April 17, 2024
Annapolis, US 65 F

Thelma to Open 12th Annapolis Film Festival, Edie Falco and Jennifer Esposito to Attend

The 12th Annual Annapolis Film Festival announced that Magnolia Pictures’ Sundance favorite, Thelma will open this year’s festival on Thursday, April 4, 2024, at 7:15 PM in Maryland Hall’s Main Theatre. The evening will begin with a red carpet featuring celebrity and filmmaker guests at 6:15 PM and culminate with an after-party with food by Atlas Restaurant Group beginning at 9:30 PM.

For the first time in her extensive seven-decade acting career, which includes an Academy Award nomination for her supporting role in the film Nebraska, June Squibb finally takes on a leading role as Thelma. Squibb even does her own stunts in this clever spin on Mission: Impossible, which showcases an elderly grandmother as an unlikely action hero.

When 93-year-old Thelma Post gets duped by a phone scam, she sets out on a treacherous quest to reclaim the money taken from her and bands together with fellow nonagenarians including her partner-in-crime, Ben, played by the late Richard Roundtree (the action hero of Shaft) in his final on-screen performance. Thelma’s entire family, including her grandson Daniel, played by Fred Hechinger (seen in The White Lotus, season 1) and her daughter Gail, played by Parker Posey (soon to be seen in The White Lotus, season 3) follows her across LA in hot pursuit.

Writer/Director Josh Margolin modeled the character after his very own centenarian grandmother, also named Thelma, who was nearly the victim of a phone scam and uses some of the same dialogue taken from his short documentaries about her.  Even Fred Hechinger’s performance as her grandson “Daniel” is a mirror of Margolin’s own experience. 

With heartwarming authenticity, Margolin defies the traditional cinematic portrayal of aging, opting instead to craft an empowering senior portrait of resilience and independence, proving that one can still be just as effective in their later years.

Adding to the excitement, the festival will roll out the red carpet for writer/director/actor Jennifer Esposito and actor Edie Falco, who will attend the festival over the weekend. 

Award-winning actress Jennifer Esposito steps behind the camera for her writing and directorial debut with the powerful and evocative feature film, Fresh Kills. Set against the backdrop of late 1980s Staten Island, this compelling drama offers a raw and unflinching look at the complexities of family, loyalty, and identity.

Inspired by true events, Fresh Kills follows the journey of Rose LaRusso (played by Emily Bader), an inquisitive young girl who discovers that her father (portrayed by Domenick Lombardozzi) is an emerging mafia kingpin. As Rose’s desire for independence grows, she finds herself on a collision course with the dangerous world her family inhabits, leading to a gripping tale of love, betrayal, and self-discovery.

Esposito’s writing and directorial vision brings a fresh female perspective to the classic mob movie genre, shedding light on the untold stories of the women who navigate the complexities of mafia life. Through nuanced storytelling and authentic performances, Fresh Kills offers a captivating exploration of the human experience, challenging audiences to confront the blurred lines between right and wrong.

“While Fresh Kills takes place within a mafia family, the film is really about the journey of finding a voice in a world that tells you not to have one,” says Esposito. “A theme I believe is extremely relatable to so many these days. I’m honored to share this deeply important film with the Annapolis Film Festival on April 5th and in theaters on June 14th.”

In addition to her directorial role, Esposito delivers a powerful performance as Rose’s mother, alongside co-stars Odessa A’zion, and a talented ensemble cast including Annabella Sciorra.

Fresh Kills will screen at the 2024 Annapolis Film Festival on Friday, April 5th at 7:30 PM in Maryland Hall. Audiences will have the opportunity to experience this compelling cinematic journey firsthand and hear from Esposito, Bader and the film’s producer, Leslie Owen, who will be on hand for the Q&A. 

The talented and versatile Edie Falco has spent her career playing unconventional characters such as a Mafia wife in the Sopranos and a drug-addicted E.R. nurse in Nurse Jackie (winning Emmy® Awards® for both roles) and portraying them as relatable and ordinary even in their extraordinary circumstances. In I’ll Be Right There, Edie Falco finds the extraordinary in the ordinary. Her Wanda goes through her day-to-day routine being the dependable, predictable person solving other people’s problems and holding together a dysfunctional family that includes a pregnant unmarried daughter, a wayward son headed to rehab or the army, and a gambling-addicted hypochondriac grandmother. Little by little, Wanda starts making some unexpected decisions to live her life outside the box. Edie Falco is endlessly compelling to watch on screen in a story that is enjoyably relatable and cathartic. Falco will be on hand for the Q&A along with director Brendan Walsh following the screening of their film, I’ll Be Right There Saturday, April 6th at 4:30 PM at St. John’s College Key Auditorium.

“We are dedicated to fostering creativity and innovation in filmmaking,” says Festival Director, Patti White. “The Annapolis Film Festival serves as a catalyst for meaningful conversations about the changing film industry and opportunities for future generations of storytellers.” 

Tickets and passes are now available with Opening Night Tickets costing $60, Festival Passes available for $195, Premium Passes for $350, and Individual Tickets available for $20. For more information about the four days of films, industry panels, coffee talks and specific film showcases, please visit www.annapolisfilmfestival.org

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