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
Traffic on N. Lynn Street in Rosslyn is backed up to the Marine Corps War Memorial as of 10 a.m. this morning.
The unusually-heavy, post-rush-hour traffic may be due in part to road closures across the Key Bridge in Georgetown, where Wonder Woman 2 is currently filming. (See tweets, below.)
Police are posted at the busy intersection of N. Lynn Street and Wilson Blvd to help control traffic.
Adding to the driving woes, a crash between a bus and another vehicle was reported on Lynn Street around 9:30 a.m.
They’re getting started on the Commander Salamander shoot. They’ve got a whole bunch of vintage cars with old plates on P St. and an old phone booth. pic.twitter.com/6GunmdHXsx
— Topher Mathews (@GeorgetownMet) June 14, 2018
Update at 10:30 a.m. — The backups have largely cleared up.
On Memorial Day weekend, Solo: A Star Wars Story opens nationwide and at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse.
As part of the Arlington Drafthouse summer first release series — we are thrilled to feature this highly anticipated film.
The Arlington Drafthouse is the most unique social experience to enjoy the next installment of Lucas Films’ Star Wars anthology series. The early reviews are in and there is reason for excitement… and intrigue.
“Bold” is how Entertainment Tonight describes this film, hinting that there are many surprise twists that deeply affect the Star Wars universe. ET cautions not to read any spoilers before seeing the film. Not to worry no spoilers here.
“Exceeded Expectations” is how One Minute Movie Review describes the film. Having first been worried because of the change of directors mid filming to Ron Howard — One Minute Movie Review declares this film their favorite of all the Star Wars films produced by Disney.
“This is the Chewbacca Movie” is how Ron Weston from ET describes positively describes the film. He says it is a “heist” movie set in the Star Wars universe. Which also sets up sequels for the Solo franchise. Read More
From The West Wing to The Pelican Brief, Arlington has been home to a number of film scenes over the years.
The county’s tourism promotion agency, StayArlington, listed several notable locations in a recent blog post, and ARLnow hit the pavement to find some of the more famous sites.
Few political junkies have forgotten the famous attempted assassination scene in The West Wing, which was filmed in Rosslyn’s Freedom Park.
Other memorable sites include scenes from Charlie Wilson’s War, which was filmed at Rosslyn’s The Weslie Condominiums, from The Next Karate Kid and Flags of Our Fathers, both of which shot scenes at the Marine Corps War Memorial, according to StayArlington.
The Ballston Common Mall — now Ballston Quarter — parking garage is said to have been the set for a scene in The Pelican Brief. The Russell Crowe thriller State of Play, meanwhile, included scenes at the Rosslyn Metro station and the Americana Hotel in Crystal City.
Any other famous scenes we missed on our tour? Let us know in the comments.
(Updated at 8:30 p.m.) An older office building in Crystal City may be converted into apartments, and developer JBG Smith is soliciting public feedback on the project.
JBG Smith is looking to convert a 12-story office building at 1750 Crystal Drive into a 21-story residential building. The building, across from the Crystal City Water Park, would be 257 feet in height.
In the first phase of the “Central District” project, a new 74,000 square foot, street facing retail area would be built, reportedly anchored by an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. The retail area may also include a smaller-format grocery store, like a Trader Joe’s.
A JBG Smith presentation says the project would include “delivery of nine screen Alamo Drafthouse Theater that shows first run and art house films as well as dining, entertainment, and event space hosting.” According to the feedback website, JBG is hoping to start construction in the fall and to have the theater open by the spring of 2020.
As part of the project, a two story, 16,000 square foot retail building would be built at the corner of 18th Street S. and Crystal Drive — next to a proposed second Crystal City Metro entrance — with renderings showing an sizable outdoor dining area adjacent to it.
Feedback from JBG’s online portal is helping to shape the development, said a representative for the company that created the portal.
“It’s a new approach for the developer, which added online outreach to the traditional process involving community meetings,” said the rep. “Over 1,600 people have interacted with the Central District at Crystal City website… Based on the feedback, JBG Smith has committed to providing seating, plantings, and seasonal events in the plaza.”
“The developer is also recruiting a full-service grocery store, which online voters said was the most important element to make the spot a neighborhood destination,” he added.
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
By Greg Godbout
37 years ago the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse opened as a second-run movie theater (1 to 3 months old) and has never played first-run movies (released in the first week). Until now! Next week — we are proud to present Star Wars: The Last Jedi. At the same release date as other theaters. Although it almost didn’t happen.
A year ago this month, we made the decision to become a first-run movie theater, because online streaming of films has cut out the second-run theater window. Our style of showing films vanished from the industry. The switch to first-run was made this summer (May 2017), and the timing was bad. This was the worst summer for the entire movie industry in 25 years. We could have done without that.
While suffering through a tragic summer movie season we experimented with arthouse films and top box office films. The top box office films performed better. The goal was to also try some first-run films in their first week of release — unfortunately, the studios wouldn’t give us early access to films. It was a difficult uphill battle. Many studios insisted that we pick between movies or live comedy. Fox Studios and Warner Brothers were the most difficult.
For the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse to thrive, we need both movies and live comedy. We are the only theater in the country to balance top national release films and top national touring comics. Our unique balance puts us at odds with the large corporate movie studios, even though we depend on them.
Disney came to our rescue. After politely declining our request to play Star Wars a couple of times, Disney ultimately agreed. They too wanted to see how we could do with a first-release blockbuster. After months of experimentation — the largest and most dominant studio helped us out.
Our experiment with Star Wars will inform many programing decisions as we move forward. So please join us and let us know what you think. This winter our programing will center on national live comedy and Oscar nominated films. If Star Wars does well, we will add stretches of movies to our line up in the summer — that are true first-run films.
Based on current pre-sales for Star Wars, it is going to be a successful experiment for us. We provide an amazing social movie experience and can’t wait to see you here. We will have Star Wars drink specials and, as always, full tableside service. Tickets will be $10 with $8 matinees.
Please help us out by purchasing tickets in advance and plan on watching Star Wars at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse this holiday season. We do not show ads or trailers so the movie start time is the actual start time. Please arrive early.
The iconic local business will show “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” from December 14 until January 11. Customers are being asked to buy tickets in advance due to high anticipated demand.
Due to what organizers called the “special screening nature” of the film, tickets cost $10 in the evening and $8 for matinees.
It comes as part of the Drafthouse’s decision to shift to playing movies on a first-run basis, meaning it has quicker access to films.
Owner Greg Godbout has said that the rise of video on-demand services has hurt its previous business model of showing mainstream movies several months after the initial release.
Income from the movie could be small for the Drafthouse, however, as like all movie theaters it reportedly must turn over at least 65 percent of revenue generated by ticket sales to Disney, which owns the Star Wars franchise.
The Drafthouse is making the most of its Star Wars deal, holding dozens of screenings and even offering the chance to host Star Wars-themed parties for businesses. Via a Drafthouse email forwarded to ARLnow.com:
Host a STAR WARS PARTY!!! Is your company looking for a fun alternative holiday party? The Drafthouse can accommodate your group with our restaurant style seating, giant screen, no hassle buffet style catering options as well as our FULL BAR!! Give your employee’s the gift of a private screening.
Availability: Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm. December 15th – January 11th.
Contact us: [email protected] for a full offering of catering, bar and rental options.
The Arlington League of Women Voters is hosting a free screening of a new Zach Galifianakis film.
Better known for comedies like The Hangover and The Campaign, Galifianakis tackled the serious topic of gerrymandering and money in politics in his new film, “Democracy for Sale.”
The League is sponsoring the film’s screening at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) on Wednesday, Sept. 27.
More from an email from LWV:
A border and barbeque aren’t the only things Virginia and North Carolina have in common. The two states also have some of the most gerrymandered districts in the country. Cozy relationships between regulators and industry are another commonality. A new film called Democracy for Sale featuring NC native and comedian Zach Galifianakis puts a spotlight on the ways big money political interests have influenced the drawing of district lines and led to a lack of environmental protection and tax cuts for the upper class and corporations, education cuts, gerrymandering, and laws designed to decrease voter turnout.
After a successful tour of Democracy for Sale in North Carolina, we’re excited to bring the film to Virginia on a statewide tour beginning on September 19th. The showings are presented by the Virginia Civic Engagement Table in partnership with local organizations throughout the state. Each screening event will be followed by a Q&A and discussion with local leaders.
While the film focuses on NC as a case study, the parallels to Virginia are innumerable. We hope these screenings will shed light on the similarities and show audiences how to get involved in demanding reform.
Come and bring your friends!
Photo via League of Women Voters