Maryland Film Festival to be held virtually from June 12-21

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The Parkway Theatre hosts the Maryland Film Festival. Image via Facebook.

While the Parkway Theatre remains closed, the Maryland Film Festival will screen many of its selections virtually from June 12-21, organizers announced Thursday.

Over those 10 days, 15 feature films and 150 short films that were previously picked for the festival will be screened online. Each feature film will have a live interactive event with the filmmaker.

Leading things off is an opening night celebration focusing on locally made short films and the Baltimore club documentary “Dark City Beneath the Beat,” directed by local musician TT the Artist. The party, which starts June 12 at 6 p.m., will conclude with performances from Baltimore DJs.

The virtual festival will have four premieres: chilling, Gillian Horvat’s black comedy “I Blame
Society,” Harry Cepka’s techno-infused dramedy “Raf,” Daniel Freeman’s drama “Teddy, Out of Tune,” and Graham Mason’s “lost TV movie” “Inspector Ike.”

Also of local interest are Khalid Ali’s short “Squeegee” on Baltimore’s “squeegee kids,” the documentary “Out of the Blue” on a retired city planner who covered his body in a blue tattoo, and Barbara K. Asare-Bediako’s documentary short “Ballet After Dark,” to name a few.

“One of the exciting benefits of the virtual space is the schedule flexibility,” Scott Braid, the festival’s director of programming, said in a statement. “You will have more freedom to create your own schedule and see more of the films presented by the festival, at your convenience. We simply cannot wait to share these films with you.”

On April 9, the organization announced the festival, originally scheduled from April 29 to May 3 at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Theatre, was canceled–at least in its in-person form.

Sandra Gibson, executive director of the festival and the theater, said at the time that the organization recognized its role in stopping the spread of the coronavirus and ultimately decided against having crowds in the W. North Avenue movie house.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Parkway has continued to screen new releases online to both connect with movie-goers and support independent filmmakers, and Gibson hinted in April the festival would take a similar approach.

In a statement today, Gibson said the virtual festival presents an opportunity to reach audiences all across the region.

“I commend our team for taking an inventive approach to organizing this year’s festival by not only offering best in class virtual experiences but making our live special events available to audiences,” she said.

Brandon Weigel

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