The 10th Anniversary Chesapeake Film Festival brings filmmakers and a diverse audience of film enthusiasts to Easton for the region’s only weekend event that features independent films. Some critics call independent films the most important art form of the 21st century. Audiences have the chance to engage in critical discourse about the film, often with the filmmaker present. The festival takes place in several venues around Easton on October 27 through 29.
The Avalon Theater is the Chesapeake Film Festival headquarters, with satellite venues at the Art Academy Museum, Talbot County Public Library, and Easton and Cambridge Premier Cinemas. Tickets are reasonably priced, $12 per film; $50 for one day; and $85 for an all-access pass. A special opening film and party is $30. For further information about all films, day and all-access passes, special events, and tickets, visit www.chesapeakefilmfestival.com.
Opening night, October 27, begins at the Troika Gallery with a Greek-themed cocktail party before a short walk to the Avalon Theatre to enjoy the comedy “Swing Away.” Filmed mostly in Greece, it is about professional golfer Zoe Papadopolus who travels to her grandparent’s village in Greece to escape the harsh spotlight of the women’s professional golf tour. Actor John O’Hurley (remember Seinfeld’s Mr. Peterman?) stars in the movie. An avid golfer himself, upper level Festival sponsors are invited to play golf with John O’Hurley at the Talbot County Country Club.
Because environmental concerns are integral to the Eastern Shore across the political spectrum, Saturday, October 28 is a full day of documentaries with climate change as a common theme. A partnership with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy brings substantive expertise to the film discussions. Viewers will see the power of documentary filmmaking in understanding this widely discussed and often contentious topic. Discussion will be interspersed between films moderated by Stuart Clarke, Executive Director of Town Creek Foundation. Experts include Maryland Secretary of the Environment, Benjamin H. Grumbles; Dr. Donald Boesch, Professor of Marine Science and former president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, 1990-2017; Dr. William C. “Bill” Boicourt, Professor Emeritus, Horn Point Laboratory, UMECS; and Brian Ambrette, Coastal Resilience Manager at the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy.
The film sequence begins with National Geographic’s, “Before the Flood,” produced by Martin Scorsese, in which actor Leonardo DiCaprio meets with scientists worldwide to discuss the impacts of climate change. “From the Ashes” presents the voices from all sides of the debate about the coal industry as alternative energy gains steam. The coal industry provides tens of thousands of jobs to America’s blue-collar backbone. Regrettably, it is also the single largest source of the carbon dioxide emissions contributing to global warming, and public health officials warn of the myriad risks of mining and burning coal.
“High Tide in Dorchester,” written and narrated by Tom Horton, directed by Dave Harp, and produced by Sandy Cannon-Brown, addresses the lack of adequate planning needed to meet the imminent challenges of living on the edges of a rising tide. Two shorts, “The Ballad of Holland Island House” produced by Lynn Tomlinson and “The Waterman” produced by Jess Jacklin, are touchingly intimate portrayals of our local legacy.
On Sunday, October 29 at the Academy Art Museum, the Festival will screen “AlphaGo” about artificial intelligence; hosts a student film showcase featuring young filmmakers from Easton High School who are learning filmmaking under the guidance of instructor Garnette Hines. Garnette will join Lori Snyder, Executive Director of Arts Education in Maryland Schools (AEMS), and filmmakers to discuss student engagement in this art form. The Festival closes with “William Wyler: The Films & The Music,” presented by Dr. Rachel Franklin. After the last film, an awards ceremony and cocktail party will close the Festival.
The Chesapeake Film Festival welcomes public support with sponsorships and program advertisements.
The Festival is supported by the Maryland State Arts Council, Talbot County Arts Council, and the Maryland Film Office.