The nation’s capital has plenty of film festivals, but only one gives all proceeds to charity.
The 11th annual Washington West Film Festival returns next week to keep giving back.
“We give 100% of our box-office proceeds every year to communities that really need help,” Founder Brad Russell told WTOP. “We’re giving this year to Project Hope. They are in Poland and Ukraine helping to rebuild health-care infrastructure. … When you buy a ticket to the festival, those funds are used to do amazing things to create stories of hope.”
The festival’s longtime location at Reston Town Center is currently under renovation, so this year’s festival will be held at Capital One Hall and The Boro in Tysons, Virginia.
It kicks off Thursday Oct. 13 at Capital One Hall with “Refuge” about the friendship between a Muslim heart doctor and a former Ku Klux Klan member in Clarkston, Georgia.
“It’s such a unifying story,” Russell said. “When you think of the worst of American division right now and how the most divided people can become unified, it’s really that kind of story.”
On Friday Oct. 14, the ShowPlace ICON Theatre at The Boro hosts a trio of shorts programs.
“We’ve got a great short by Matthew Modine from ‘Stranger Things’ called ‘Cool For You,’ we’ve got a dark comedy that’s super funny called ‘Shark‘ by Nash Edgerton, Joel Edgerton’s brother, we’ve got some Sundance and Tribeca winners,” Russell said.
The festival remains at The Boro in Tysons on Saturday Oct. 15 for “The American Dream and Other Fairytales” by filmmaker Abigail Disney.
“It spotlights her grandfather and uncle’s company, specifically at Disneyland, and grapples with America’s profound inequality crisis around pay and pay inequality,” Russell said. “I was just fascinated by this film.”
Also, don’t miss the documentary “A House Made of Splinters,” which he calls, “a powerful look at one microcosm of what’s happening through a halfway home for kids in Eastern Ukraine. It’s looking at the war, it’s looking at the political divide and really gives us on this side of the world not just an emphatic view but opportunities for making a difference.”
Sunday Oct. 16 brings the documentary “Kaepernick and America” about how a “Navy SEAL heard [Colin] Kaepernick was sitting during the National Anthem and asked to meet with him,” Russell said. “They had a great conversation and Kaeparnick asked him, ‘Is there a more respectful way to do this?’ The Navy SEAL said, ‘What if you kneel instead of sit?'”
There’s even a bonus day on Monday Oct. 17 at Reston Community Center to screen the HBO original documentary “The Slow Hustle,” chronicling the still unsolved death of Baltimore police detective Sean Suiter, who was killed in the line of duty in 2017.