A shot from Alexa Lim Haas’ “Agua Viva,” via Parkway Theatre.
A shot from Alexa Lim Haas’ “Agua Viva,” via Parkway Theatre.

The Maryland Film Festival is back at the elegantly redone Parkway Theatre on North Avenue, and it begins tonight with a sampling of shorts.

The opening night bash will put films first, screening six consecutive shorts ranging from five to 20 minutes long on all three of the Parkway’s screens. The roster (per the theater’s website) includes:

  • “Accident, MD,” Dan Rybicky: A look at a tiny Garrett County town as a “survey of attitudes” about America’s health care woes.
  • “Agua Viva,” Alexa Lim Haas: A vibrant animation about a Chinese manicurist in Miami trying to put her words into feelings;
  • “End Times,” Bobby Miller: About a man’s amusing existential crisis about a dying squirrel.
  • “Hair Wolf,” Mariama Diallo: Black women in Brooklyn try to fend off white cultural parasites.
  • “The Jump Off,” Jovan James: Concerning a relationship struggle between two men, one openly gay and the other closeted.
  • “Milk,” Heather Young: Following an anxious, expecting female dairy farm worker surrounded by pregnant cows whose milk she collects after they’ve given birth.

Cinematographer Bradford Young will host the evening, and filmmakers will be around for post-screening talks. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will follow, as will an after party for those with Opening Night tickets and all-access passes. Be sure to arrive 15 minutes early.

The rest of the week has more than 40 feature films on the schedule. Several notables: Matthew Porterfield’s “Soller’s Point,” about a small-time drug dealer freed from prison and back home in Southeast Baltimore County; John Waters’ pick, “I, Olga Hepnarová,” the true tale of a woman who in 1973 ran over 20 people with a truck in Prague; and festival closer “All Square,” about a struggling bookie (played by Michael Kelly, known to most as Doug Stamper on “House of Cards”) who tries to recoup his debt betting on little league games.

8 p.m., Parkway Theatre, 5 W. North Avenue, (443) 438-6144, mdfilmfest.com/film/opening-night-shorts-2018, $100 (or $75 for for just the screenings and reception).

This listing has been updated to reflect that Young can no longer serve as the host of opening night because he’s “scouting with [actress] Ava DuVernay for her new Netflix project in NYC,” according to a rep for the festival.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...