Seven awards were presented at the 2020 Alexandria Film Festival Awards Ceremony, attended virtually by all winning filmmakers from Los Angeles to Israel. The ceremony was held November 22 and can be viewed at AlexFilmFest.com. The 14th annual festival featured more than 40 films – all still viewable online until midnight, Nov. 26.
“9 to 5: The Story of a Movement” by Oscar-winning directors Julia Reichert and Steve Bognar took top honors with the Best in Fest award. The documentary traces the history of the women’s labor movement through interviews with the 9 to 5 labor organization founders. Reichert said “It is such an honor when so many great films were screened at this festival.”
Oscar-nominated director Roko Belic’s film “Trust Me,” produced by Joe Phelps, edited by Michael Fallavollita, looks at how misinformation contributes to the gap between perception and reality. It took home the Joe Cantwell Award for Documentary Excellence. It’s wonderful to be here and be recognized,” said Belic. “But I so wish we could be in the dark theater again watching these great films.”
“Beat the Machine” by Shannon Washington, set to the music of Aaron Copland’s John Henry: A Railroad Ballad for Orchestra won Best of the Region Award. The film is also part of a collaboration between the festival and the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra that will come to fruition in 2021.
Foreign film honors went to “Snowland,” a feature from Israel by Jonni Zicoltz, while the Special Jury Award went to “Anacronte,” an animated film by Argentinian filmmakers Raul Koler and Emiliano Sette.
New this year, the festival gave an Outstanding Performance Award to Director Lawrence Whitemer and Roger Kabler for his acting in “Saving Robin Williams.”
The film that received the most votes from viewers, “The Legacy Sessions,” was honored with the festival’s Audience Award and $100. Directed by local filmmaker David Ashton, the film stars actors from Northern Virginia, once again demonstrating the wealth of creative talent in the region.
Finally, a special “Superstar of the Decade” award went to Alexandria producer, AFF Alumnus and Awardee, Joe Cantwell, for his support as industry adviser and donor over the last ten years, since his film “Ride the Divide” won in 2010.
“While we all wish we could have conducted the Alexandria Film Festival and our awards in person, the online event was a huge success thanks to the quality of the films, the enthusiasm of the viewing public, and the generosity of our sponsors and the city of Alexandria,” said AFF chair Margaret Wohler.
The public can check out the award-winning films and all others in the 2020 festival through Thanksgiving Day, November 26 at https://alexfilmfest.com/.