The biggest takeaway from the NOVA Fest this year is a welcoming sense of community. At least, that’s what I was told by at least a dozen artists there, all of whom enthusiastically praised the festival for its hospitality and legitimate friendliness. One artist even went so far as to describe it as the “friendliest” film festival he’d ever attended. And I agree.
I’m not an especially sociable person, but it was nearly impossible not to make friends while in attendance. This is one of the only festivals I can think of where they host an after party every night. The Angelika Film Center has successfully made a name for itself as a DC hub for filmmakers.
The festival itself, which closed last night, ended with a big red carpet gala and awards ceremony highlighting the best they had to offer, and I gotta say, they kinda nailed it. I don’t typically tend to agree with the general awards season consensus, so it felt nice to finally be at a ceremony where I did.
Beautiful features (three of which we covered, and you can read about each here, here, and here) left with well-deserved awards in hand, particularly Daddy Issues, which just about swept the categories it was up for including best feature, but also incredible short films and music videos were given the attention and respect they so rarely receive.
The inspiring I am…, the hilarious anti-romantic comedy Sac de Merde, the heat-breaking Pickup, the thought provoking Othello-San, musicals, screenplays, film noir throwbacks, and laugh out loud comedies all received various awards throughout the night, with a lifetime achievement award being handed to legendary Batman executive producer Michael Uslan.
The hottest spot of the festival, however, was hands-down the inclusion of the Capital Film Market. For the first time in the area, a market for distributing independent films was made easily accessible to local artists. It was an element of this year’s festival that was loved by both the NOVA film community and the producers running the market, some of whom had never even been to the DC area before. In this way and many others, the NOVA Fest keeps growing. It was bigger than last year’s, which was bigger than the year before. It keeps growing and gaining power and clout without losing its sense of community.