Film fest makes triumphant return

By Ryan Cornell

After the resounding success of last year’s inaugural Skyline Indie Film Fest, organizers were left with the task of replicating that success and meeting heightened expectations.

It’s clear that they’ve had no trouble doing just that.

Not only has the festival doubled its amount of films shown, from 26 to more than 50, and added new events to its lineup, but also ticket sales are at an all-time high, according to Festival Director Brian Patrick.

“We’ve already surpassed more passes this year than we did all last year,” he said. “At this point last year, I don’t think we sold any passes at all.”

The independent film festival, hosted in multiple venues throughout Winchester, will run Thursday through Sunday.

Festival weekend kicks off with a cinema-themed trivia night at the Village Market & Bistro at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Teams who answer the most movie-related questions correctly can win prizes.

Then at 8:15 p.m. Saturday at the Dharma Studio, a panel of filmmakers, including “Grounded” director Sean Patrick Crowell, “Twenty-One Questions” director Micah Troublefield and “The Karaoke King” director J.J. Ruscella, will answer questions from audience members. Last year, Ruscella won overall festival winner, Troublefield won best story and Crowell won fan favorite for their films.

Both events, new additions to this year’s Skyline film festival, are free to attend.

As far as the movies being shown, Patrick said nearly all of the programming has been released within the past two years and is undistributed and can’t be found anywhere other than the festival circuit.

“Not many options on viewing these films,” he said. “Some of these will be the Virginia premiere, some the East Coast premiere and some the U.S. premiere.”

One of the films, “Before I Disappear,” a drama starring Ron Perlman, Emmy Rossum and Shawn Christensen, won the fan favorite award at the South By Southwest festival and was recently picked up by the IFC Films distribution company.

“We were concerned we wouldn’t be able to show it because it has international distribution,” Patrick said. “…Now it’s a chance for our audience to see it before it gets distributed.”

The movie, about a man asked to look after his niece while at the rock bottom of his life, will be screened three times, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Friday and at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The venues where movies are screened include the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Dharma Studio, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Bright Box Theater, Handley Regional Library, Posh Pets Boutique, Espresso Bar & Cafe, eM and Old Post Office.

Patrick said the limited sizes of the venues make for a more intimate movie-watching experience.

“We’re almost exclusively using small venues,” he said. “Maybe not one or two venues that sit 40 or 50 people outside of the Alamo [Drafthouse], which makes us pretty unique.”

Twitter users can follow along with updates and news of the festival by using the hashtag, #FosterTheIndieSpirit.

For more information on the Skyline Indie Film Fest, visit their website at http://tiny.cc/8uemlx.

To purchase tickets and passes, visit their Eventbrite page at bit.ly/1unGvlF