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Hampton Roads Filmily Fest “SOLD OUT” screening draws huge crowd

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Jpixx launched one of the most successful local film festivals in Hampton Roads’ recent history, drawing out crowds of film lovers, supporters and artists with Filmily Fest.

Short for film family, Filmily Fest was conceptualized from the idea of connecting local filmmakers with one another by creating a friendly film competition where teams have an essential role in each others filmmaking process. Teams were allowed to share crew, talent, equipment and other filmmaking resources to foster not only team work but the support of a true family, a film family.

Take a peek at the Filmily Fest introduction video below!


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Check out our screening teaser!


Mike Holtzclaw of the Daily Press was kind enough to write a piece on the festival!

The screening took place at Pembroke Meadows Cinema Cafe in Virginia Beach and SOLD OUT!! The festival was a huge hit as audience members soaked in the world premiere of five brand new, original, ground-breaking short-films.

We learned two things that night; people love film and people were super hungry! lol It’s a good thing the Cinema Cafe hosted the screening. According to the GM David Butt, every table ordered food…score! Mad props go to Dominique Herbert for volunteering her time as the producer of the Filmily Fest – and doing an amazing job bringing it all together for an amazing evening.

FF crowd


The crowd arrived super early and began to line up outside the theatre. The line was so long  it went out the door and those who didn’t get their tickets in advanced were unfortunately turned away.

The doors opened at 6 p.m. with free food and drink provided by Cox Communications (and was gobbled up in minutes). The best seats were quickly filled, while demo reels and sneak peaks of the filmmakers work looped on the big screen. At 7 p.m. our talented host Kris Schafer introduced himself, cracked a few jokes and talked about what Filmily Fest means to the community and local filmmakers.

Nine trailers of films produced locally were premiered. We took a poll of the audience favorite trailer as well. The contenders were Paradox City by Ignition FX, A Villain’s Tale by Sarah Bonner, Rogue Spectre by Richard Sanborn, Night Mere by Goldie Brown Productions, Eyes of the Roshi by Light Age Films, Traffick Stop by Julian Johnson, Grand Larceny by Who’s Johnny Creative, She Knows by No Time For Cameras, and Possession Experiment by Digital Thunderdome Studios.

1st place – Possession Experiment by Digital Thunderdome Studios

2nd place – Paradox City by Ignition FX

3rd place Traffick Stop by Julian Johnson

Next up, the featured short films from the five teams that participated in the contest – shown in the following order: “Happy Birthday” by Unexpected Union, “Found and Lost” by BrainCo, “Leave Me Together” by Jpixx, “Quantum” by Chrome Toast and “Shot At Love” by Visually Inklined.


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Afterwards, a brief Q&A with the filmmakers allowed the audience to connect with the creators behind each film. Then a brief intermission commenced. I’m sure everyone was happy that there was a break because there was a lot of eating and drinking going on lol!


Following the break, Women in Action (WINA) – a local engraving company – came to the stage to present the team plaques.  They are the innovative company that custom engraved each intricately designed wooden plaque. Team leaders also were given a festival poster as a “Thank You” for their dedication and participation in Filmily Fest.

team leadersteam leader crazy fun

 I think it’s safe to say we all got closer to one another and became very comfortable around each other after this film festival based off of these photos LOL!

The official awards were finally announced. There were a total of 13 categories plus a grand winner. The team who scored the highest in the MOST categories took home the Festival Winner title. ((Each team scored the competing films, not including their own, based on the best use of each category.))

Jpixx for “Leave Me Together” won Best Peer Review and Best Use of Obstacle. Their film was inspired by the images below.

Leave Me Together

Best use of the Unexpected and Character went to Unexpected Union for “Happy Birthday.”

Happy Birthday

Jessa KZ3

Best Editing went to Chrome Toast for their film “Quantum.” Their inspiration images are below.


Richard and Sarah

Best Actor and Actress went to Zeus Campbell for “Shot At Love” and Makenzie Hill for “Happy Birthday!”

Best actor

Zeus took the mic and talked about how important Filmily Fest is to the community, how honored he was to participate and his hopes for making this event bigger and bigger with each year that passes!

KZ speech

Makenzie ran to the stage with excitement and when asked if she wanted to say anything she charismatically said, “THANK YOUUUUUU!” lol 🙂 Jessa KZ

Fun fact: Jessa like many other teams had some obstacles to overcome. She was completely overwhelmed during the process and her daughter and star of “Happy Birthday”, Makenzie Hill gave her a firm talking to and told her not to quit. “We aren’t quitters Mom!” So Jessa pulled up her boot straps and completed her film on time! Jessa was super proud 🙂

And drum roll pleaseeee….. the team that scored highest in the most categories including Best Use of Tone, Visual Element, Relationship, Cinematography, Writing, and Best Director was….



JT speech

Their film, “Shot At Love” directed by Jesse Torres, was inspired by the following images and also an audience favorite!

Shot At Love

Check out Shot At Love by Jesse Torres!

Ernie Smith of Skelly films gave a heartfelt speech before presenting the Best Film award. He encouraged filmmakers to believe in their work and submit to other film festivals. “I have been to festivals all over and the quality of the films I saw tonight… what we are doing here in Hampton Roads is just as good as anything we have seen anywhere…in the world.” Ernie then presented the winner with the Best Film plaque.



Due to unforeseen circumstances, BrainCo was unable to complete their film on time, but still submitted their film for the screening. We were so happy and thankful that they participated and still pushed through their obstacles. Their perseverance was reflected in their film, Found and Lost!

“Found and Lost”  was inspired by the following photos.

Found and Lost


The night ended with a bang! We took one final picture together, one big film family!

SOLD OUT Filmily Fest wrap shot. What a night!! Congrats to Visually Inklined for taking home top honors and shout outs to Zeus and Makenzie for nabbing the acting awards!! #jpixx #filmily #filmilyfest #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Though the festival officially ended, it is not the end of the quest to attain recognition for the much deserved talent and storytellers of Hampton Roads, VA. We are only getting started and there will be more to come. There’s no place like Virginia and there is no talent like Virginia talent! Stay tuned 🙂