RiverArts Film Society Brings Indie Cinema to Kent County


The RiverArts Film Society (RAFS), a program of Chestertown RiverArts, is bringing its first year to close at the end of this month. Created to provide a community space for watching and discussing independent, classic, and diverse films, RAFS provides a unique space for cinema in Kent County.

“We know there is a demand for film in Kent County, and we’ve been thrilled to meet our community’s needs,” said Louise Miller, RAFS Advisory Board Chair. Miller continued “The special thing about RAFS is that we show films that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to see in the area, and after each screening a guest facilitator brings the audience together for a group conversation about what we’ve just watched. It’s been illuminating.”

Past facilitators have included filmmaker Pam Whyte, screenwriter and playwright Robert Earl Price, historian Pat Nugent, and film professor Alicia Kozma. In 2019 RAFS is bringing on new community curators and facilitators to widen the scope of films shown and discussed. “I’m really excited for our community curators in 2019,” said Prof. Kozma, “They are choosing some amazing films to bring to town.”

Daughters of the Dust, January 20 screening at Sumner Hall

RAFS is membership based, which is what provides the funds for the group to exist. “We are dedicated to a low membership price–$50 for couples and $30 for individuals. That provides members with access to at least 12 free films a year, special filmmaker events, and local film festivals,” Miller said. “It’s a great value, and certainly costs much less than going to a movie theater 12 times a year!”

RAFS is responding to the need The Chestertown Spy identified earlier in the year. A poll the Spy conducted in August 2018 asked if readers would support independent films being screened in Chestertown; overwhelming readers said yes. “It was great to see,” said Prof. Kozma, “it really validated what RAFS is doing; we are the people showing independent film in Chestertown!”

RAFS 2018 screening scheduled included award-winning political documentaries, a look back at films of 1960s that reflected that turbulent time in U.S. life, a retrospective of indie directors the Coen Brothers, and a series exploring the lives of African Americans. A full list of the film shown can be found at  http://chestertownriverarts.net/programs/riverarts-film-society-2/.

The 2019 schedule will kick off with a film considered one of the best ever made: Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust. “Daughters of the Dust was unavailable for over 20 years – there was just no way to watch it,” said Miller. “Two years ago, it was restored. We can’t wait to bring it to town on January 20th and induct RAFS members into the select group of people who’ve seen this movie.”

RAFS is currently accepting members for 2019. You can join, renew your membership, and learn more about RAFS on their website, http://chestertownriverarts.net/programs/riverarts-film-society-2/

A program of RiverArts, the Film Society is dedicated to providing transformative cinematic experiences by screening films with diverse perspectives followed by thought provoking discussions.

RiverArts Galleries & Gift Shop 315 High Street, Suite 106, Chestertown, MD  21620 – (in the breezeway).  Gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday, 11 AM to 5:30 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 5:30PM, Sunday 11 AM – 3 PM, First Fridays until 8 PM.

KidSPOT Creativity Center next door to the gallery. ArtsAlive Education Center 200 High St., the Clay Studio, 204 High St.

Write a Letter to the Editor on this Article

We encourage readers to offer their point of view on this article by submitting the following form. Editing is sometimes necessary and is done at the discretion of the editorial staff.


We're glad you're enjoying The Chestertown Spy.

Sign up for the the free email blast to see what's new in the Spy. It's delivered right to your inbox at 3PM sharp.

Sign up here.