Film Fest Winners Featured Tuesday

A flurry of late entries led to some stiff competition for honors at the 2nd Annual Falls Church Film Festival that will be presented along with the screening of the winning films Tuesday at the State Theatre.

Overflow crowds jammed two First Friday venues last week to view the runners up in each of the six film categories, leaving organizers of Tuesday’s gala hopeful that a good crowd will turn out to help build Falls Church’s fledgling regional reputation as a center for arts and culture.

Simon Van Steyn, the principle organizer for the young festival who turned it into a competitive event for the first time, said he is heartened by the response both from filmmakers and the public. The winners in the categories come from far and wide, including one from Falls Church.

Falls Church’s own Bob Burnett came away with top honors in the documentary category. His film, “Stop the Aerial Hunting of Wolves,” will be shown Tuesday night as he receives his Lois trophy.

The film festival’s creator, David Eckert, last year selected “Lois” as the name for the fete’s Oscar-like trophies in memory of Lois Crane Hertz, a silent film actress who retired to Falls Church back in the 1920s.

Doors will open for Tuesday’s gala at 6:30 p.m., with screenings and award presentations getting underway at 7. A $6 admission fee goes to cover the cost of organizing the event, which was handled by the all-volunteer efforts of Van Steyn, a Falls Church native, and others.

A full cash bar and kitchen, featuring the usual dining fare at the State Theatre, will be functional, special event t-shirts will be on sale, two local artists will be displaying their work and a live band will provide music. Brian Demory will be the master of ceremonies.

Other winners besides Burnett are as follows:

Student Category – “The Bunny Man Bridge Documentary” by Luis Larrea, a student at George Mason University.

Fiction Category – “Available Men,” a comedy by David Dean Bottrell from California.

Music Video Category – “Pieces,” a song by the local indie band, Sketches, directed by Fernando Ortega.

Horror/Thriller Category – “Scarlet Letters” by Kevin Hershberger of Richmond.

Animation – “Heada State,” a political satire by Andrew Arnold of Alexandria.

On hand to receive their Lois trophies will be Arnold, Burnett, Lorea and Hershberger, along with the lead actress in Hershberger’s thriller.

Sponsors of the event are the Falls Church Arts, F. A. McGonegal, the Falls Church News-Press, Ventures in Video, Merelyn Kaye, Realtor, Art and Frame of Falls Church, Aspect Media, Arlington Motorcar Service and American Coatings and Caulking, Inc.

More info on the festival is available at