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Alexandria Film Festival Opens Nov. 4

Free Opening Night Reception at the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town

The fourth annual Alexandria Film Festival — a tribute to cinematic art, featuring emerging and established filmmakers from all over the world -- will be held on Thursday, Nov. 4 through Sunday, Nov. 7 in and around Alexandria.

More than 100 high-quality, independent, short and feature length films, documentaries, animation and narrative entries were submitted this year — some from as far away as Spain and India.

"That tells us that the Alexandria Film Festival is earning a reputation on the world stage of cinematic competition," said Pat Miller, chair of the Alexandria Commission for the Arts.

Opening at the Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 Union St., on Thursday, Nov. 4, the 2010 Film Festival exhibits both curated and juried films ranging in length from 5 minutes to 2 hours, covering a wide range of subject matter. This year, the Alexandria Film Festival’s Program and Executive Committees selected over 35 films to be shown.

Opening night features the Washington, D.C., premiere of "Griefwalker" and "Ride the Divide." Following each screening, the filmmakers and Stephen Jenkinson, who will talk about his revolutionary approach to grief and our understanding of death, will be in attendance to discuss their films.

"Griefwalker," is a feature-length documentary by the award-winning filmmaker Tim Wilson, who set his lens on his friend Stephen Jenkinson, a Harvard educated theologian and one of Canada’s leading palliative care educators. Jenkinson, who travels throughout Canada providing grief counseling, believes that in order to love life, we need to love death.

"Ride the Divide," directed by cinematographer Hunter Weeks, is a visually stunning film about a 2,700-mile mountain bike race through the entire Rocky Mountain range weaving three characters’ experiences with immense mountain beauty and small town culture as they all attempt to pedal from Banff, Canada, to the Mexican border.

"Leading Ladies" will make its premiere with the exuberant story of a family of ballroom dancers who ‘let love lead’ to what they are each meant to be. The film offers extraordinary dancing by three stars that will be on hand after the screening on Friday, Nov. 5, to give a live demonstration of an art form at the pinnacle of its popularity.

Top films will be honored with cash awards in the following categories: The Jury Prize, The Audience Award and the Best of Fest Award.

For a complete schedule of Film Festival activities, including opening night reception, special events, film screenings, ticket information and festival locations, visit www.AlexandriaFilm.org.