Chesapeake Film Festival

Excitement is building for the 14th annual Chesapeake Film Festival (CFF) on October 1 and 2. A great way to kick off an Eastern Shore festival is to present the world premiere of the Bay Journal’s latest film, “Water’s Way: Thinking Like a Watershed,” by local favorites Tom Horton, Dave Harp and CFF’s Vice President for Environmental Programming Sandy Cannon-Brown.

As Tom Horton says in the introduction: “Consider water’s way throughout the vast basin of the Chesapeake Bay, some 40 rivers and thousands of creeks feeding the great estuary from across nearly a sixth of the East Coast. This is the watershed. Every drop of rain that falls on 64,000 square miles heads one way, Bayward. And the Chesapeake, which appears so long and broad is, in context, just a smallish and shallow pool of water on the receiving end of everything 18 million people in six states and the District of Columbia do with the land, for good or ill.”

One of the “stars” of “Water’s Way” is Herbert the Beaver, a representative of a species whose ponds and dams once sponsored a lush mosaic of wetlands throughout the Chesapeake region.

The second film on opening night, “The Heat is On: Driving Climate Action for People and Nature,” focuses on World Wildlife Fund’s response to climate change. This short documentary was produced by CFF Board Member Irene Magafan and her colleague Kelley Ashford to prod and inspire people to take action against climate change before it’s too late.

The cost of the Friday night screenings and the panel discussion that follows is $25. The cost also includes a VIP reception at the Avalon Theatre honoring festival filmmakers, sponsors and major donors prior to the screenings. Individual tickets for the VIP reception and screenings are available for a $125 tax-deductible donation to CFF.

The festival continues on Saturday, October 2 at the Avalon with two acclaimed features, “Minari” and “Tesla.” Tickets are $15 for each film.

“Minari,” about a Korean American family pursuing the American dream in Arkansas, earned six Oscar nominations, and won Youn Yuh-Jung Best Supporting Actress. It also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and earned six nominations at the 74th British Academy Film Awards, including Best Film Not in the English Language. Youn is the first Korean actor nominated for an Oscar for acting, as well as the first to win.

“Tesla” is a freewheeling take on visionary inventor Nikola Tesla and his imagined interactions with Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse. One of the actors in the film, Maryland native Vincent de Paul, will introduce the film.

While the Chesapeake Film Festival is thrilled to bring back a live festival, it is also delighted to extend the festival for another week online. The virtual festival, October 3 through 10, includes more than 50 films to watch at your convenience, along with several scheduled interviews with filmmakers. The virtual festival is free, but donations are encouraged to help cover the costs.

“Our 2021 festival includes work by amazing filmmakers around the world,” said Festival Director Cid Collins Walker, “and we are honored to have several of those filmmakers sitting on our Board of Directors both in the live and virtual events.”

Films by Chesapeake Film Festival Board Members in the virtual festival, October 3-10, include:

“Liam White,” produced and directed by Harold Jackson, III, follows a novelist who, with a few months to live, faces all the people he stepped on to get to the top.

“Othello San,” produced and directed by Theodore Adams, III, about the realities a celebrated young African American actor faces when he enrolls at a prestigious theater school in Japan to play the lead role in Shakespeare’s “Othello.”

“Tyndall Typewriter,” with an award-winning script by Theodore Adams, III, features a repairman of antique typewriters who reminds people of the days when communications, social interactions, and relationships were tactile experiences.

“Zoo” (“Volkershau”), produced and directed by Monda Raquel Webb, is based on a gut-wrenching true event at the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels, Belgium.

“Harriet Tubman Monument,” produced and directed by Cesar Gonzalez, is a tribute to Maryland native, Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and led more than a dozen missions to rescue enslaved people and take them to freedom through the Underground Railroad.

“Saving San Domingo,” produced and edited by Sandy Cannon-Brown, reveals a 200-year-old African American community struggling to save its traditions and values.

Other independent film highlights in the virtual festival include: “Heroes’ Honeymoon,” “Honey Bee,” “The Recess,” “Type Cast,” “Ball Side Middle” (A Brooklyn Basketball Story), “Chicago: America’s Hidden War,” “Sky So Blue,” “RUMBLE: The Indians who Rocked the World,” “The Friendliest Town,” “The Tower Road Bus,” and “Under the Same Sky.”

Now in its 14th year, the mission of the Chesapeake Film Festival is to entertain, empower, educate and inspire diverse audiences of all ages by presenting exceptional independent films and events. Offered is a forum for outstanding filmmakers, experienced and emerging, to showcase and discuss stories of compelling interest to our local and global community. CFF prioritizes films that focus on the environment and social justice issues. The festival also strives to be an economic engine for the Eastern Shore by enticing visitors to experience exceptional films, world-famous seafood, art, and the beauty of our waterways. For more information, visit chesapeakefilmfestival.com or contact the Executive Director at 443-955-9144.

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