The Skyline Indie Film Fest has endured many challenges, including the pandemic, over its 10-year history, but it’s back in full swing to deliver a slate of narrative features, feature documentaries, shorts footage and experimental films.
The festival takes place September 8-11 at various venues in Winchester, Virginia. The city’s Alamo Draft House will serve as the main screening location. Most films will be screened in person, although some will be screened virtually.
Skyline was founded in 2013 by two bookstore owners who decided there should be a film festival in Old Town Winchester. Thanks to the support of volunteers and the Board, Skyline finds itself in its 10th year of programming, with a vision to share new independent films in the community each September.
This year, the festival highlights films that have overcome major challenges, including the coming-of-age film “5-22-77”, directed by Patrick Read Johnson. This epic story is about growing up in rural Illinois, falling in love with science fiction, falling in love with movies, and becoming the ultimate “Star Wars” fan. Johnson, best known for directing “Spaced Invaders”, “Angus” and “Baby’s Day Out”, will be present. The film stars John Francis Daley (“Freaks & Geeks”), Colleen Camp (“Clue”), Austin Pendleton (“My Cousin Vinny”) and the late Justin Mentell (“Boston Legal”).
The festival will conclude with the East Coast premiere of Eric Pennycoff’s latest horror film, ‘The Leech’. The film stars Graham Skipper (“Sequence Break”) and Jeremy Gardner (“After Midnight”). A devout priest welcomes a troubled couple into his home this Christmas. What begins as a simple act of kindness quickly escalates into the ultimate test of faith once the sanctity of the home is compromised. Writer Eric Pennycoff will attend the discussion after the screening.
Other festival highlights include a spotlight screening of “Billion Dollar Babies: The True Story of the Cabbage Patch Kids.” The toy franchise documentary is produced and narrated by actor/producer Neil Patrick Harris and directed by Andrew Jenks.
Survival, the theme of the festival, offers an incredible story of survival in “Delivering Hope”, a documentary about ultra-runner Kevin Kline. Eight days before his 50th birthday, he traveled the northernmost 300 miles of Alaska’s dangerous Dalton Highway in the winter to raise awareness for children battling childhood cancer. Crossing the 10th most dangerous road in the world, Kline faces -40 temperatures to the virtual summit of the world.
A special treat for horror movie fans will be two films, “Third Saturday in October” and “Third Saturday in October, Part V,” from writer/director Jay Burleson and producers Ian J. Cunningham and Frank Crafts, who will all be pending.
For music lovers, two films should whet their appetite. “The History of Metal and Horror,” a documentary directed by Mike Schiff, features interviews with Rob Zombie, Michael Berryman and Alice Cooper. “Ragged Heart” is a Southern musical drama starring music legends Jim White and Patterson Hood of “Drive-by Truckers.”
One film that’s created a lot of buzz is rural thriller “The Integrity of Joseph Chambers,” which stars Claye Crawford (“Rectify,” “The Killing of Two Lovers”) and Jordanna Brewster (“Fast and the Furious” franchise “).
This year, the festival will present nine local films:
‘Absence of Light’ – A coming-of-age story following two boys and their adventures as they discover an unexpected connection.
“Return to the Sea” – Aunofo Havea, Polynesia’s first licensed ship’s captain and a well-known Tongan seafarer, is paving the way for women in the maritime industry and revolutionizing the way Tongans interact with the whales that inhabit their waters .
‘Frantic’ – A young woman suspects someone is after her as she harbors a stranger.
“How Long Must We Wait” – A historical documentary about the 72-year battle women fought for the right to vote in the United States
“Our First Priority” – The story of a medical gaslight girl and the avenging angels who keep our universe in balance.
“Snub Nose” – A gorgeous woman, a jealous man, and a loaded gun.
‘Table for Two’ – Sofia and Chris seem to be making the most of a potentially awkward date, but reality sinks in as their means of communication reveal something Sofia had been hoping to avoid.
“The Pins of Madeleine Albright” – The Honorable Madeleine Albright’s pin collection is a globally recognized language, but completely her own. This short documentary follows her rise to the White House, her experiences as the only woman in the room, and the decision to speak through her pins throughout her storied career.
‘True Crime’ – A budding fitness influencer and true crime junkie commands the security system from her favorite podcast. Now she can’t get rid of the creepy feeling that she’s being watched. Is she the next real target of crime? Or is it another type of power play?