Maryland Film Festival canceled due to coronavirus

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The lobby of the Parkway Theatre. Photo courtesy of Post Typography.

This year’s Maryland Film Festival, originally scheduled for April 29 to May 3, has been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced today.

Sandra Gibson, executive director of the festival and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Theatre, said in a statement that the organization recognized its role in stopping the spread of the virus and ultimately decided against having crowds in the W. North Avenue movie house.

“My team and I are looking at ways to connect our audience and wider community with our artists virtually and to provide access to films that offer a wide range of inspiration and encouragement to help all of us get through this period,” she said.

In an ongoing effort to connect with movie-goers and support independent filmmakers, the Parkway Theatre is screening new releases through its website. There are 13 titles as of this writing.

This year’s festival was slated to have more than 30 feature-length films, including John Waters’ presentation of David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars,” a 15th anniversary screening of “The Devil and Daniel Johnston,” TT the Artist’s Baltimore club documentary “Dark City Beneath the Beat,” and Kevin Abrams’ documentary “I Got a Monster” on the Baltimore Police Department’s corrupt Gun Trace Task Force. (Full disclosure: “I Got a Monster” follows journalists Baynard Woods and Brandon Soderberg, two friends of mine who are releasing a book on the GTTF under the same name.)

Scott Braid, the festival’s director of programming, said in a statement that this year’s full lineup “captures a vibrant sampling of artists who form the thrilling pulse of the cinematic artform and reminds us of the importance and power of film especially in a moment of crisis.”

He said organizers are looking forward to finding alternative ways to support the filmmakers who were picked for the festival’s 22nd edition.

Brandon Weigel

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