Eastern Shore Residents Share Honors with Filmmakers

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Rear Admiral Sara Joyner

The Chesapeake Film Festival is proud to honor four Eastern Shore residents who personify the spirit and accomplishments of the heroes in three films in the 2019 Festival in October. They join four previously-announced filmmakers as 2019 Festival Heroes. The awards will be presented at the Chesapeake Film Festival Gala Aug. 3 in Easton.

Rear Admiral Sara Joyner of Hoopers Island represents the courage and commitment of the airmen in The Cold Blue who flew bombing missions over Germany in 1943.  The Executive Producer of The Cold BlueCatherine Wyler, also will be honored at the gala. The film, directed by Erik Nelson, is constructed with digitally-enhanced footage captured by Catherine’s father, legendary director William Wyler, who flew missions with the airmen on the B-17 bomber, the Memphis Belle. The Cold Blue succeeds The Memphis Belle, a feature film Catherine produced for Warner Bros. in 1990 based on her father’s wartime documentary of the same name.

Rear Admiral Joyner established her place in naval history as the first woman to command a Strike Fighter Squadron and as the first female commander of a Carrier Air Wing. Since then, she has held numerous other leadership positions in the Navy, including her present position as director for Manpower and Personnel on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.

Lesley and Fred Israel

Lesley and Fred Israel of Easton will be recognized along with filmmaker Aviva Kempner whose film, The Spy Behind Home Plate, focuses on Moe Berg, a baseball player turned spy during WWII. Aviva, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, has produced numerous award-winning films with Jewish heroes, including the Peabody Award-winning The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, the first Jewish baseball player in the Major League.

The Israels were honorary chairs of the capital campaign for Temple B’Nai Israel and recently received the Temple’s first humanitarian award. Lesley, a political consultant, was a national officer of the Anti-defamation League and remains on the board of Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli based charity which does open-heart surgery on children from third-world countries. On the Eastern Shore, she chaired the boards of Talbot Humane and the Avalon Foundation. Fred, a retired lawyer, chaired the board of the Temple and served on the board of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

Paul Berry

Paul Berry of Easton, one of Washington’s most experienced and respected journalists, shares his award with Holly and Paul Fine.  With more than 40 years of experience and the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Fines are among the most esteemed producers/directors of television documentaries. The Easton couple had a long and illustrious career with Mike Wallace, the subject of a film screening in the 2019 Festival.

Paul anchored three newscasts each weekday for WJLA, DC’s ABC affiliate, where the Fines worked early in their career.  Among his many accomplishments, Paul established two WJLA public service programs, Crime Solvers and Seven on Your Side. He now supports Eastern Shore communities through his affiliations with Talbot Mentors, the YMCA, and the Chesapeake Chapter of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was appointed by three governors as a commissioner for Maryland Public Television, most recently by Larry Hogan.

To request an invitation to the Chesapeake Film Festival gala at the Talbot Country Club on Aug. 3, please visit chesapeakefilmfestival.com.  Tickets are $125.  $60 of the ticket price is tax deductible.

Save the Dates: October 3-10, 2019 for this Year’s Chesapeake Film Festival

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Moe Berg from The Spy Behind Home Plate

On Thursday, October 3, 2019, the Chesapeake Film Festival kicks off a week-long festival of independent films that celebrate heroes on the screen and behind the scenes.

Starting on Thursday, October 3 at the newly renovated Avalon Theatre, the Chesapeake Film Festival will present The Cold Blue followed by a gourmet reception and ending with The Spy Behind Home Plate. 

Aviva Kempner’s 2019 film, The Spy Behind Home Plate tells the real story of Moe Berg, major league baseball player turned spy during WWII. Once again focusing on a little-known Jewish hero, Aviva follows Berg from the streets of Newark to major league baseball to his secret life of spying for the OSS during WWII.

Catherine Wyler, daughter of the legendary director William Wyler, pays tribute to her father and the airmen of WWII in The Cold Blue. The film, directed by Erik Nelson, is constructed from digitally-enhanced footage captured by Wyler and his cameramen on the B-17 bomber, the Memphis Belle, during missions over Germany in 1943.  Both filmmakers Catherine Wyler and Aviva Kempner will be on hand to discuss their films with the audience.

On October 4, the festival focuses on the Chesapeake Bay. The evening event starts with a reception at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center and moves to the Avalon. The warm-up act includes two student films: Effects of Rising Water in Annapolis and Chesapeake Bay Report.  The main act is a series of new short films about the heroes of the Eastern Shore rivers by Dave Harp and Sandy Cannon-Brown.  A panel discussion caps the evening.

Six films are coming to the festival in October directly from the Sundance Film Festival this year that include the magnificent and suspenseful Light from Light directed by Paul HarrillBedlam, directed by Kenneth Paul RosenbergSea of Shadows, directed by Richard LadkaniApollo 11, directed by Todd Douglas Miller, Tigerland, directed by Ross Kauffman and an important film about the life and work of the late Mike Wallace of 60 minutes.

The environmental focus continues throughout the festival, with a full day of environmental films at Gallery 447 in Cambridge on Sunday, October 6. The lineup includes Tale of the Tongs directed by Judy & Stanley Hallet about an architectural installation on the island of Inishturk in Ireland. Another feature is the thrilling and inspiring action-packed journey that follows filmmaker Rob Stewart as he exposes the massive illegal shark fin industry and the political corruption behind it in Sharkwater: Extinction.  The finale of the day is The Human Element, which begins with a visit to Tangier Island where rising tides and erosion threaten the future of this Chesapeake Bay island. Panel discussions enhance all screenings.

We have introduced an important new series in the festival line-up this year called “Festival Favorites”, as we honor returning films that our audiences have loved the most including, Into the Okavango, The Gardener, Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf, Saving Sea Turtles: Preventing Extinction and Wild Ponies of Chincoteague and the wonderful film Swing Away which will close the festival this year.

An entire day of films and events will be dedicated to the issues of Mental Health & Aging with presenting partners of the Oxford Community Center featuring films exploring both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Those film titles include Late Afternoon, Away From HerIris and Alive Inside.

The Chesapeake Film Festival is generously supported by the Maryland Film Office, Maryland State Arts Council, Talbot County Arts Council, Talbot County Department of Tourism and Exelon Corporation.

Please visit us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or on chesapeakefilmfestival.com for ticketing and information about events and films.  We look forward to seeing you in October!

The schedule of films is subject to change.

Chesapeake Film Festival Presents Moving Stories at Easton Library

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The riveting, award-winning documentary, Moving Stories, screens Saturday, May 11 at 3 p.m. at the Talbot County Free Library, 100 W. Dover St., Easton, MD.

Moving Stories follows Battery Dance’s troupe in India, Romania, Korea, and Iraq as the professional dancers teach tools of choreography to at-risk youth through the Dancing to Connect program. The film captures the struggle, frustration, determination, and transformation of both teachers and students, who have just one week to prepare for a final performance.

The film, by Cornelia RavenalMikael SöderstenRob Fruchtman, and Wendy Sax, won the Best Documentary Award at the Chesapeake Film Festival in 2018. It premiered at the New York Museum of Modern Art last year.

Two of the filmmakers, Cornelia Ravenal and Mikael Södersten, will participate in a Q&A and a short reception in the Frederick Douglass Room following the screening. The event is free, but seating is limited. To reserve tickets for this event, go to Moving Stories on chesapeakefilmfestival.com and click on “Register.”

As a journalist and cultural critic, Cornelia Ravenal has written for the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Post and India Today.  As a scriptwriter, she has been recognized three times by The Writers Lab funded by Meryl Streep.  She has a B.A. in English from Harvard University.  She was a producer of the NY Times Critics Pick Nirbhaya off-Broadway and has won 5 Best Awards at more than 25 film festivals. As founder of WIP (Women Independent Producers), she’s an activist for women in the industry.

Mikael Södersten is a filmmaker, producer, screenwriter, and script doctor for Sweden’s leading producers and television networks. As a scriptwriter, he co-wrote the Swedish film I Love You (2016) and the upcoming mini-series Raoul Wallenberg. As a script consultant, he’s developed over 70 projects, including Grand Jury Prizewinners at Tribeca (Let The Right One In) and Sundance (King Of Ping Pong). He majored in film at Harvard and studied film theory at Stockholm University. He’s taught story structure at the Swedish Royal Academy of Fine Arts and currently teaches Directing Actors at Columbia University’s Graduate Film Program.

This event serves as a “thank you to our audience” from the CFF and an opportunity to learn how to volunteer at our exciting festival which will take place from October 3 to October 10, 2019. If you have any questions, please contact our Festival Office at 410-822-3500.

Chesapeake Film Festival: Moving Stories Screening

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The Chesapeake Film Festival will screen the riveting, award winning documentary, Moving Stories, on Saturday, May 11, at 3:00 p.m. at the Talbot County Free Library, 100 W. Dover St. in Easton.

Moving Stories follows Battery Dance’s troupe in India, Romania, Korea, and Iraq as the professional dancers teach tools of choreography to at-risk youth through the Dancing to Connect program. The film captures the struggle, frustration, determination, and transformation of both teachers and students, who have just one week to prepare for a final performance.

The film, by Cornelia Ravenal, Mikael Södersten, Rob Fruchtman, and Wendy Sax, premiered at the New York Museum of Modern Art last year and won the Best Documentary Award at the Chesapeake Film Festival in 2018.

Two of the filmmakers, Cornelia Ravenal and Mikael Södersten, will participate in a Question and Answer session after a short reception in the Frederick Douglass Room following the screening. The event is free but seating is limited. To reserve tickets for this event, go to Moving Stories on chesapeakefilmfestival.com and click on “Register.”

As a journalist and cultural critic, Cornelia Ravenal has a B.A. in English from Harvard University and has written for the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Post and India Today. As a scriptwriter, she has been recognized three times by The Writers Lab funded by Meryl Streep. She was a producer of the NY Times Critics Pick Nirbhaya off-Broadway and has won five Best Awards at more than twenty-five film festivals. As founder of WIP (Women Independent Producers), she is a prominent activist for women in the film industry.

Mikael Södersten is a filmmaker, producer, screenwriter, and script doctor for Sweden’s leading producers and television networks. As a scriptwriter, he co-wrote the Swedish film I Love You (2016) and the upcoming mini-series Raoul Wallenberg. As a script consultant, he has developed over seventy projects, including Grand Jury Prizewinners at Tribeca (Let The Right One In) and Sundance (King Of Ping Pong). He majored in film at Harvard and studied film theory at Stockholm University. He has taught story structure at the Swedish Royal Academy of Fine Arts and currently teaches Directing Actors at Columbia University’s Graduate Film Program.

This event serves both as a “thank you to our audience” from the Chesapeake Film Festival and an opportunity for attendees to learn how to volunteer at our exciting festival which will take place from October 3 to October 10, 2019. For further information please contact the Festival Office at 410-822-3500.

Death Penalty Documentary ‘In the Executioner’s Shadow’ Premieres at Film Festival October 12

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In August, Pope Francis declared the death penalty wrong. His edict challenged Catholics who have argued that their church accepted capital punishment in some cases. As efforts to overturn capital punishment continue in the United States, people of all faiths are questioning their deepest beliefs about justice.

This debate over the death penalty is the focus of a powerful new documentary, In the Executioner’s Shadow. This profound film premieres in Maryland during the Chesapeake Film Festival at the Avalon Theatre in Easton on Friday, October 12 at 8 p.m. and at Cambridge Premier Cinemas in Easton on October 13 at 1 p.m. For tickets and more information, go to chesapeakefilmfestival.com.

The film, co-produced by American University School of Communication professors Maggie Burnette Stogner and Rick Stack, casts a penetrating look at the consequences of the death penalty through three powerful stories: the rare perspective of a former state executioner who comes within days of executing an innocent person; a Boston Marathon bombing victim who struggles to decide what justice really means; and the parents of a murder victim who choose to fight for the life of their daughter’s killer.

Each screening will be followed by a panel and Q&A with Maggie Burnette Stogner and Rick Stack. They will be accompanied by Jerry Givens, retired Virginia executioner; Vicki Shieber, mother of a murder victim; and Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

Red Carpet Rolls Out October 11 for the Chesapeake Film Festival

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The Chesapeake Film Festival, October 11-14, 2018 brings filmmakers and film lovers together for remarkable screenings, illuminating discussions, and tasty receptions.  Four days. Five locations. 48 films.

The excitement begins Thursday, October 11 at the Academy Art Museum in Easton with Whet Your Appetite as Festival attendees partake of scrumptious appetizers and desserts prepared by seven area restaurants: Gourmet by the Bay, The Wylder Hotel, Stars Restaurant from the Inn at Perry Cabin, Limoncello Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar, The Bistro St. Michaels, Flying Fork Catering, and Scossa Restaurant and Lounge. (Thursday, October 11 at the Academy Art Museum 5 p.m.)

While the reception whets appetites for food, it also whets appetites for the opening night film at the Avalon TheatreNew Chefs on the Block, directed by Dustin Harrison-Atlas.  Two chefs in Washington, DC 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 stars Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxury and Frank Linn of Frankly…Pizza; and the director Dustin Harrison-Atlas are expected to be in attendance at the Opening Night events. There are cameos by legendary chefs and restaurateurs Danny Meyer, Mike Isabella, and Michel Richard, and Washington Post food writer Tim Carman. (Thursday, October 11 at the Avalon Theatre 7:30 p.m.)

The Festival continues at the Avalon Theatre on Friday, October 12, with a mix of three incredible and distinctive films.  The evening begins with a journey Into the Okavango, a river basin that covers 125,000 square miles across Angola, Botswana and Namibia.  Directed by National Geographic Society filmmaker Neil Gelinas, the film features stunning wildlife photography and aerial views of rarely seen vistas. Into the Okavango draws attention to an endangered wilderness while it mesmerizes viewers with its beauty. (Friday, October 12 at the Avalon Theatre 5:00 p.m.)

From African elephants in the wild, the Festival moves to the story of Old Bet, the first circus elephant in America, as sung by her friend, an old farm dog. The Elephant’s Song is portrayed in colorful, handcrafted animation created frame-by-frame with clay-on-glass by Lynn Tomlinson, an acclaimed animator and Towson University professor. A wine and cheese reception follows. (Friday, October 12 at the Avalon Theatre 7:15 p.m.; Sunday, October 14 at the Cambridge Premier Cinemas 3:00 p.m.)

Friday night, In the Executioner’s Shadow casts a penetrating look at the consequences of the death penalty through three powerful stories: the rare perspective of a former state executioner who comes within days of executing an innocent person; a Boston Marathon bombing victim who struggles to define justice; and the Maryland parents of a murder victim who choose to fight for the life of their daughter’s killer.  Directed by Maggie Stogner, In the Executioner’s Shadow illuminates the oft-hidden realities entangled in death row, the death penalty, and the U.S. Justice system at large. (Friday, October 12 at the Avalon Theatre 8 p.m.; Saturday, October 13 at the Cambridge Premier Cinemas 1:00 p.m.)

On Saturday, October 13, the Chesapeake Film Festival expands to five venues: The Avalon Theatre and Academy Art Museum in Easton, The Dorchester Center for the Arts and Cambridge Premier Cinemas in Cambridge, and the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels.

Festival participants will have three opportunities to see the Maryland premiere of the magical Moving Stories about six New York dancers who travel the world to work with youth who have experienced war, poverty, sexual exploitation, extreme prejudice and severe trauma as refugees. This motivational documentary by Wilderness Films shows how dance has the soft power to support children hurt by political and social failures.  (Saturday, October 13 at the Avalon Theatre 4:30 p.m. and Dorchester Center for the Arts 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, October 14 at the Academy Art Museum 1:00 p.m.)

Two other Maryland premieres screen in Easton and Cambridge.  The Gardener, directed by Sebastien Chabot, is a luscious summer-time tour of one of the great private gardens of the world: Frank Cabot’s 20-acre Quatre Vents in Quebec. The film is as much about the gardener as the garden as Cabot, who died in 2011, appears in archival footage to share his quest for perfection. (Saturday, October 13 at the Avalon Theatre at 2:45 p.m. and Dorchester Center for the Arts 8:00 p.m.)

Saving Sea Turtles: Preventing Extinction is narrated by renowned marine scientist Dr. Sylvia Earle.  This inspiring documentary about the world’s rarest sea turtle, the Kemp’s Ridley, explains how humans pushed a healthy population to the precipice of extinction, and how humans now are slowly helping it recover. (Saturday, October 13 at the Avalon Theatre 1:00 p.m. and Sunday, October 14 at the Cambridge Premier Cinemas 5:00 p.m.)

Cinephiles will delight in the Maryland premiere of Searching for Ingmar Bergman. Considered one of the most important filmmakers of all time, Bergman would have turned 100 years old this year.  To commemorate his life, internationally known German director Margarethe von Trotta looks at the man and his work in a powerful new film. Actress Liv Ullman, Bergman’s lover who starred in 10 of his films and directed two of his screenplays shares personal stories.  (Saturday, October 13 at the Avalon Theatre 7:30 p.m.  An International Red-Carpet Reception precedes the film at 6:45 p.m.) Following this exciting feature presentation, Ben Simons, director of the Academy Art Musuem and Anke Van Wagenberg, senior curator will join Cornelia Ravenal and Mikael Sodersten, co-producers of Moving Stories for a panel discussion.

Five Seasons and Moving Stories

The Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf, directed by Tom Piper, is a gorgeous, meditative documentary that immerses the viewer in the art of a revolutionary landscape designer. (Saturday, October 13 at 3:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 14 at Academy Art Museum 4:45 p.m.)

First time filmmaker, Rudy Valdez, tells the very personal story of his sister, Cindy Shank, and the consequences of her tangential involvement with a Michigan drug ring.  The Sentence offers an intimate look into the agony of serving a harsh mandatory minimum sentence by someone who just happened to be in love with the wrong person at the wrong time.  (Saturday, October 13 at the Dorchester Center for the Arts 3:30 p.m.)

Millions of people know the music from The West WingWonder Years and thirtysomething, yet few know the journey, hardships and triumphs of the composer of those familiar songs. Infused with the music of W.G. Snuffy Walden, Up to Snuff features luminaries from television, film and music who share personal stories, laughs and insights about this generous soul who overcame the excesses of rock and roll to find success in television. (Saturday, October 13 at the Cambridge Premier Cinemas 2:30 p.m.)

Beer lovers will savor a double feature on Saturday afternoon.  The Local Oyster Stout, an 8-minute film directed by Mark Burchick, tells the story of a collaboration between an oyster farmer, a shucker, and a brewery to create Maryland’s first farm-to-table Oyster Stout beer. Poured in Pennsylvania, a feature-length film directed by Nate Kresge, captures the history of the beer industry in the Keystone state.  It also shows how beer has created opportunities for hop farmers, maltsters, and keg manufacturers. (Saturday, October 13 at the Cambridge Premier Cinemas 4:15 p.m.)

Five Days in August, directed by Nick Ruff, follows two teams competing in the world’s largest and richest billfish tournament, the White Marlin Open out of Ocean City, MD.  With a total of 353 boats battling for an unprecedented $4.9 million, the stakes couldn’t be higher. For these fisherman, everything is literally on the line.  (Saturday, October 13 at the Cambridge Premier Cinemas 7:00 p.m.)

Saturday at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a day devoted to outstanding environmental films of regional interest. An hour of environmental shorts at 1:00 leads an impressive line-up of five diverse films, including three East Coast premieres.

Tidewater and Current Revolution were directed by Roger Sorkin of the non-profit American Resilience Project, an organization whose impact campaigns help shape the narrative for practical solutions to our environmental problems.  Tidewater presents a frightening look at the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, an area with 14 military installations that are extremely vulnerable to sea level rise. Current Revolution tackles the challenges of modernizing our aging power grid to make it more secure and environmentally friendly and accelerating the transition to electric vehicles.  (Saturday, October 13 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum 2:45 p.m.)

Restoring the Clearwater, directed by Jon Bowermaster, and Edna E. Lockwood: Bottoms Up!, directed by local filmmaker Sandy Cannon-Brown, follow the restoration of two historic vessels with educational missions.  The sloop Clearwater was built to save New York’s Hudson River under the visionary leadership of musician/activist Pete Seeger. Edna E. Lockwood was the last bugeye to work the Chesapeake Bay.  After a three-year replacement of her log hull, the 1889 bugeye will be back on the Chesapeake Bay to share the history, culture and traditions of watermen and their boats. Edna will officially relaunch during OysterFest 2018 at the museum, two weeks after her story debuts at the Chesapeake Film Festival. (Saturday, October 13 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum 4:45 p.m.)

The premiere of An Island Out of Time, by Tom Horton, Dave Harp and Sandy Cannon-Brown, is about an amazing couple, Mary Ada and Dwight Marshall, and about Smith Island where their family roots go back 400 years. Written by Tom Horton, the film – like his 1996 book, An Island Out of Time, is both celebration and elegy for a place beset with erosion, vanishing populations, and limited economic opportunities.  (Saturday, October 13 at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum 7:30 p.m.)

An Island Out of Time is preceded by a reception (6:00 p.m.), with crab cakes made by Mary Ada Marshall on Smith Island, and followed with a dessert reception (8:30 p.m.) featuring Mary Ada’s Smith Island cakes, now the state dessert of Maryland.  The crab cake reception includes wine and additional appetizers prepared and served by Gourmet by the Bay. That reception is free for ticket-holders attending the double feature of Restoring the Clearwater and Edna E. Lockwood: Bottoms Up! and/or the premiere of An Island Out of Time. The dessert reception is available only to ticket-holders for An Island Out of Time.

The Chesapeake Film Festival continues on Sunday, October 14 at the Avalon Theatre and Academy Art Museum in Easton and the Cambridge Premier Cinemas in Cambridge.

I, Matter is a feature-length docu-drama shot entirely on an iPhone by its writer and co-director Llysa Rie Lesaka and Shayne Pax. Llysa Rie as Gabbi Jones, tells the devastating and difficult story of living with HIV. (Sunday, October 14 at the Avalon Theatre 1:00 p.m.)

I, Matter is paired with a narrative short, Riverment, directed by emerging filmmaker Shayla Racquel, about a former civil rights activist who fears for the safety of her granddaughter who is determined to follow in her footsteps. (Sunday, October 14 at the Avalon Theatre 2:30 p.m.)

Voices/Peace, about Muslim, Christian and Jewish teens from the Jerusalem and the West Bank, and Boko Haram: Journey from Evil, about Nigerians overcoming a decade of conflict, create a poignant double feature by two award-winning directors: Amy DeLouise and Beth Mendelson, respectively. (Sunday, October 14 at the Avalon Theatre 3:15 p.m.)

The closing film of the Chesapeake Film Festival proves that fact can be stranger than fiction. Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, directed by Alexandra Dean, is about Hedy Lamarr, the beautiful Hollywood actress of the 1930s and 40s. At night, after shooting her scenes on set, Lamarr works on a secret radio system that will allow the Allies to torpedo Nazi U-boats with deadly accuracy.  A chance encounter with an eccentric composer, George Antheil, enables her to transform her sketches into a brilliant technology that ultimately contributes to the security of wi-fi, GPS and Bluetooth.  (Sunday, October 14 at the Avalon Theatre 5:00 p.m.)

The Chesapeake Film Festival calls it a wrap with a ticketed reception and awards ceremony. (Sunday, October 14 at the Avalon Theatre 7:00 p.m.)

The films and events listed above are only part of the total Chesapeake Film Festival experience. The Festival also features several programs of exceptional short films, and most screenings are followed by panel discussions and/or question-and-answers with the filmmakers and experts on the topic at hand. For a complete schedule and ticket information, visit chesapeakefilmfestival.com. Schedule subject to change.

The Chesapeake Film Festival Announces Its 2018 Cinematic Line-up

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Featuring a record 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.

October 11 – 14, 2018

Easton, St. Michaels and Cambridge, MD

Ticket sales on www.chesapeakefilmfestival.com

Join thousands of film lovers on Maryland’s scenic Eastern Shore this October at the Chesapeake Film Festival (CFF), where great stories begin. Our historic Maryland 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.

New Chefs on the Block

The CFF 2018 has something for everyone: A festive opening night about – and with – food; investigations into pressing social issues; virtual visits to amazing spaces; up-close and personal profiles of icons of cinema; creative short films and animations, and much more.

Opening Night Extravaganza

New Chefs on the Block, “a foodie sensation,” opens the Festival on Thursday, October 11.  Two chefs in Washington, DC 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, directed by Dustin Harrison-Atlas, stars Aaron Silverman of Rose’s Luxury and Frank Linn of Frankly…Pizza with cameos by legendary chefs and restaurateurs Danny Meyer (Shake Shack, Union Square Café), Mike Isabella (Bravo “Top Chef” Allstar), and Washington Post food writer Tim Carman.

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.  Businesses providing delectable hors d’oeuvres and desserts include Gourmet by the Bay, The Wylder Hotel, Stars Restaurant from the Inn at Perry Cabin, Limoncello Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar, The Bistro St. Michaels and Flying Fork Catering.

Fabulous Friday

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.

Making Waves at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

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 Cannon-Brown, An Island Out of Time, about Smith Island, MD.  The icing on the cake, figuratively and literally, is a reception with Maryland’s state dessert, the Smith Island multi-layer cake.

The environmental program also includes a double feature of films by Roger Sorkin and the American Resilience Project, including the East-Coast premiere of a new film about the transformation of America’s electric grid, Current Revolution. The other film, Tidewater, looks at the ravages of climate change, sea level rise and erosion on the military installations in the Tidewater area of Virginia.

The CBMM line-up also includes a sneak preview of a short film by Cannon-Brown, Edna E. Lockwood: Bottoms Up! about the three-year restoration of an 1889 nine-log bugeye in the museum’s shipyard.  Edna will officially relaunch two weeks after the Chesapeake Film Festival, during CBMM’s October 27 Oysterfest.

Five Seasons and Moving Stories

Saturday in Easton at the Avalon and Academy Art Museum…

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 gorgeous, meditative documentary that immerses viewers in the work of a revolutionary landscape designer. Moving Stories brings us six dancers from an acclaimed NY company 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.  Narrated by renowned marine scientist Dr. Sylvia Earle, this enchanting – yet disturbing – 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, a government employee by day and award-winning student filmmaker by night.  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.  His dreams of stardom are tempered by an intemperate instructor.

Saving Sea Turtles and Riverment

…and at the Dorchester Center for the Arts and Cambridge Premier Cinemas

The Chesapeake Film Festival is honored to add the Dorchester Center for the Arts as partner in the 2018 Festival.  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 Keatinga 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 Saturday afternoon.  Lighter fare continues throughout the day with Up to Snuff, about American musician and composer W. G. Snuffy Walden. If you don’t the name, you know his music from such TV shows as The West WingThe Wonder Years and Thirty something. 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 which follows two teams competing in the world’s largest and richest billfish tournament—The White Marlin Open in Ocean City.

Poured in Pennsylvania and Bombshell

Sunday Specials

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. Lamarr 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.

The 2018 Chesapeake Film Festival October 11-14

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Join thousands of film lovers on Maryland’s Eastern Shore at the Chesapeake Film Festival, where great stories begin. Thursday, October 11th to Sunday, October 14th, the Eastern Shore won’t just be the land of snails and oysters—it will be a sea of film! This long weekend is a celebration of storytelling and filmmaking including workshops, guest speakers, director Q&A’s and jam-packed cinematic discovery.

This year we bring to you an abundance of Maryland premieres, timely environmental films and provocative student films. There’s something for everyone with films that herald new chefs, exquisite gardeners, environmental heroes, a Hollywood movie starlet with a secret, teen grief, marlin fishing, Smith Island, sea turtles and so much more!

The films will be screened at a variety of venues on the shore, including the Avalon Theatre and the Academy Art Museum in Easton, MD; the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD; and the Cambridge Premier Cinema and the Dorchester Center for the Arts in Cambridge, MD.

Not only do you get scintillating film and discussion afterward, but come mingle with the filmmakers at our splashy opening night party at the Academy Art Museum, our environmentally themed event at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum and our closing night Award ceremony and party.

For more information, please go to chesapeakefilmfestival.com or email us at info@chesapeakefilmfestival.com.

Very Special Event as Chesapeake Film Festival Presents Cafeteria Man

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On Friday, May 11 at 6:00 p.m., The Chesapeake Film Festival’s new series REEL GEMS is presenting Cafeteria Man at St. Michaels High School. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at chesapeakefilmfestival.com or at the door.

In addition to the film, “larger than life” Tony Geraci, the star of the film; director, cinematographer and coproducer Richard Chisolm; and Deanna Deese Kilmon of Chesapeake Harvest in Easton will be on hand for a round table discussion afterward.

DID YOU KNOW

– One out of three children born in the United States in the year 2000 will develop diabetes.
– One third of children and adolescents in the U.S. are overweight or obese.
– The National School Lunch Program serves approximately 30.5 million lunches per day at a cost of $8.7 billion a year.
– Most of our food travels 1,500 miles before we eat it.

Cafeteria Man is a story of positive movement that shows what’s possible in our nation’s schools. It’s about the aspiration of activists and citizens coming together to change the way kids eat at school. It’s about overhauling a dysfunctional nutritional system. And, it’s the story of what it takes, and who it takes, to make solutions happen.

The feature documentary film chronicles an ambitious effort to ‘green’ the public-school diet serving 83,000 students in Baltimore – and later, over 200,000 students in Memphis.

Leading the charge to replace pre-plated, processed foods with locally-grown, freshly-prepared meals is Tony Geraci, food-service director for the city’s public schools. A charismatic chef from New Orleans, Geraci’s bold vision includes school vegetable gardens, student-designed meals, and nutrition education in the classroom. His mission is as audacious as it is practical.

“This has never been done before,” affirms Geraci, “but it makes perfect sense.”

The film follows Tony Geraci as a central character, introducing audiences to the dynamic assortment of human ingredients necessary for school food reform efforts to succeed.

Among the protagonists in this story are parents, teachers, administrators, farmers, chefs, and dozens of creative and motivated students. Their collective efforts are proof positive that a ‘village’ is indeed required to transform school food.

Over the course of several years, the film traces efforts to make healthy, nutritious meals available to all the city’s students. Viewers watch as inner city youth plant and harvest vegetables at the school system’s 33-acre teaching farm, now a national model. They witness what it takes to get local produce on school plates. And they watch as high school seniors develop practical job skills through a new citywide culinary vocational training program.

“If Tony makes this happen here the way he wants to, I think you’ll see this happening all over the country,” says best-selling author and food activist Michael Pollan in the film.

One of the crowning achievements of Tony’s tenure – Great Kids Farm – is a thriving, hands-on, educational resource. Since 2009, more than 5,000 students and teachers have benefited from the farm’s programs. (To learn more, visit: www.greatkidsfarm.org.) The Baltimore City Public Schools has continued to strengthen ties with local farmers, the After School Supper Program is reaching more parents/students, and a growing number of schools are incorporating salad bars.

In Easton, Sales and Marketing Director of Chesapeake Harvest, Deanna Deese Kilman, explains that her organization works on behalf of farmers to help them find marketing opportunities. She emphasizes that Tony values “Fresh” while her organization values both “local and community building to support the local economy.”

Curt Ellis, Executive Director, Foodcorps and Co-Producer, King Corn says, “Geraci is an inspiration. He proves that when you get students growing, cooking and eating healthy food, it’s not children’s lunch that changes—it’s children’s lives.” Richard Chisolm, the film’s director celebrates that we don’t have to live with a terrible situation and cites Tony’s “contagious optimism” and “evangelical” nature as helping to turn the situation around. “Tony thought that life could be better” and he made a change, Chisolm says and that why making this film was so important.

The Chesapeake Film Festival’s REEL GEMS will feature Cafeteria Man at St. Michaels High School (200 Seymour Avenue, St. Michaels, MD) on Friday, May 11 at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at Chesapeakefilmfestival.com or at the door.

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