About two-third of the way through Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf offers Frodo some encouragement as the hobbit despairs that he lives in difficult times.
“So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
It’s a line that might as well be aimed at the staff of Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike), who are starting their return to showing films with a Lord of the Rings trilogy screening as part of a tiring struggle to stay afloat amid COVID-19.
“We are hanging in there,” said Tim Clark, owner of the venue. “It’s not pretty, but we’re starting to see people coming back out.”
Events at the drafthouse are still operating at under 30% capacity to allow for social distancing which, if every show is a sell out, is financially is just treading water.
“Right now trying to go through grant process, but it’s not sustainable,” Clark said. “I don’t think many restaurant theater business operations are built to run on 30%. And that’s 30% if we sell out, and we’re not selling out every show. If you take averages and you’re at 20%, it’s really not sustainable.”
Clark said March will be the trial run for starting movies again, noting that the recent rolling back of curfews and restaurant restrictions should help smooth operations at the venue.
“We’re trying to be more creative for movies,” Clark said. “There’s limited content because studios aren’t releasing much.”
The first event will be a Lord of the Rings Trilogy festival on March 7. Tickets are $10 for all day access and the event will feature themed specials. Attendees are also encouraged to dress in costumes — with masks required — and winners of a costume contest will receive prizes.
The movies start at noon with Fellowship of the Ring, then 3:15 p.m. for Two Towers and 6:30 p.m. for Return of the King. The films will be the theatrical cuts rather than the full 11.3 hour extended editions, but Clark said that mostly came down to crunching the times.
Other movies throughout March include:
- March 8: Womens Adventure Film Tour 2021
- March 17: St. Patrick’s Day — Boondock Saints
- March 20: Notting Hill
- March 21: Bridesmaid’s Brunch
- March 22: Trainwreck
- March 24: Wednesday Wine Night — 50 Shades of Gray
Clark said comedy acts at Arlington Drafthouse have helped carry the venue through the last few months.
“We’re starting to see a little bit more activity for some of the bigger name comics,” Clark said. “People have been following the rules and we’ve had good audiences. There are people that are excited to get back out and we’re hearing from people who aren’t ready to get back out but are excited to support us.”
Comedy acts coming up over the next month include:
- Feb. 26: Tony Woods
- March 5: Rosebud Baker
- March 11: Counter Currents LIVE Comedy Showcase
- March 12: Clint Coley
- March 14: Matt Bergman and Mark Riccadonna
- March 18: Chad Daniels
- March 26: Sean Patton
The full calendar of events is available online, and Clark said he’s starting to book events into June. In the meantime, the drafthouse is going to keep applying for grants and hoping for the best with vaccinations and the COVID recovery.
“We’ve applied for an SVOG grant, which is basically for theatrical venues, live entertainment, and they haven’t quite got the application ready yet but we’re headed in that direction,” Clark said. “Hoping that carries us through, but just buying time.”
An Arlington resident has produced a new documentary about the mesmerizing world of synchronized skating.
“Life in Synchro,” partly filmed at the MedStar Capitals IcePlex in Ballston, will be screened locally at the DC Independent Film Festival on Saturday, March 7. Rosslyn resident Nicole Davies produced the film while fellow American University alum Angela Pinaglia directed it.
The female-dominated sport, in which teams of eight to 20 skaters perform formations and step sequences in-sync to music, is little-known to most people, the filmmakers said. When Pinaglia was doing research for the film, she could not find any previous documentaries or films based on synchronized skating.
We talked with both filmmakers about the documentary and the sport.
How did you get involved in the project?
Nicole: I have been a synchronized skater since I was nine years old. Angela and I met at American University and we were working together for the school communication summer program. I was always talking about synchronized skating and Angela didn’t really care until about three years ago. Angela saw it for the first time in Arlington. She realized then when she saw it how special it was.
Angela: When you’re in the ice rink you can literally feel a wall of wind as sixteen skaters are skating past you on the ice, so it’s a very immersive experience. I turned to Nicole afterwards and I said this is really cool, [and that] we should do a documentary.
An Arlington waiter’s short film about life in the local restaurant industry is one of the contenders in a new diversity-focused film competition.
Isa Seyran’s Another Day is Over is now available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video as part of the All Voices Film Festival — an Amazon Prime short-film competition focusing on U.S. filmmakers from underrepresented backgrounds. The grand prize for the competition is $25,000.
The film looks at the lives of a handful of people connected by late shifts at a local restaurant. It focuses on their private conflicts and family interactions outside of the restaurant, like a young Salvadoran busboy who spurns his native language and culture.
“It is about the hard working mostly undocumented immigrants living in fear in the age of Trump,” Seyran said in an email to ARLnow.
Seyran said the story is hyper-local and celebrates the diversity of Arlington and Washington, D.C.
“I have been working in and around Washington’s restaurants for coming close to two decades now,” Seyran said. “We just wanted to tell a simple, honest and humble story about the people who work long days and long hours. Our film is a love letter to the restaurant industry.”
The film is streaming online until Monday, June 24.
“This film, for me, is simply an attempt to understand the times that we are going through and the society that we live in,” said Seyran.
Photo courtesy George Kolotov
(Updated on 05/22/19) Rosslyn’s annual outdoor movie festival is returning to Gateway Park (1300 Lee Highway) starting next month.
“Every Friday this summer in Gateway Park, bring a blanket or low chairs and a group of friends and enjoy a night under the stars with your favorite movies,” the event’s website says. “Movies start at dusk, but the fun starts at 5 p.m. with games and our Pub in the Park. This event is kid and dog friendly.”
During the events attendees can “enjoy some popcorn from Popped Republic and food from local food trucks.” A spokeswoman told ARLnow that attendees can also get 10 percent off their bill at the nearby Continental Pool Lounge or Beer Garden if they mention they’re at the outdoor festival, and will also be able to order a “special, movie-themed cocktail.”
The film schedule is as follows.
- June 7 — Spider Man: into the Spider-Verse
- June 14 — Paddington
- June 21 — Casablanca
- June 28 — Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
- July 5 — Crazy Rich Asians
- July 12 — Incredibles 2
The June 14 and July 12 movies — Paddington and Incredibles 2 — are “special family nights,” according to the website. If there’s a chance of rain, organizers will announce cancellations by 3 p.m. on the event website.
Photo via Rosslyn BID
Pentagon Ricin Case Update — “Letters sent to the White House and the Pentagon did not contain a finished form of ricin, law enforcement officials said Wednesday, but did contain a primitive form or precursor… A man was arrested in Logan, Utah, on Wednesday in connection with [the] suspicious letters.” [NBC News, NBC News]
Candidates Call for Speedier Lee Highway Planning — “Indications are pointing to redevelopment of significant portions of the Lee Highway corridor through Arlington beginning to gather steam. But is the Arlington County government going to be left behind as the process grinds on? The two candidates for County Board say the local government needs to get moving on its efforts to lead a comprehensive effort in helping plan the corridor’s future.” [InsideNova]
GMU ‘No Scooter Zone’ Nixed — George Mason University “recognizes the popularity of the scooters, so it is softening the message, [spokesman Buzz] McClain said. ‘I think the ‘no scooter zone’ sign got the attention of a lot of people, a little exclamatory. So we’re gonna tone down the messaging and say, ‘park the scooters over by the bikes,’ and that’s it.'” [NBC Washington]
Tonight: Family Film Showing in Clarendon — “Join Market Common Clarendon each Thursday in October starting at 6:30 p.m. for a FREE family-friendly movie on The Loop! Pre-movie fun begins at 4:30 with face painting and balloon twisting and free popcorn and candy from 6-8 p.m.” [ARLnow Events]
Teachers Endorse Kanninen, de Ferranti — The Arlington Education Association PAC has endorsed Democratic candidate Matt de Ferranti for Arlington County Board and incumbent Barbara Kanninen for School Board. The PAC represents Arlington teachers. [Twitter, Twitter, Arlington Education Association]
Domestic Violence Awareness Month Kickoff — “Project PEACE is hosting Kate Ranta, a local domestic and gun violence survivor… for a community conversation about sex, violence and the Arlington community. The event takes place [on] Thursday, October 4 [at] 6:30 p.m., at the Walter Reed Community Center.” [Press Release]
Arlington’s Pros and Cons Compared to Tysons — “‘Arlington has old office spaces with bad floor plans,’ said [GMU Professor Stephen] Fuller. ‘That’s sending people out to Tysons, which has newer office space… [But] when Amazon was looking at Northern Virginia, they were looking at Crystal City, not Tysons. Tysons just doesn’t offer lifestyle that they’re looking for.'” [Tysons Reporter]
Judge Dismisses Dewey Horse Punch Case — A man who was accused of punching a police horse in Dewey Beach is now trying to clear his name after the case was dismissed. Surveillance video reportedly exonerated the man, who might not actually be from Arlington as originally reported. [Cape Gazette]
Rosslyn Transportation Meeting Tonight — “Join Arlington County and the Rosslyn BID to provide feedback at this public meeting that will focus on the Core of Rosslyn Transportation Study. This study will examine the feasibility and potential impacts of permanent changes to the street network in the core of Rosslyn, with the goals of improving safety and accessibility for all users, including those walking, biking, using transit and driving.” [Rosslyn]
Another Commute Alternative: Running — As Metro continues on a downward ridership spiral, some are finding running to be an attractive commuting alternative, providing exercise and fresh air while eliminating costs and unpredictable delays. [Runners World]
Angels of the Battlefield Gala Tonight — The Armed Services YMCA will present its annual Angels of the Battlefield awards tonight during a gala at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City. Among the 2018 recipients of the prestigious awards are Senior Airman Linda Wilson, who helped save lives during the Las Vegas mass shooting last year. [ASYMCA, Air Force Times]
New Film Fest Coming to Clarendon — “Georgetown’s Halcyon and Arlington’s Clarendon Ballroom will be the venues for a new film festival – Flicks4Change — that links the entertainment world with charitable activism. The film festival first started in Los Angeles, expanded to Australia and now comes to the DC area.” [Georgetown Dish]
Nearby: Pete’s Apizza Closes in Md. — Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza has closed its Silver Spring location. The D.C. and Clarendon locations remain open. [Bethesda Beat]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
The Found Footage Festival is coming to Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) with a new “After Dark” show.
The festival is a touring showcase of VHS footage, from the strange to the hilarious. Many are found in garage sales, thrift stores and dumpsters across North America, then curated by The Onion and The Colbert Report veterans Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher.
The After Dark show compiles 25 years of footage collections into a show that includes live commentary and where-are-they-now updates.
The show at the Drafthouse is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $14.
Highlights of “After Dark” include:
- The intro video for a hunky tag team wrestling duo from Memphis called The Fabulous One
- A fitness program featuring Angela Lansbury in a bubble bath
- The foul-mouthed outtakes of Winnebago pitch man Jack Rebney
- A young Arnold Schwarzenegger seductively feeding a woman a carrot in a 1984 travel video for Rio de Janeiro
Photo via Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse
Rosslyn’s annual outdoor film festival is returning to Gateway Park this June.
All of the screenings will begin at dusk, but moviegoers can attend events at 5 p.m. each screening evening and buy beer, wine, or sangria at a mobile pub. Local food trucks and popcorn will also be available for purchase.
The events at the park, at 1300 Lee Highway, are both kid and pet friendly. There will be kids activities before the movie begins on June 29, July 13, and August 17.
The festival, sponsored by the Rosslyn Business Improvement District, will be screening the following dozen movies over the summer, every Friday from June 8-August 24.
- June 8 – Legally Blonde
- June 15 – Wonder
- June 22 – The Fifth Element
- June 29 – Ratatouille
- July 6 – Bridesmaids
- July 13 – Coco
- July 20 – Amelie
- July 27 – La La Land
- August 3 – Argo
- August 10 – Lethal Weapon
- August 17 – The Lion King
- August 24 – Four Weddings and a Funeral
Events will be cancelled if there is a chance of rain, with a Rosslyn website update by 3 p.m that day.
Photo courtesy of the Rosslyn BID
An Arlington filmmaker is back on the film circuit, this time showcasing a film tackling end-of-life care issues.
The movie, “Nothing to Do,” centers on a radio D.J. who has take care of his dying father. Director Mike Kravinsky was inspired in part by taking care of his own father during his final weeks.
“It was frightening and challenging, but unbelievably rewarding, to be there for my dad at the end,” Kravinsky said. “Even though this very sad thing is happening, life goes on.”
To prepare for filming, Kravinsky interviewed doctors and funeral directors about a family’s experience at the end of a parent’s life, including the inevitable and emotional fighting that was a reoccurring scene in the movie.
Filmmaking was a career change for Kravinsky, a Lyon Village resident who worked for ABC News in D.C. as an editor for 30 years before accepting a buyout in 2010.
“In the back of my mind I always had this thing, like ‘film making is so cool,'” said Kravinsky. “I just gave this a shot and it’s been really gratifying, really rewarding for me.”
The film will be screened this Friday and Sunday (March 2 and March 4) at the Durango Independent Film Festival in Colo., and it was just screened at the Beaufort International Film Festival in Beaufort, S.C., where it was nominated for best actor/director.
Kravinsky said more film festivals have been interested in “Nothing to Do” than his previous film “Geographically Desirable” which came out in 2015.
“Nothing to Do” won the Special Jury Award at Virginia’s Alexandria Film Festival. It was also a finalist at the Cinequest Screenplay Competition in San Jose, Calif., and an honorable mention at the TrackingB Screenplay Competition in Los Angeles.
Kravinsky said he hopes he can bring the film back to the D.C. area and is currently applying for different screenings nearby.
Photos courtesy of Mike Kravinsky
The Rosebud Film Festival, which honors the “innovative, unusual, experimental, and deeply personal” in film, will run Friday (January 26) through Sunday (January 28).
The festival, put on by Arlington Independent Media, will screen 34 films across three different showings — Friday at 7:15 p.m. and Saturday at 8:15 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for one film screening block cost $15, or viewers can pay $40 for the whole weekend. The screenings will be held at the Miracle Theater in Washington, D.C. (535 8th Street SE).
On Sunday, AIM will host two free panel discussions, entitled “Student Filmmaking: From the Classroom to the Real World!” at 12 p.m. and “What Critics Look For?” at 2 p.m. An awards ceremony at the Clarendon Ballroom will follow that day, with the top five films set to each receive a $1,000 cash prize.
This year was a bit different for the festival as it expanded accepted entries from the world. Before, it only accepted films from people living in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
As a result, festival director Kevin Sampson said the submissions nearly doubled. Some of the themes in this year’s films include politics, identity, gender and sexuality.
One film titled “A Name that I Admire” follows a seventh-generation dairy farmer in Virginia as he decides who to vote for in 2016 election. An animated film also reflects on today’s politics in a project titled “Trump’s Got No Tact.”
Another film “Spectrum” is a documentary focusing on the social, political and spiritual world of 10 transgender people living in Israel.
Sampson said one of the best things about Rosebud is that it’s different from other mainstream festivals and movie viewings.
“Coming out to Rosebud you really get to hear from these artists that are speaking from their hearts,” he said. “I think if people want to be entertained as well as challenged that Rosebud is the perfect fit in terms as a festival to come out to and check out.”
Photo via Rosebud Film Festival