the full lineup of events and films on Washington West’s website.

Photo: Back to the Future/Credit : Universal Pictures 

by Karen Goff — October 21, 2014 at 9:30 am 0

Bow Tie CinemaThe Washington West Film Festival — which screens films with the theme “Story Can Change the World” returns to Reston and other area locations later this week.

This is the fourth annual Washington West Film Festival, which was founded by Dulles Community Church Pastor and area resident Brad Russell.

One hundred percent of the net proceeds of the film festival are donated to nonprofits benefitting children in poverty. This year’s charity is One Voice.

Here is what you need to know about some of the festival highlights:

The Feature Narrative film headliner is Revenge of the Green Dragons, produced by acclaimed filmmaker Martin Scorsese. The film recently premiered at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival. The movie, based on a true story, is about two brothers who immigrate to New York in the 1980s.  The film will screen Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Bow Tie Cinemas Reston. Click here for ticket information.

The Documentary film Generosity of Eye, directed by Brad Hall and starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, will be the closing night feature on Sunday. Both Hall and wife Louis-Dreyfus have been supporters of the festival. They aired the short film Picture Paris, and participated in an audience Q-and-A, in 2012. The movie is about the vast art collection of Louis-Dreyfus’ father, William, who sells the collection to create an endowment for the Harlem Children’s Zone. Click here for ticket information.

Other Reston events at Bow Tie Cinemas:

Thursday, Oct. 23, 7:00 p.m. — Opening Night Film, Alive Inside, winner of 2014 Sundance Audience Award. Reception with special music guest Justin Trawick.

Saturday., Oct. 25, 4:30 p.m. — Behind the Scenes with Hollywood Legends. Meet Hollywood actor Ed Asner (Up, Mary Tyler Moore”) and Emmy-award winning composer W.G Snuffy Walden (“The West Wing,” Nashville, Friday Night Lights, and The Wonder Years. Walden will score scenes live for the audience.

Sunday, Oct 26, 12:00 p.m. — Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Mary Poppins.

There will also be a festival kickoff party Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at The Hamilton in Washington D.C. Los Angeles recording artist Sara Niemietz and  Walden (The West Wing, Nashville, Wonder Years, Under The Dome), will perform and set the tone for the week of celebrating the power of story at the festival.

More than a dozen other films will be screened in Reston and at the Angelika Film Center in Merrifield. See the entire film lineup on the Washington West Film Festival website.

by Karen Goff — June 3, 2014 at 11:00 am 0

Mark Maxey, a Washington West Film Festival board member, interviews Ed Asner/Credit: WWFF

Emmy-award winning actor Ed Asner joined organizers of the Washington West Film Festival in Northern Virginia last week at a festival fundraiser.

Asner, whose short film Good Men was screened last year during the Festival, said he was impressed with the Festival and its mission and volunteered to help raise money for the October festival that takes place in Reston and other Northern Virginia locations.   

Held at the Tower Club, the private fundraiser with a variety of local business leaders featured a Q & A session with Asner.

The fourth annual Washington West Film Festival,taking place Oct. 22-26, 2014 in locations throughout Northern Virginia including the Reston Bow Tie Theater.

The festival’s motto is “Story Can Change the World,” and the festival will feature more than 40 films along that theme.

In keeping with the festival’s vision, all box office net proceeds will be donated to a charity that then becomes the subject of a short film debuting at the festival. Last year, proceeds benefitted Shelter House, a local nonprofit working to alleviate homelessness. 

The lineup of films for the 2014 festival will be announced at a later date.

Photo: Yorktel’s Mark Maxey, a Washington West Film Festival board member, interviews Ed Asner at festival fundraiser/Credit: Washington West Film Festival


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