RiverArts Film Festival Offers New Film Series and Filmmaking Workshop


Pam Whyte

RiverArts, a dynamic, regional community arts center in Chestertown, launched a new program earlier this year that focuses on film as a visual art form and forum for social commentary. The RiverArts Film Society recognizes filmmaking as a complex and powerful art in our world and offers transformative cinematic experiences by screening films with diverse perspectives followed by thought-provoking discussions.  RiverArts is partnering with Sumner Hall and the Mainstay to show monthly films with talkbacks at their venues which offer large screens with an intimate, coffee-house ambiance.

The next series 1960’s Cultural Phenoms, curated by Pam Whyte, opens with The Graduate at 7:00 on June 15 at the Mainstay in Rock Hall. The Graduate is a biting satire/comedy about a recent East Coast college graduate who finds himself alienated and adrift in the shifting, social and sexual mores of the 1960s and questioning the values of society. It’s a groundbreaking film that helped set in motion a new era of filmmaking, mirroring the changes occurring not only in Hollywood but also the U.S. Today the influential film is ranked 17 on AFI’s 100 movies of cinematic milestones. The first series, curated by Robert Earl Price, featured three important films about African Americans – Nothing But a Man, Uptight, and Do the Right Thing.

In addition, the Society offers a series of filmmaking workshops and classes.  Coming up on Saturday, June 16 from 10 to 5:00 is an Intro to Filmmaking workshop taught by documentary film maker, Pam Whyte.  This will be a hands-on class where students will learn the fundamentals of motion picture production. Students will shoot and edit sequences assigned to them while games, demonstrations and analyses of professional films will be the basis for learning the language and personnel of pre production, production and post-production. There will be an emphasis on the basic techniques to create compelling, connotative shots and rhythmic editing.  To register for this class or find out more information on this and other classes, visit chestertownriverarts.org and click on Education in the navigation bar.

The RiverArts Film Society is a membership club with an annual fee of $30 for one person or $50 for two. Membership includes free admission to up to ten films per year that includes talkbacks and Q&A by engaging, knowledgeable presenters.More information about the film society, the film screenings, and filmmaking classes can be found on the RiverArts website.  Louise Miller and Lani Seikaly chair the RiverArts Film Advisory Board and welcome any ideas you have for future film screenings, classes or workshops.

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