The Oscars might be over but people are still raving over the events. Whether it be the Girl Scout cookie scandal or the fact Leonardo DiCaprio now has a host of new memes, the Oscars are the most talked about film event of the year. Yet there is an event just as exciting about to happen here in Annapolis – that’s right the Annapolis Film Festival is just around the corner! An event that will screen more than 70 independent films and host its own after party at the Loews Annapolis Hotel.
The festival itself has gone from strength to strength since its debut in 2013, growing from 2,600 people in its first year to over 9000 people attending in 2015. But it’s the unique approach to a film festival that makes this event so special – after-all, it doesn’t actually have a theater to call home. Yet while others might believe that a lack of venue is cause for no festival at all, founders Lee Anderson and Patti White took this hurdle as an opportunity to utilize some of Annapolis’s local buildings into makeshift theaters just for the festival.
Buildings used this year include Maryland Hall, Asbury United Methodist Church and Annapolis Elementary School. Of course, none of the venues being used are optimized for viewing films, which means each venue has to be equipped with high quality audio-visual equipment so the movies can be screened at their best quality. Something that has cost the festival an estimated $60,000, which is why support from businesses and locals is so important for the longevity of the festival in the future.
The festival itself is a superb event for Annapolis giving both locals and visitors to the city a wonderful opportunity to see some amazing movies as well as getting to interact with people in the movie industry such as actors, directors and producers. There will even be special coffee mornings over the weekend that will allow VIP attendees to have breakfast with industry experts, a perfect opportunity for budding film makers to ask career advice.
Showcasing independent movies is an integral part to the festival and this year will even see a panel of industry experts attending the festival to choose two winners from the Juried Shorts Program. The two categories, narrative and documentary, have been whittled down to five finalists for the judges to pick their favorite, which will be no easy task due to the high caliber of entries. In fact, this might be the most exciting award in the movie industry this year, perhaps, dare we say it, capable of replicating the fanfare that proceeded DiCaprio’s surprise win at the Oscars in February. Although you’ll need to wait till the Sunday to hear the results as the winners will be announced at the special Best of the Fest show and will both be awarded a $500 cash prize to help fund future projects.
The festival will take place later this month starting on the 31st March and ending April 3rd. Passes are available for both individual days and full festival passes. You can also buy individual tickets for the movies of your choosing. All tickets are available from the Annapolis Film Festival website.