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Arlingtonian Debuts Second Act as Filmmaker

After decades in TV news, Mike Kravinsky will premiere 'The Nextnik' this weekend at the Alexandria Film Festival.

After decades working in television news, Arlingtonian Mike Kravinsky wanted to tell a more personal story through shooting his own film.

"I realized that a feature dramedy about reinvention is something that would make a great fictional story," Kravinsky said.

The semi-autobiographical movie “The Nextnik” was filmed earlier this year in various restaurants in the Clarendon area, including The Silver Diner, Eventide and Boccato.

“The Clarendon area was wonderful, they helped me out so much,” Kravinsky said. “The Silver Diner people were fantastic. They closed a whole section of the restaurant for us and one of their servers was an extra.”

The movie was initially a six-part web series Kravinsky released in January.

“I realized that there wasn’t much to it because it was a web series and there wasn’t a lot of character development,” Kravinsky said. “So I called all the actors who were involved in it and asked if they wanted to come back to the drawing board.” 

He rewrote some scenes and brought back his cast and crew in April to turn the project into a full length feature film that clocks in at 1 hour, 17 minutes.

The plot mirrors the filmmaker's own life. After working at ABC News for 29 years as a video editor and technical director, Kravinsky took a buyout offered by the company’s management and was looking for something new.

“It just felt like it was a good next step for me after my years at ABC,” Kravinsky said. “I loved working there... but now post-ABC, I’m able to go back and live out a dream I had earlier in my life.”

The film's main character, Larry, is fired within the first two minutes of the movie after working at his company for 25 years.

“He never saw it coming,” Kravinsky said. “He had lived and breathed this job his entire working life, so now he doesn’t know what he will do.”

Larry explores a plethora of job prospects, including winemaker, mechanic and DJ -- all while his personal relationships begin to falter.

“He is discovering what he wants professionally and also what he wants personally,” Kravinsky said. 

Kravinsky collected a cast of local actors and technicians to make the film.

“There is an amazing community of really great actors and film craft people in the DC area,” Kravinsky said. “This is a no-budget film, so I couldn’t afford to bring in actors from out of town.”

“Everything I could do to save money I did,” Kravinsky added. “I wrote it, I directed it, I produced it, I edited it, I made the sandwiches.”

Being a director took some getting used to, even with the little things. While in television news, when the camera starts rolling, the control room says "speed," but that's not the case on a film set.

"You say action," Kravinsky said.

Filming wrapped up a few months ago and the movie is set to premiere at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at U.S. Patent and Trademark Office building at 600 Dulany St. in Alexandria. The screening is part of the Alexandria Film Festival.

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