The Chesapeake Film Festival Presents a Program of 62 New Independent Films


The Spy Behind Home Plate

Beginning Thursday, October 3, the Chesapeake Film Festival will present a week-long extravaganza of outstanding cinema to Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Subjects include a pro baseball player turned World War II spy; nine teens vying for the world title of best young scientist; the Apollo 11 voyage with never-before-seen footage and endangered species in the oceans and on land.

In all, the Festival will offer 62 extraordinary films, discussions led by the filmmakers and experts on the topics illuminated by the films, and opportunities to participate, network and socialize.

The festival opens with a star-studded evening at the historic Avalon Theatre in Easton and kicks off with The Cold Blue, Catherine Wyler’s tribute to her father and the heroic airmen of WWII.  Wyler, the daughter of legendary film director William Wyler will be present for a Q & A following the screening.  After a gourmet reception the evening continues with the Maryland premiere of The Spy Behind Home Plate, directed by Aviva Kempner who will be present to discuss her new film with the audience.  The Spy Behind Home Plate tells the story of Moe Berg, a major league baseball player and his secret life as a spy for the OSS during WWII.

“There is a tremendous ethos surrounding the Sundance Film Festival and it’s there for a reason”, said Cid Collins Walker, the artistic director for the festival. “The experience is so intense, so raw in terms of the power of the storytelling that takes place there each year.  This year while scouting films I was able to procure six of Sundance’s finest films for the Chesapeake Film Festival.” Several of those films include the elucidating Bedlam directed by Kenneth Paul Rosenberg about the mental health crisis currently taking place in urban America, the modern narrative thriller Light from Light, directed by Paul Harrill where single mom Shelia, gifted with prophetic dreams, moonlights as a paranormal investigator, Apollo 11, directed by Todd Douglas Miller that takes you straight to the heart of this intense scientific and human endeavor, sharing the atmosphere and action around the final moments of the preparation, liftoff, landing and return of the famed moon-landing mission. Sea of Shadows, directed by Richard Landkani gives us an up-close encounter with Mexican drug cartels that have discovered the “cocaine of the sea,” a valuable fish called the totaba—which is at the center of a multimillion-dollar business with the Chinese Mafia executive produced by Leonardo di Caprio. And Tigerland which illustrates how shifting political realities in Russia and India created a lucrative poaching underworld that decimated the tiger population. Tigerland is directed by Academy Award winner Ross Kaufman who will be in attendance at the festival to answer questions from the audience about his new film.

The Human Element

Environmental films highlight the festival starting Friday evening, October 4 at the Avalon Theatre in Easton with a series of films about the Chesapeake Bay.  The lineup includes premieres of new short works by festival favorites Tom Horton, Dave Harp and Sandy Cannon-Brown.  On Sunday, October 6, the Festival will present a full day of environmental films at Gallery 447 in Cambridge including the festival favorite feature-length film The Tale of the Tongs with screenings of Sharkwater: Extinction and The Human Element later in the day.

On Wednesday, October 9 the Chesapeake Film Festival and the Oxford Community Center team up with Candle Light Cove and other corporate and non-profit sponsors to present, Art to Remember, about Mental Health and Dementia Awareness.  A breakfast reception will open the day at 8:30am followed by the Irish animated short Late Afternoon. The feature-length film Away from Her starring Julie Christie will screen at 10:30. Following a lunch reception and panel discussion at 12:30pm also at the Oxford Community Center, the 2014 Sundance Audience Award-winning film, Alive Inside will screen at 2pm.

Swing Away

Closing the festival this year on Thursday, October 10 at 1pm at the Easton Premier Cinema will be festival favorite, The Bonobo Connection, directed by Irene Magafan.  The festival will close this year with the beautiful and light-hearted film Swing Away starring John O’Hurley.  Executive producer George Stephanopoulos and writer Paul Lingas of Swing Away will be in attendance to answer any questions the audience may have about this humorous feature-length film.

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. The Chesapeake Film Festival’s Media Sponsors include WRNR Radio, Attraction Magazine, WCEI Radio, What’s Up Media, MPT, Talbot Spy, Shore Home and Garden, Talbot Guide, Tidewater Times, Discover Easton, WBOC TV, Delmarva Public Radio, Talbot County Chamber of Commerce, WYPR and APG Chesapeake.

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Tickets will be available for purchase in August on  Individual tickets for Adults (18 and up) are $12. Individual Tickets for Youth (under 18) and Seniors (55 and up) are $10.  Festival Passes that can also be purchased online are $140.  Opening Day Passes for two films and a gourmet reception are $40.

Please note: the schedule of films is subject to change.

Heroes – A Gala Celebration of the Chesapeake Film Festival on August 3


On Saturday, August 3, 2019, the Chesapeake Film Festival celebrates “Heroes” at a fundraising gala at the Talbot Country Club in Easton, Maryland.

Honorees include four stellar filmmakers: Catherine Wyler, Aviva Kempner and Easton’s Holly and Paul Fine.  In addition to these distinguished filmmakers, the gala will honor the heroes of their films in the Chesapeake Film Festival (Oct. 3-10) and heroes in our community. Stay tuned for the announcement of the community heroes!

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. The documentary succeeds Memphis Belle, a feature film Catherine produced for Warner Bros. in 1990. Her other credits include Directed by William Wyler and Witness to Hope: The Life of Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II. Catherine was a Senior Vice President at Columbia Pictures, Director of Cultural and Children’s Programming at PBS, and played a key role at the National Endowment for the Arts in the creation of The Sundance Institute and other media organizations.

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.  A child of a Holocaust survivor, Aviva was born in Berlin after WWII. Her family history inspired her to produce her first documentary, Partisans of Vilna, a gripping story of Jewish resistance to the Nazis.  Later films include Peabody Award-winning The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, the first Jewish baseball star in the Major Leagues; Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg about Gertrude Berg, who received the first Best Actress Emmy in history; and Rosenwald, about businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald who partnered with Booker T. Washington to build 5,000 schools for African American communities in the Jim Crow south.

With 40 years of experience, four Peabody Awards, over 80 Emmys Awards and the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Holly and Paul Fine are among the most respected producers/directors of television documentaries. The Easton couple had a long and illustrious career with 60 Minutes and a special relationship with fearsome newsman Mike Wallace.  They will share stories about Wallace following the festival screening of a documentary about Wallace that premiered at Sundance this year. In addition to their work with 60 Minutes, Holly and Paul produced many TV specials for CBS, including In the Killing Fields of America, and specials for 20/20, and Nightline at ABC.  Their son, Sean, and his wife Andrea earned two Academy Award nominations, and one Oscar for their documentary Inocente.

The gala will feature an award-winning three course meal with a signature dessert by celebrity chef Steve Konopelski of Turnbridge Point.

To request an invitation, please go to and click on “Send a CFF Gala Invitation!”

At the Trippe this Weekend


As well as the feature exhibit for July, “The Art of the Plein Air Painter, The Trippe Gallery will be hosting several artist demonstrations and a reception where guests can meet the Plein Air Easton gallery artists. Beginning at 10 Am on Friday July 19, oil painter Len Mizerek will be demonstrating his marine painting techniques. Len had been juried into Plein Air Easton for 11 consecutive years. At 12 noon Friday, event favorite Elise Phillips will be demonstrating her oil techniques. Elsie is appearing in her 10th straight Plein Air Easton. The day rounds out with a demonstration by Charlie Hunter of his unique oil painting technique. Charlie has been a festival favorite for many years.
On Saturday at 4 pm, popular Plein Air Easton alum David Csont will be doing a watercolor painting in front of the gallery. All demonstration paintings will be available for purchase.

A reception will be held at the gallery from 5-7 pm Saturday with an opportunity to mingle with repeat and new Plein Air Easton artists and view paintings of Plein Air Easton artists that exhibit at the gallery year round. The Trippe Gallery is located at 23 N Harrison St.. For more information please call 410-310-8727.

Legendary Singer-Songwriter John Gorka at The Mainstay July 26


Legendary singer-songwriter John Gorka returns to The Mainstay for an evening of original song Friday July 26 at 8pm. Tickets are $25 online or $30 by phone reservation or at the door.Information and advance ticket sales are available on the Mainstay’s website at

From New Jersey, John Gorka is a world-renowned singer-songwriter who got his start at a neighborhood coffeehouse in eastern Pennsylvania. Though small, Godfrey Daniels was and is one of the oldest and most venerable music institutions and has long been a hangout for music lovers and aspiring musicians. In the late 1970’s, John was was one of these aspiring musicians. Although his academic coursework at Moravian College lay in Philosophy and History, music began to offer paramount enticements. Soon he found himself living in the club’s basement and acting as resident MC and sound man, encountering legendary folk troubadours like Canadian singer-songwriter Stan Rogers, Eric Andersen, Tom Paxton and Claudia Schmidt. Their brand of folk-inspired acoustic music inspired him, and before long he was performing his own songs – mostly as an opener for visiting acts. Soon he started traveling to New York City, where Jack Hardy’s legendary Fast Folk circle (a breeding ground for many a major singer-songwriter) became a powerful source of education and encouragement. Folk meccas like Texas’ Kerrville Folk Festival (where he won the New Folk Award in 1984) and Boston followed, and his stunningly soulful baritone voice and original songwriting began turning heads. Those who had at one time inspired him – Suzanne Vega, Bill Morrissey, Nanci Griffith, Christine Lavin, Shawn Colvin – had become his peers.

John Gorka

In addition to his 11 critically acclaimed albums, John released a collector’s edition box featuring a hi-definition DVD and companion CD called The Gypsy Life. Windham Hill also released a collection of John’s greatest hits from the label called Pure John Gorka. In 2010, he also released an album with his friends and Red House label-mates Lucy Kaplansky and Eliza Gilkyson under the name Red Horse. Getting high praise from critics and fans alike, it landed on the Billboard Folk Charts and was one of the most played albums on folk radio.

Many well known artists have recorded and/or performed John Gorka songs, including Mary Chapin Carpenter, Nanci Griffith, Mary Black and Maura O’Connell. John has graced the stage of Austin City Limits, Mountain Stage, etown and has appeared on CNN. His new song “Where No Monuments Stand” is featured in the upcoming documentary Every War Has Two Losers, about activist and Oregon Poet Laureate William Stafford (1914-1993).

John Gorka lives in Minnesota and when not on the road, he enjoys spending time with his wife and children. He continues to tour, playing festivals, theaters and clubs all over North America and Europe.

The Mainstay (Home of Musical Magic) is the friendly informal storefront performing arts center on Rock Hall’s old time Main Street. It is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit dedicated to the arts, serving Rock Hall, MD and the surrounding region and is committed to presenting local, regional and national level talent, at a reasonable price, in an almost perfect acoustic setting. Information and advance ticket sales are available on the Mainstay’s website

Upcoming Mainstay performances include:

July 29 Joe Holt Welcomes Libby York
August 3 Bluegrass Supergroup Blue Highway!
August 5 Joe Holt welcomes Fred Hughes
August 9 Sue Matthews and the American Jazz Trio
August 12 Joe Holt welcomes Alex Lacquement
August 19 Joe Holt welcomes Pat Mercuri
August 26 Joe Holt SOLO SHOW
August 31 Kathy Kallick Band
September 2 Joe Holt welcomes Beth McDonald
September 7 The Mainstay Blues Series: Eleanor Ellis
September 9 Chestertown Jazz Fest Kickoff with Larry McKenna Quartet

“Off the Axis” Gallery Exhibit by Master Knitter Sue Wright


The Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore (FACES) is pleased to announce the opening of “Off the Axis,” an exhibit of knitted wearable pieces by Sue Wright. The exhibit features original knitted wearable art. Employing variations of basic knit and purl stitches, Sue uses different styles of knitting including diagonal, stockinette stitch and more. She even brings in mathematical concepts including the Fibonacci sequence to create unique and intricate masterpieces. The pieces in the show are available for sale as noted on each garment. The exhibit can be viewed at the Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore through August 31, 2019.

Sue Wright is a Master Knitter, certified by the Knitting Guild of America, and a certified Knitting Instructor. Her interest in Fiber Arts is of long duration, completing her first hand knit sweater at age eleven. She has been taught by world class instructors and designers, including Evie Rosen, Sally Melville, Lily Chin, Nancie Wiseman, Katharine Cobey and Ginger Luters. She also has attended training conferences sponsored by Knitter’s magazine and The Knitting Guild of America. She was director of and participated in Fiber Shows at the Friend Memorial Library, Brooklin, Maine January, 2000 through 2013 and had a one woman show there August, 2011. She also was instrumental in the Fiber Shows at Chester River Artworks, Chestertown, Maryland 2002 – 2011 and Chestertown RiverArts 2012-2015. Sue has been teaching beginning and experienced knitters for twenty years in Maryland and in Maine.

Sue’s higher education was received from Johns Hopkins University, where she won a Master of Administrative Science degree. She is retired from her faculty position at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where she was Technical Director of the Hemapheresis Unit for the Oncology Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore is the region’s premier resource for fiber artists and fiber enthusiasts. It is located at 7 North 4th Street in the Arts & Entertainment District of historic downtown Denton. The gallery is open weekly Thursday through Saturday from noon to 4:00 pm. For more information, visit or call 410-479-0009.

Chestertown Music in the Park: “Music from Musicals” Concert to be Held in Sumner Hall, Sat. July 20


Tred Avon players in 2018 in the cast of “Little Shop of Horrors” Top Row: Ricky Vitanovec, Rachel Elaina, Beth Anne Langrell, Erinne Lewis, Bill Gross, Mike Sousa, Shelby Swann – Middle Row: Ed Langrell  – Bottom Row: Kathy Jones, Sarah Anthony, Matthew Keeler. 

The Tred Avon Players will present an evening of music from Broadway musicals at Chestertown’s next Music in the Park concert. Directed by Marcia Gilliam, this talented group of local singers and actors will bring the magic of Broadway to the stage in Sumner Hall this Saturday, July 20.  The music begins at 7:00 pm and will last approximately 90 minutes. Admission is free and open to the public.

The concert will be indoors due to the extreme heat expected this weekend – in the 90s on Saturday evening with “feels-like” temperatures of over 100. Sumner Hall will be air-conditioned. There is also a lovely little museum there that visitors can enjoy before the concert or during the intermission.  Sumner Hall is located at 206 S. Queen St. in downtown Chestertown.

The concert will feature songs from famous composers such as Irving Berlin, George M. Cohan, Cole Porter, and Stephen Sondheim.  There will also be tunes from more contemporary composers such as Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton), and Stephen Schwartz (Wicked).

There will be solos, duets, and trios along with full ensemble numbers. Among the musicals included are It Shoulda Been You, Once Upon This Island, Tick Tick Boom, The Apple Tree, Waitress, A Little Night Music, and Little Shop of Horrors.

Accompanying the singers will be noted pianist Ellen Grunden. Chorus members include Marcia Gilliam, Kathy Jones, Beth Anne Langrell, Ed Langrell, Shelby Swann, and Mike Sousa.

If you’ve enjoyed the classic Broadway musicals as performed at the Church Hill Theatre or in Oxford by the Tred Avon Players, then don’t miss this chance to walk down Broadway again! There will be old favorites as well as some new songs from shows currently on Broadway. And of course, some to sing along with! Please join us at 7:00 pm on Saturday, July 20, at Sumner Hall.

Sumner Hall is located at 206 South Queen St. in Chestertown. It has wheelchair access and an elevator. Seating capacity is limited to 75, so you might want to arrive a little early in order to be sure of getting a seat.

Marcia Gilliam, director and member of Tred Avon Players

Built around 1908, Sumner Hall is one of only two remaining Grand Army of the Republic lodges built by and for African-American soldiers who fought for the Union in the American Civil War. Sumner Hall has been completely restored and modernized and currently serves as a small museum and community center with a full calendar of events, including other concerts. According to their website at, Sumner Hall’s mission is “to preserve Sumner Hall as a place of remembrance, to promote an understanding of the African American experience within the context of American history and culture, to honor the contributions of African American veterans, to promote the pursuit of liberty for all, and to advocate for social justice.”

Music in the Park is a free summer concert series sponsored by the Town of Chestertown with support from The Kent County Arts Council & Community Contributors. To help make these programs possible, please send donations payable to the Town of Chestertown with “Music in the Park” in the notes field of the check. Mail to Chestertown Town Hall, 118 N. Cross Street, Chestertown, MD 21620.

The next bands in the concert series will be Swing City on Saturday, Aug. 3 and Quiet Fire on Legacy Day, Aug. 17.


Movie Night at The Garfield Presents: McLintock


The Garfield Center for the Arts will be pulling out the popcorn on Friday, July 19 for a 7pm screening of the 1963 film, McLintock. This will be the third in a series of films to be shown at the theatre in 2019. Since the September 2017 installation of the Garfield’s new projector screen, the theatre has been showing classic films whenever their programming schedule permits. The concession stand will be selling popcorn for the evening, as well as the usual theatre bar fare. The next film in the series, The Little Princess (1939), stars Shirley Temple and will be shown at the Garfield on September 20th.

About the film: Aging rancher George Washington McLintock (John Wayne), a wealthy self-made man, is forced to deal with numerous personal and professional problems. Seemingly everyone wants a piece of his enormous farmstead, including high-ranking government men, McLintock’s own sons and nearby Native Americans. As McLintock tries to juggle his various adversaries, his wife (Maureen O’Hara), who left him two years previously, suddenly returns. But she isn’t interested in her husband — she wants custody of their daughter.

Suggested $5 donation for admission. For more information about this screening of McLintock, the Movie Night at the Garfield series, or any other upcoming theatre events, please visit, or call the box office at 410-810-2060. The Garfield Center for the Arts is located at 210 High Street in Chestertown.

Troika Gallery & The Avalon present Raoul Middleman, Legendary Painter


Troika Gallery, in partnership with The Avalon Foundation, is proud to present  An Evening with Raoul Middleman, Legendary Artist, as he discusses his acclaimed art career and an upcoming documentary film on Saturday, July 20, at The Avalon Theatre at 7 pm.  The Director and Producer of the film will show excerpts of the film which is set to release in 2020.

An American painter, Raoul Middleman (Baltimore 1935) is known for his provocative and prolific work including figure studies, landscapes, seascapes, florals and still lifes. Middleman has been a member of the Maryland Institute College of Art faculty since 1961 and received a B.A. in Philosophy from Johns Hopkins University, attended The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and The Brooklyn Museum Art School. His vigor for life and vivacious spirit run parallel to his dynamic paintings.

Raoul Middleman

Raoul’s paintings hang in private and museum collections including The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery of Art, The National Academy of Design, The New York Public Library, and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Troika Gallery has represented Raoul Middleman since 1997. The owners/artists of Troika are closely associated with Raoul in both a personal and professional manner.

Madeline Becker, Film Director & Producer, will discuss the documentary which is a journey into the Raoul’s studio.  Focused on his later years, the film reflects Raoul’s life and philosphy as a painter from the 1950’s to present day. Middleman’s subjects range from Baltimore cityscapes of the industrial past to large narrative paintings full of colorful characters. Becker received a B.F.A. summa cum laude in painting and video/film from the Maryland Institute of Art.

Tickets to this highly anticipated talk at The Avalon Theatre and the Troika Gallery Reception (limited to 40 ) are on sale

Visit for more information or call the gallery at 410-770-9190.

Green Room Gang to Perform at Church Hill Theatre


The sounds of singing and dancing are filling the Church Hill Theatre as talented local youngsters rehearse for their productions of The Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon and Alice in Wonderland, JR. that they will perform Thursday, July 25 through Saturday, July 26. For the past twenty years, Green Room Gang campers have honed their acting, singing and dancing skills to produce fully staged musical productions. The Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon is adapted for children from the Magic Tree House series of books by Mary Pope Osborne. Alice in Wonderland, JR. is based on the 1951 Disney film Alice in Wonderland and the novels The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.

2019 Green Room Gang Junior and Senior students, interns and instructors.

Becca Van Aken directs the younger performers in The Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon and Iz Clemens directs the middle and high students in Alice in Wonderland, JR.   Interns Shayla Moore and Kelly Young ably assist both directors in all aspects of the classes and rehearsals.  Production staff includes Tom Rhodes, Carmen Grasso for set construction, Tina Johnson, Debbie Ebersole, and Erma Johnson who are creating the costumes, with Kat Melton working on lighting.  Krista Roark is the choreographer for GRG Jr.  High school apprentices are Courtney Adams, Olivia Giuliano, Lynsey Hildebrand, Christina Lewis, Maya McGrory, and Grace Sutherland.  Shelagh Grasso and Sylvia Maloney serve as producers and mentors.  Many parents and other volunteers helped with costumes, sets, and props, making this annual show a community effort.

Performances will be on the evenings of Thursday, July 25 and Friday, July 26 at 7 pm and on Saturday, July 27 at 2 pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. Reservations can be made by calling the box office at (410) 556-6003.

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