The 7th Annual Annapolis Film Festival (AFF) reveals its full slate of more than 70 films from over 25 countries. The festival will be held March 21-24, 2019, with screenings at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis Elementary School, St John’s College and Asbury United Methodist Church. This year’s festival theme: Truth in Storytelling, is threaded throughout the four-day, extraordinary program of films, parties, panels, coffee talks and Q&As with filmmakers.
“With the theme of this year’s festival, Truth in Storytelling, we are honoring all the brave storytellers and journalists in pursuit of the truth with a stellar slate of films we have curated, highlighting this theme.” said Patti White, Festival Director. Films have been selected from all over the world including the best of independent American cinema as well as local films from Maryland. International films will be coming from Austria, Slovakia, Singapore, Hungary, France, Germany, Estonia, UK, Afghanistan, Iran, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Russian Federation, Mexico and India.
The 2019 Annapolis Film Festival will kick on with the Red Carpet at Maryland Hall screening the Opening Night Film, The Public, written, directed by and starring Emilio Estevez, who plays the librarian with great emotion and intensity – this is the story of a deeply humanistic crisis, filled with fundamental tension and relatability between the disenfranchised and the powers that be. What begins as an impromptu act of civil disobedience turns into a major stand-off with riot police, a no-nonsense mediator and a cunningly ambitious DA, complete with ravenous news reporters and the watchfully invested public eye. This David versus Goliath story tackles some of our nation’s most challenging issues, homelessness and mental illness and sets the drama inside one of the last bastions of democracy-in-action: your public library. The star-studded cast includes Emilio Estevez, Taylor Schilling, Jena Malone, Christian Slater, Alec Baldwin, Gabrielle Union.
Director of Programming Derek Horne says “ To bring the most engaging slate to this year’s festival, we spent a lot of time scouting for films that represent this year’s theme. We have selected the best from a huge pool of submissions from new and established filmmakers.” This year’s Spotlight films include – In Your Hands, starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Villains – starring Kyra Sedgwick, Jeffrey Donovan, Maika Monroe & Bill Skarsgård, Little Woods, starring Tessa Thompson & Lily James, Wild Rose, starring Jessie Buckley & Julie Walters, Solace, starring Lynn Whitfield & Glynn Turman, and Them That Follow, starring Olivia Colman & Jim Gaffigan,
Categories of this year’s AFF include – narrative features, documentaries and shorts films, student films, as well as films with a local focus. Showcases will include Environmental, African American Experience, Jewish Experience and a Boating Experience. Festival-goers may also participate in panel discussions – What’s Up, Doc? (documentary filmmaking), Essentials of Indie Filmmaking-Creating your Team, Writing for the Screens, Social Media: A Filmmakers New Best Friend – to be held at The Annapolis Hotel Power House, Friday. On Saturday, Directors & Producers: In The Ring at St. Johns and Sunday, Voices of Women in Film, at St. Johns.
NARRATIVE FILMS SELECTED INCLUDE:
Fishbowl – Alexa Kinigopoulos, Stephen Kinigopoulos, In Reality – Ann Lupo, In Your Hands) – Ludovic Bernard, The Interpreter – Martin Sulík, Little Woods – Nia DaCosta, Mothers’ Instinct – Olivier Masset-Depasse, Ode to Joy – Jason Winer, The Public – Emilio Estevez, Rafiki – Wanuri Kahiu, Ramen Shop – Eric Khoo, Solace -Tchaiko Omawale, Storm Boy – Shawn Seet, Styx – Wolfgang Fischer, Take It or Leave It – Liina Trishkina, Them That Follow – Britt Poulton, Dan Madison Savage, The Tobacconist – Nikolaus Leytner, Villains – Dan Berk, Robert Olsen, Wild Rose – Tom Harper
DOCUMENTARY FEATURES SELECTED INCLUDE:
The Biggest Little Farm – John Chester, The Cold Blue – Erik Nelson, Easy Lessons – Dorottya Zurbó, Facing the Dragon – Sedika Mojadidi, General Magic – Sarah Kerruish, Matt Maude, The Gospel of Eureka – Donal Mosher, Michael Palmieri, Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel – Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger, The Interpreters – Andres Caballero, Sofian Khan, Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People – Oren Rudavsky, Patrimonio – Lisa F. Jackson, Sarah Teale. Roll Red Roll – Nancy Schwartzman, Science Fair – Cristina Costantini, Darren Foster, Sea Change– Dana Schwartz, Storm the Gates – Daniele Anastasion, Josie Swantek, Catherine Yrisarri, This Changes Everything – Tom Donahue, TransMilitary – Zachary Stauffer, Who Killed Lt. Van Dorn?– Zachary Stauffer, A Woman Captured – Bernadett Tuza-Ritter, Wrestle – Suzannah Herbert, Lauren Belfer.
In addition to the award-winning features, AFF has made its mark by continuing to bring a line up of compelling short films curated in thematic programs. The outstanding roster this year includes three Academy Awards nominees and winner, Period. End of Sentence and the World Premiere of The Bride Price by Chuckwunonso Dureke who was the winner of last year’s inaugural AFF Shorts Challenge Pitch Contest.
Festival Director, Lee Anderson said, “The festival has grown from a small group of organizers meeting over coffee to a small staff of 9, a core group of team leaders and over 300+ volunteers. This event brings in over $7 million dollars and 20,000 visitors to our community over the 4 days.”
All films in the slate will compete for the Best of the Fest, held Sunday, March 24 where awards are given out to the top narrative and documentary feature films, as well as the top narrative and documentary shorts. The audience favorite films will be re-screened for audiences on Sunday evening.