Sprout Film Festival returns to area theaters

The Sprout Film Festival runs through Friday at multiple locations in Winchester and one in Woodstock.

Although the national film festival has been hosted in New York City for more than a decade, this is the fourth year the festival has been brought to the area.

Nichole Pangle, executive director of the Arc of Northern Shenandoah Valley, said the purpose of the festival is to showcase individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

“The whole guiding principle is making the invisible visible,” she said. “There are plenty of Hollywood movies that someone, like Sean Penn or Cuba Gooding Jr. in ‘Radio,’ plays someone with developmental disabilities.

“They [Sprout] feel that individuals with disabilities can play those roles instead of an actor.”

Each of the 12 films — ranging between 2 and 15 minutes in length — shown this week are written and/or star someone with an intellectual or developmental disability.

One of the films, “For the Love of Dogs,” is about a boy with Asperger’s syndrome who has an unparalleled passion for dogs.

Another film, “One Question,” asks 35 people with developmental disabilities, “If you could change one thing about your life, what would you change?”

“They’re very emotional [films],” Pangle said. “One of those things where you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll find joy and hope; it’s absolutely amazing.”

Film showings will be held at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Bright Box Community Theater, Woodstock Community Theater and at Shenandoah University.

Tickets are $10 for individuals without disabilities. Tickets for those with disabilities and children are $7 at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and $5 at other venues.

All proceeds from the festival support the services and programs that the Arc of Northern Shenandoah Valley provide for people with intellectual or developmental disabilties.

For more information, visit http://thearcofnsv.net or call 540-665-0461.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com