Image courtesy of Maryland Film Festival.

The Maryland Film Festival will return in person Wednesday through Sunday with films about volcanic love, out-of-body experiences, and more, plus a screening of the first episode of HBO’s “We Own This City” about the corruption of Baltimore Police Department’s Gun Trace Task Force.

Now in its 24th year, the festival will run from April 27 through May 1 at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Parkway Theatre in Baltimore’s Station North Arts & Entertainment District.

Festival attendees must show proof of full vaccination or proof of a negative PCR test taken 72 hours in advance to enter a screening event.

This year’s lineup includes a total of 20 feature films, 130 short films and one episodic.

“MdFF attracts talented filmmakers from all over the world, as Baltimore is considered ‘hallowed’ ground for emerging artists,” Sandra Gibson, executive director of the Maryland Film Festival and the SNF Parkway Theatre, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to return to a five-day, in-person event this year.”

Gibson added that the Parkway is “more than a movie theater”; it’s also a space for community connection and sharing the love of film.

“We’re a neighborhood cinema that builds community by bringing people together,” Gibson said. “We’re a place that democratizes the power of narrative. We aim to provide a welcoming space for all to organically connect, and offer film for everyone.”

Christy LeMaster, artistic director for the Maryland Film Festival, said this year’s program features “one-of-a-kind movies across genres,” a “robust slate of short films from around the world,” conversations with artists and more.

Attendees can purchase an Explorer Ticket Pack for $120 or a VIP Ticket Pack for $250.

The Explorer pack includes 10 tickets to films of your choice. The VIP pack gives ticketholders early access to reserve their seat and entry to 15 film screenings and events: either 12 festival films of your choice and access to the opening night, closing night, and John Waters event; or 15 festival films of your choice.

The festival will kick off Wednesday night with opening night shorts.

Then on Thursday there will be a special screening of the first episode of the new HBO limited series “We Own This City,” based on the book of the same name by crime reporter Justin Fenton, formerly of The Baltimore Sun and now of The Baltimore Banner. The book and HBO series explore the corrupt Gun Trace Task Force within the Baltimore Police Department.

Following the screening will be a conversation with cast members, filmmakers and community leaders, moderated by Keith Mehlinger, director of the Screenwriting and Animation program and the Digital Media Center at Morgan State University.

On Friday, John Waters will present “Maps to the Stars,” a film about a Hollywood family haunted by their secrets.

Closing night on Sunday will feature two new documentaries about Maryland-born abolitionists Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman by Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson.

The full lineup of feature films includes:

  • After Sherman
  • The Art of Making It
  • Becoming Frederick Douglass
  • Fire of Love
  • Harriet Tubman: Visions of Freedom
  • Hit the Road
  • Homebody
  • Jethica
  • Karmalink
  • Maps to the Stars
  • Marvelous and the Black Hole
  • Medusa
  • Mija
  • Neptune Forest
  • Sirens
  • Sweet Disaster
  • When a City Rises
  • A Woman on the Outside
  • You Resemble Me
  • We Met in Virtual Reality

There will also be 16 short film programs, each comprising a group of short films of similar topics or themes. Those programs include:

  • All Ages
  • Altered States
  • Animation
  • Baltishorts
  • Bodies in Motion
  • Diverging Forms
  • Heartbeats
  • Late Night w/ MDFF
  • Legacies
  • Like a Mother
  • Oh, the Horror!
  • Pandemic Therapy
  • Q+
  • Quirks & Charms
  • True Stories
  • Unorthodocs

Audience members can find a full schedule on the Maryland Film Festival’s website.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at