By Josette Keelor
Last year, the Skyline Indie Film Fest got creative in its concept of screening films at area businesses. This year, founder Brian Patrick plans to do it all again, but this time bigger -- more films, more venues and more experiences.
And pulling in five submissions before its kickoff party last Saturday, Patrick said, "We already had a running head start."
As with the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Skyline's charm is in its location.
"We're not just bound to a theater," Patrick said. "We just used what we had available."
Last year that meant showing films at various businesses along the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall in downtown Winchester and at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Kernstown.
They showed 26 films submitted from all around the world, each one twice at eight different locations over three days. They sold more than 500 tickets, and according to Patrick every screening had an audience.
"That was a real sense of accomplishment," he said.
Then the requests started flooding in from new vendors wanting to host this year, intrigued once they saw how they might creatively host films for variously sized audiences.
Lanette Orduna, co-owner of Posh Pets Boutique in Winchester, hosted several screenings last year and said she's signed up for this year too.
A member of the Old Town Business Association, she said she learned about the festival last year after it was presented at a meeting.
"We just heard about it and thought it would be a great idea," she said. Hosting one of the smaller venues, she said seating could have accommodated about 24 to 30 people in multiple showings over two days, but Posh Pets never sold out.
But it was the first year, she said. "We're hoping if everyone participates again, we can just make it better."
The festival is accepting bids for screening venues, and Patrick said it plans to accept twice as many films.
"Our goal I think would be to show 50 films this year," he said.
The submission season will be a month shorter this year, ending July 1 instead of Aug. 15, a move he said will give film screeners more time. All other submission rules are the same. Nothing is excluded from consideration as long as the film is new in the last three years.
"We want to keep it relatively current," he said.
"I think what I want for Skyline is integrity," said Patrick. "We want the films that we decide are winners to be exemplary in some way."
For more information, visit skylineindiefilmfest.org.
Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org>