Featuring 48 films from around the world, the 11th annual Chesapeake Film Festival promises an unprecedented celebration of films and filmmakers. Travel around our own Chesapeake Bay, through the gardens of Europe, the deltas of Africa, and the heart of American communities to witness the universal spirit of our planet. Join other film lovers on October 11 through 14 at the Chesapeake Film Festival (CFF), where great stories begin. The historic venues include the Avalon Theatre and the Academy Art Museum in Easton; the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels; and the Cambridge Premier Cinemas and the Dorchester Center for the Arts in Cambridge.
From Thursday, October 11 through Sunday, October 14, audiences will delight in the magic of extraordinary films, meet the filmmakers, participate in lively discussions, and enjoy receptions and events created to enhance the festival experience.
Opening Night Extravaganza
“New Chefs on the Block, a foodie sensation,” opens the Festival on Thursday, October 11. Two chefs in Washington, D.C. struggle to open and maintain their first restaurants. Against all odds, one becomes Bon Appetit magazine’s Best New Restaurant in America. The other is forced to redefine success. The film is directed by Dustin Harrison-Atlas.
To complement the cinematic portrait of chefs, the Chesapeake Film Festival will host an all-star reception with local gourmet chefs at the Academy Art Museum before the screening at the Avalon.
Friday at the Avalon begins with an amazing clay-on-glass animation, “The Elephant’s Song,” directed by local artist Lynn Tomlinson. From the animated short, the festival moves to a stunning feature-length documentary, “Into the Okavango” that tells the story of a “NatGeo” expedition to Botswana with a mission to help preserve the delta, all the animals and land surrounding it, and people who reside there.
The finale of the day, “In the Executioner’s Shadow,” casts a penetrating look at the consequences of the death penalty through three powerful stories, including the rare perspective of a former state executioner who comes within days of executing an innocent person. This powerful film will be screened again Saturday at the Cambridge Premier Cinema. The filmmakers and the subjects of the film will lead discussions after the screenings.
The Chesapeake Bay is the focus of a full day of environmental filmmaking curated by filmmaker Sandy Cannon-Brown on Saturday, October 13 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM). The day concludes with the premiere of a new film by Tom Horton, Dave Harp and Sandy Cannon-Brown, “An Island Out of Time,” about Smith Island.
Saturday in Easton
The mix of stories at the Avalon Theatre and Academy Art Museum in Easton on Saturday, October 13, is sure to provide everyone with subjects of interest.
Features at the Avalon: “Boko Haram: Journey from Evil,” which goes beyond the headlines to profile the heroic efforts of everyday Nigerians to stand up against the terrorist group, which has killed, kidnapped and displaced millions of people. “Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf” is a meditative documentary that immerses viewers in the work of a revolutionary landscape designer. “Moving Stories” brings us dancers who travel the world to work with youth who’ve experienced war, poverty, sexual exploitation, extreme prejudice and severe trauma as refugees. Cinephiles will appreciate “Searching for Ingmar Bergman,” an intimate profile of a director who is considered one of the most important filmmakers of all times.
At the Academy Art Museum: Two programs of shorts bookend the documentary feature “Saving Sea Turtles.” This documentary highlights the work that is being done to save a species from extinction. The exciting line-up of shorts includes “Riverment” by Shayla Racquel. Her film is the story of a former civil rights activist who fears for the safety of her granddaughter who is following in her footsteps. In “Othello San,” a young African-American actor is cast as the lead in Shakespeare’s “Othello” at a prestigious theater school in Japan.
…and in Dorchester County
The evening feature of “Moving Stories” provides a second venue for lovers of dance. The afternoon selections include a series of shorts and a gripping feature, “The Sentence” focusing on social justice. Shorts include “Othello San” and “Jabari Keating,” a candid, first person narrative that explores his personal reflections about life as an African-American in America today.
The intense documentary, “In the Executioner’s Shadow,” which screens Friday in Easton, comes to the Cambridge Premier Cinemas on Saturday afternoon. Lighter fare continues throughout the day with “Up to Snuff,” about American musician and composer W.G. Snuffy Walden. A fascinating subject is featured with “Poured in Pennsylvania” about the redeveloped beer industry and its impact in Pennsylvania. And there’s “Five Days in August” that follows two teams competing in the world’s largest and richest billfish tournament, The White Marlin Open in Ocean City.
The Chesapeake Film Festival continues through Sunday in Easton and Cambridge. Highlights include “I, Matter,” produced by Festival board member Alexis Nichols and directed by its brave star, Llysa Rie who will share her story of living with AIDS on screen and on stage at the Academy Art Museum.
Beauty and brains are the subjects of two very different films at the Avalon. The afternoon begins with “The Gardener,” a walk through the gardens of Les Quatre Vents with influential gardener and horticulturalist Frank Cabot. The closing night film tells a story that sounds like fiction, but isn’t. “Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story” is about the astounding, but little-known, talents of a Hollywood bombshell off-screen. Hedy helped develop a secret radio system that would allow the Allies to torpedo Nazi U-Boats with deadly accuracy. The nephew of her partner in the invention, musician George Antheil, will share anecdotes with the audience after the film. An awards ceremony and reception closes out the festival.
This schedule is subject to change. For more information and tickets, visit chesapeakefilmfestival.com.