Monday August 16, 2021


After a year and a half of uncertainty, and a 2020 festival held entirely online, the 9th Annual Skyline Indie Film Festival will present its exciting slate of films September 9-12th, with both virtual screenings and in-person screenings in Winchester, Virginia. With a mission to ‘foster the indie spirit’ and a reputation for focusing on underseen gems on the festival circuit, Skyline Indie is dedicating its 2021 programme to the celebration of a legendary independent filmmaker who went on to find enormous mainstream success – the great Penelope Spheeris.

Highlights of the Spheeris celebration include: an opening night screening of her breakthrough 1981 documentary, The Decline of Western Civilization, which chronicles the late-70’s punk scene in Los Angeles; a special live episode of the popular Screen Drafts podcast where the hosts and special guests will be ranking the definitive top seven list of Spheeris’ films; and Scripts Gone Wild returns for a live drunken script reading of Spheeris’ blockbuster, Wayne’s World, featuring a smattering of familiar faces from film and television. Spheeris herself will join Skyline Indie before the opening night presentation to accept the festival’s inaugural Storyteller Award, and for a candid discussion of her career.

Numerous spotlight and special screenings have been curated from some of the biggest film festivals around the country, titles that include: JUMP, DARLING, about a rookie drag queen who goes to stay with his elderly grandmother, featuring the final screen performance from the late Cloris Leachman; SPRING VALLEY, the powerful new documentary on systemic racism that premiered at SXSW involving an incident at a high school in South Carolina that turned a community upside down; BROADCAST SIGNAL INTRUSION, a new horror film starring Harry Shum from Glee that centers around one man’s obsessive quest to find the perpetrator of a television hijacking that has fundamentally changed the course of his life; and SOCKS ON FIRE, an award winning documentary from Tribeca about a Southern queer filmmaker from Alabama who chronicles his family’s dispute in inventive and transformative ways.


Narrative Features

BROADCAST SIGNAL INTRUSION (2021; Director, Jacob Gentry) – In the late 90s, a video archivist unearths a series of sinister pirate broadcasts and becomes obsessed with uncovering the dark conspiracy behind them. Starring Harry Shum from Glee.


JUMP, DARLING (2021; Director, Phil Connell) – A rookie drag queen reeling from a breakup escapes to the country, where he finds his grandmother in steep decline yet desperate to avoid the local nursing home. Featuring the final screen performance of Cloris Leachman.

OUR FATHER (2021; Director, Bradley Grant Smith) – Two estranged sisters go in search of their uncle (Austin Pendleton), a mysterious figure who may hold the key to their father’s suicide and their family’s unhappiness. Co-starring Austin Pendleton.

PAUL DOOD’S DEADLY LUNCH BREAK (2021; Director, Nick Gillespie) – A weed charity-shop worker is set on winning the big national talent show. But when the actions of 5 selfish people cause him to miss his audition, he sets out to seek deathly revenge. It’s 1 lunch break, 5 spectacular murders.

Documentary Features

BOULEVARD! A HOLLYWOOD STORY (2021; Director, Jeffrey Schwartz) – The filmmaker behind I Am Divine and Tab Hunter Confidential returns with a glittering stranger-than-fiction documentary of 1950s Hollywood. Dickson Hughes and Richard Stapley — two young songwriters and same-sex romantic partners — find themselves caught in movie star Gloria Swanson’s web when she hires them to write a musical version of “Sunset Boulevard.” 

THE DECLINE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION (1981; Director, Penelope Spheeris) – A look into the Los Angeles punk rock scene, that was largely ignored by the rock music press of the time. Featuring: Alice Bag Band, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs, and X.

SOCKS ON FIRE (2021; Director, Bo McGuire) – A poet composes a cinematic love letter to his grandmother as his homophobic aunt and drag queen uncle wage war over her estate in Hokes Bluff, Alabama. Winner of the Jury Prize at the Tribeca Film Festival.


SPRING VALLEY (2021; Director, Garret Zevgetis) – An expansive look at various types of racism, centering around an incident at a South Carolina high school where a video goes viral showing a white officer throwing a black teenager to the ground.

TRY HARDER! (2021; Director, Debbie Lum) – In a universe where cool kids are nerds, the orchestra is world class, and being Asian American is the norm – seniors at Lowell High School compete for the top prize: admission to the college of their dreams.


Narrative Features

BEAT THE SHIFT (2021; Director, Drew Adams) – A landfill worker yearns to reconnect with his estranged son while side-stepping mandated orders from his troubled parole officer. Meanwhile, vagabond teenagers search for a new life while scamming men on dating apps.

EVERYTHING IN THE END (2021; Director, Mylissa Fitzsimmons) – Stranded in a small Icelandic village during Earth’s final days, a Portuguese man seeks solace in the brief human connections he encounters.

THE GREAT AND TERRIBLE DAY OF THE LORD (2021; Director(s), Jard Jay Mason, Clark Runciman) – On their first romantic getaway, Michael reveals to Gabby that God is speaking through him, with a warning that she will die and go to hell before the end of the weekend, unless she believes him, repents, and worships him.

HERE & AFTER (2021; Director, Shaun Crawford) – When Ray gets a day pass from rehab, he has a chance encounter with Arora. As they spend the day together, he discovers that the mysteries she holds may change his life forever.

ROOK. (2021; Director, Stephen Morgan) – Annie is a bar owner on the brink of bankruptcy when her delinquent brother shows up with a lucrative offer in hand; a gold heist worth half a million dollars. She agrees despite their turbulent family history – and the fact that she’s dating a cop. After several colossal missteps, Ben, Annie, and a few of their cohorts must dodge bullets and blades from the gold-mining backwoods brothers they rooked.

TOPRAK (2021; Director, Sevgi Hirshhauser) – The dramatic story of a simple family in rural Turkey dealing with poverty, family traditions, and religious heritage.

Documentary Features

THE 8TH (2021; Director(s), Aideen Kane, Lucy Kennedy, Maeve O’Boyle) – ​​The story of Irish women and their fight to overturn one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the ​​world. After a 35-year struggle, the pro-choice side radically shift tactics to try to bring an historically conservative electorate over the line.

COOGAN’S WAY (2021; Director, Glenn Osten Anderson) – The story of how a small bar and restaurant that welcomed all races, religions and interests became a force for good in the Washington Heights community of New York City.

ME TO PLAY (2021; Director, Jim Bernfield) – Two veteran New York actors who suffer from Parkinson’s disease put up an off-Broadway production of Samuel Beckett’s comic masterpiece, “Endgame,” which Beckett wrote as a metaphor for living with Parkinson’s after his mother succumbed to the disease. In the play, Beckett writes, “there’s nothing funnier than unhappiness;” this movie proves it.

MISSING IN BROOKS COUNTY (2021; Director(s), Lisa Molomot, Jeff Bemiss) – Two families arrive in Brooks County, Texas to look for their loved ones who went missing after crossing into the country from Mexico. On their search they meet vigilante ranchers, human smugglers, humanitarian activists, and Border Patrol agents, all of whom are locked in a proxy version of the national immigration debate. 

THE REMANDEE (2021; Director, Alexander Lind, Jakob Jakobsen) – Prisoners in indefinite detention in Zambia face a painful choice between love and safety.


STORYTELLER AWARD PRESENTATION TO PENELOPE SPHEERIS – Join us as we celebrate the career of the great indie auteur, PENELOPE SPHEERIS, who burst onto the film scene with films like The Decline of Western Civilization and Suburbia, before conquering the mainstream with the blockbuster Wayne’s World, Black Sheep, and more. We are proud to have Penelope joining us for a candid discussion of her career as she receives the inaugural Storyteller Award, moderated by film programmer Drea Clark from the Who Shot Ya? podcast.

SCREEN DRAFTS LIVE! – We are joined by Clay Keller and Ryan Marker from the popular Screen Drafts podcast for a definitive ranking of the seven best Penelope Spheeris films. This podcast, dedicated to competitive collaboration, is as in-depth as it is lively.

SCRIPTS GONE WILD PRESENTS WAYNE’S WORLD – Scripts Gone Wild returns to Winchester (however virtually) for a drunken script reading of the comedy classic, Wayne’s World, featuring their usual brand of intoxicated antics, and a smattering of familiar faces from film and television. For this kind of debauchery – no one is worthy.

Unless otherwise noted, all films will be available virtually. Many will screen in-person at the Alamo Drafthouse in Winchester along with a collection of phenomenal shorts from around the globe. Shorts programs will be announced at a later date.

Festival Passes grant access to all Skyline has to offer, available for $50. Individual tickets for screenings are $10 each online or at the door. Schedule, film trailers, and tickets available at