The Jury Prize for the best film in the 2019 Chesapeake Film Festival goes to The Cold Blue, which opens the Festival at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3 at the Avalon Theatre in Easton.
The Cold Blue, presented by its executive producer Catherine Wyler, is a brilliant story of WWII constructed from footage captured by Catherine’s father, William Wyler, for his 1943 film, The Memphis Belle. Incredibly, all the raw footage that the legendary director and his team shot was recently unearthed at the National Archives: 34 reels with 15 hours of material! Director Erik Nelson painstakingly restored and enhanced all the footage, frame by frame, using cutting-edge technology. And if that wasn’t enough of a challenge, Wyler’s work was recorded without sound. Nelson solved that with a new soundtrack that includes conversations. The film also includes interviews with surviving veterans of the 8th Air Force. Their poignant memories create an emotional and revealing story of young men – boys actually – who risk their lives in war, then and now.
At a reception immediately following The Cold Blue, you can meet Catherine – and the recipient of the Best Biographical Feature, Aviva Kempner. Aviva’s film, The Spy Beyond Home Plate, screens at the Avalon at 7 p.m.
The Spy Beyond Home Plate is the intriguing story of Moe Berg, major league baseball player turned Spy in WWII. Berg’s improbable story is told with rare historic footage and revealing interviews with family and all-star roster from the world of history, sports and spy craft.
Individual tickets, or Opening Day passes that cover both films and the reception, are still available at chesapeakefilmfestival.com or at the door.
Other awardees are:
Best Environmental Short: Nassawango Legacy, Dave Harp, director. (Friday, Oct. 4, 7:30pm at the Avalon Theatre. Tickets include a pre-show reception at 5:00pm at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center and panel discussion after the films. To purchase tickets go to Environmental Shorts Program 1 + Reception at chesapeakefilmfestival.com. )
Chesapeake Film Festival Awardees
Best Documentary Feature: The Pollinators, Peter Nelson, director. (Saturday, Oct. 5, 10am at Easton Premium Cinemas. Q&A led by Dr. Jeff Pettis, world-renowned bee expert, follows the screening. To purchase tickets, go to Seismology + The Pollinators.)
Best Short Film: Appy Days, Eric Dyson, director. (Sunday, Oct. 6, 11:00am at Easton Premium Cinemas. Q& A with the director. To purchase tickets, go to Shorts Program 2.)
Best Animated Film: Late Afternoon, Louise Bagnall. (See this Oscar-nominated short on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at Oxford Community Center as part of Arts to Remember, a day of films and educational resources focusing on aging and dementia.)
Best Emerging Filmmaker: Lehr Jackson for The Endless War about his days in the Vietnam War. (Wednesday, Oct 9, 2:30 p.m. at Easton Premium Cinemas. Q&A with Lehr Jackson.)
Best Emerging Performance: Herman J. Johansen (actor) in The Land. (Sunday, Oct. 6, 2pm at Easton Premium Cinemas.)
Best Emerging Director: Paul Harrill for Light from Light. (Friday, Oct. 4, 9:30pm, Easton Premium Cinemas.)
Best Editing: Sea of Shadows, Richard Ladkani, director. (Saturday, Oct. 5, 7pm, Avalon Theatre.)
Best Sound Editing: The Bonobo Connection, Irene Magafan, director. (Thursday, Oct. 10, 1pm, Easton Premium Cinemas. Q&A with Irene Magafan.)
Best International Short Film: Reflections, Vincent De Paul, producer. (Wednesday, Oct. 9, 12pm as part of Shorts Program 4 at Easton Premium Cinemas.)
Best Student Short: Bishop, Joshua Ziggy Popkin, director. (Tuesday, Oct. 8, 1pm as part of Shorts Program 3 at Easton Premium Cinemas.)