It’s a film frenzy.
Three days of nonstop movies, featuring nearly four-dozen feature films and 75 shorts. It takes place May 3-6 at the Charles Theatre, Windup Space and the Maryland Institute College of Art. More than 20,000 attended last year’s Maryland Film Festival, Director Jed Dietz estimates.
“Movie making in America is terms of volume and creativity is all concentrated now in the smaller and independent film,” Dietz says.
Foreign films, shorts across a variety of genres and two feature films made by artists who have connections to Baltimore are among the highlights of this year’s event.
With movies from Turkey, Iran and half a dozen other countries, the festival has one of its strongest selections of foreign films ever, Dietz says.
“A few years ago, a foreign film meant one from Western Europe,” Dietz says. “That world has changed completely.”
Dissident Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who is under house arrest, had to make his movie surreptitiously — hence the title, This is Not a Film.” Panahi had to smuggle it out of Iran by loading it on a USB flash drive hidden in a cake.
The opening night of the Maryland Film Festival will begin, as always, with a selection of shorts. The mini-movies come in a variety of genres throughout the festival: comedy, drama, documentary, experimental and something called “The Passion of the WTF Shorts.” The latter includes a “macabre depiction of a high school formal” and a peek at underground moped gangs in Richmond, Va.
The festival’s longstanding emphasis on short films is one of the reasons why the William G. Baker Jr. Memorial Fund has given it $230,000 since 2007, fund Executive Director Melissa Warlow says.
Short films bring out a lot of budding young filmmakers, which energizes the audience, Warlow says.