Black Reel Awards founder Tim Gordon is back with third annual Lakefront Film Festival

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Lakefront Film Festival (Part 1)

The founder of the Black Reel Awards and president of the Washington Area Film Critics Association never sleeps because he’s also carefully curating a D.C. area film festival!

The third annual Lakefront Film Festival returns for a hybrid event of virtual screenings and in-person events as it relocates from Columbia, Maryland, to the nation’s capital.

“We started out of Columbia, Maryland, which is a beautiful town, I live here, it’s wonderful and scenic, but for the direction longterm of where we wanted to go, there were certain aspects that I thought worked better in Washington D.C.,” Festival Director Tim Gordon told WTOP. “We’re primarily still virtual, but we’ll have an [in-person] event or two.”

It kicks off Wednesday with the opening night screening of “You Resemble Me,” a French-Arabic film marking the directorial debut of Egyptian-American filmmaker Dina Amer. It’s also executive produced by Spike Lee, Spike Jonze and Riz Ahmed.

“It’s two sisters growing up in really dire conditions, they are separated and the radicalization begins for the other and how that affects their relationship,” Gordon said. “I saw this movie up at Sundance earlier this year, and it’s a punch in the gut when you get to the third act. We thought it would be a wonderful way to start the festival.”

Thursday brings the powerful addiction documentary “The First Step,” which Gordon calls, “A wonderful film about Van Jones [who] finds a group of parents affected by the crack epidemic in South Central L.A., then he finds a group of parents in West Virginia affected by the opioid epidemic and brings those two together to pass … The First Step Act.”

Friday brings the feature drama “A Cold Hard Truth” by writer/director Charles Murray, who has written for such hit television shows as “Castle” and “Sons of Anarchy.” It follows “the story a journalist who loses his sister in senseless violence and is very upset and looking for, as the title indicates, the cold hard truth about what happened,” Gordon said.

It all wraps Saturday with “Breaking,” directed by Abi Damaris Corbin and starring John Boyega, Nicole Beharie and the late Michael K. Williams. Gordon calls it a “modern ‘Dog Day Afternoon.’ The guy’s a veteran, understands that he’s not getting his payment and he’s very frustrated and takes some folks hostage in a bank.”

Stay tuned as there will also be a bonus surprise event later this month.

“We have one more secret film,” Gordon said. “Let’s just say that it’s a film that premiered at Sundance, the audience will see it early because it opens in September, and our audience will have a sneak peek at a secret film. … The stars of the film are coming to D.C. for it as well as the directors are coming to D.C., so we are very, very excited.”

Find more information here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews the Lakefront Film Festival (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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