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 chesapeakefilmfestival.com.  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 chesapeakefilmfestival.com and click on “Send a CFF Gala Invitation!”

Eastern Shore Residents Share Honors with Filmmakers

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

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

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

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.

Chesapeake Film After Hours Kicks Off at the Piazza Italian Market

Chesapeake Film After Hours welcomes film lovers and friends to  “Discriminating Tastes,” a reception to take place at the Piazza Italian Market, 218 N Washington Street, Easton, April 2, 2019, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.  Tickets, including hors d’oeuvres and one complimentary glass of wine, are $45 in advance, $55 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online at chesapeakefilmfestival.com.

Guests will watch nationally renowned TV pastry chef, Steve Konopelski, proprietor of Turnbridge Point in Denton, create a culinary work of art that will be auctioned during the event.  Steve’s career in hospitality and baking emerged from his early years as a Broadway dancer and performer.  In November 2015, Steve competed on the Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship, finishing as the runner-up after eight episodes of eliminations.

Chef Steve Konopelski

Mingle with friends and leaders of the Chesapeake Film Festival while savoring a scrumptious buffet of Piazza Italian’s hors d’oeuvres and a complimentary glass of wine.  Leading Talbot County citizen and wine connoisseur Richard Tilghman will pour guests their wine.

Cid Collins Walker, CFF’s Artistic Director, will share how her experiences at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival are helping the 2019 Chesapeake Film Festival to continue to grow as the Eastern Shore’s respected boutique film festival that it has become.

“Chesapeake Film After Hours is a newly formed series for Festival friends and those curious to learn more about CFF and the fall 2019 Festival.  We would like filmmakers and film-lovers to be able to enjoy the Film Festival community throughout the year, “ said George Nilson, CFF President.

The Chesapeake Film Festival is funded by the Maryland Film Office, Maryland State Arts Council, and Talbot County Arts Council.

The mission of the Chesapeake Film Festival is to entertain, enrich and inspire by bringing the finest in narrative, documentary and short film to the Chesapeake Bay community.  The films we showcase are broadly focused to illuminate both the diversity and universality of the human condition.  We believe that films can affect positive change and through this medium individuals and communities can gain a greater understanding of themselves and the world.  We envision a festival that stimulates, educates and empowers.

This year’s Chesapeake Film Festival will be held from October 3 to October 6, 2019.

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

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.

The 2018 Chesapeake Film Festival Expands in Cambridge

The 2018 Chesapeake Film Festival expands its presence in Cambridge, MD at two venues: Dorchester Center for Arts and the Cambridge Premier Cinemas.

Cambridge’s downtown revitalization, a vibrant African American social and cultural history strengthened by the reflective Harriett Tubman Center, and the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science at Horn Point are just a few cornerstones of Dorchester County’s cultural base.

CFF’s affiliation with the Dorchester Center for the Arts (DCA) is the site of the Festival’s expansion. DCA, a non-profit community-based arts organization is also the designated Arts Council for Dorchester County. The CFF affiliation brings film to DCA which is already the home for artists in all media — visual, literary, musical and performing arts. “DCA’s commitment to community-based arts, leadership and facilities make it an ideal partner for CFF and complement its continuing partnership with Cambridge Premier Cinema,” stated CFF’s executive director Karen Footner.

Dorchester Center for the Arts
Saturday, October 13

Saturday – 2:00 p.m.
Othello-San, directed by Theodore A. Adams III (20 min.)
A celebrated young African American actor enrolls at a prestigious theater school in Japan to play the lead role in Shakespeare’s Othello, only to find his dreams of greatness are tempered by an instructor who challenges him to question his reason for being there.

Count It All, directed by Alexia Acebo (5 min.)
Count It All showcases the authentic stories of real people going from despair and darkness into a joyous place by means of relationships built and communing with similar people. The film is evidence that we can truly count it all joy.

The Fabric of America, by students in Montgomery County, Maryland (7 min.)
The Fabric of America explores the many sides and issues underlying this complex and controversial topic of immigration. Under our broken immigration system, thousands of people are living in fear every day, and peaceful members of society are being targeted as criminals. The film shows how these issues manifest locally, in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Jabari Keating, directed by Stacey Larkins (10 min.)
Upon making a life altering decision, Jabari Keating is a candid first-person narrative film that explores his personal reflections, life experiences and trials and tribulations as an African American in present day America.

Saturday – 3:30 p.m.
The Sentence, directed by Rudy Valdez (85 min.)
Cindy Shank, mother of three, is serving a 15-year sentence in federal prison for her tangential involvement with a Michigan drug ring years earlier. This intimate portrait of mandatory minimum drug sentencing’s devastating consequences, captured by Cindy’s brother, follows her and her family over the course of ten years.

Saturday – 5:30 p.m.
Moving Stories, directed by Rob Fruchtman (85 min.)
Six dancers from an acclaimed NY company travel the world, working with youth who’ve experienced war, poverty, sexual exploitation, extreme prejudice and severe trauma as refugees. Incredibly, they have just one week to take kids to the point where they not only express themselves through choreography and dance. The kids experience surprising transformations, unlocking feelings and stories in wellsprings of creativity.

Saturday – 8:00 p.m.
The Gardener, directed by Sebastien Chabot (75 min.)
Through the words of influential horticulturalist Frank Cabot and his family, and of gardening experts and writers, The Gardener looks back at this remarkable man’s artistic philosophy and quest for perfection at Les Quatre Vents, his 20-acre English-style garden and summer estate that has become one of the world’s foremost private gardens.

Cambridge Premier Cinemas
Saturday, October 13

Saturday, 1 p.m.
In The Executioner’s Shadow: A Story of Justice, Injustice and The Death Penalty, directed by Maggie Burnette Stogner (60 min.)
In the Executioner’s Shadow takes 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. As the battle to overturn capital punishment comes to a head in the U.S., this provocative film challenges viewers to question their deepest beliefs about justice.

Saturday, 2: 30 p.m.
In Up To Snuff, friends and collaborators share personal stories, laughs and insights of W. G. Snuffy Walden, generous soul who overcame the excesses of rock and roll to find success as one of the most beloved composers in television history.

Saturday, 4:15 p.m.
The Local Oyster Stout, directed by Mark Burchick (8 min.)
An oyster farmer, a shucker, and a brewery collaborate on Maryland’s first farm to table Oyster Stout beer, reviving a time-honored tradition of the industrial past and charting a future for sustainability in the Chesapeake Bay.

Saturday – 4:30 p.m.
Poured in Pennsylvania, directed by Nate Kresge (90 min.)
From America’s oldest brewery to taprooms changing the landscape of small towns across the commonwealth, this documentary film, Poured in Pennsylvania, illustrates the importance of this ancient—but newly redeveloped—beer industry and its impact on Pennsylvania.

Five Days In August

Saturday – 7:00 p.m.
Five Days In August, directed by Nick Ruff (68 min.)
Directed by four-time Emmy® Nominated filmmaker Nick Ruff, Five Days In August is a feature documentary that follows two teams competing in the world’s largest and richest billfish tournament – The White Marlin Open. With a total of 353 boats battling for an unprecedented 4.9 million dollars in prize money, the stakes couldn’t be higher. For these fisherman, everything is literally on the line.

Cambridge Premier Cinemas,
Sunday, October 14th

Sunday — 1 p.m. – Environmental Shorts
Calm Quiet Strength, directed by Michael Cullen (5 min.)
A dignified tribute by a 200-year-old witness to American history: an Appalachian Mountain tulip poplar tree.

Desolation Follows, directed by Burnham Arlidge (9 min.)
Designated as areas of outstanding natural beauty, the English moorlands elicit in us a sense of the wild and untamed. A pristine wilderness, untouched by the advances of civilization. Yet all is not as it seems.

Crick In The Holler, directed by Ursula Ellis (18 min.)
During West Virginia’s 2014 Elk River chemical spill, a first-generation college student charged with the care of her rebellious younger sister instead becomes consumed by an issue with their water supply.

Freeing A Trapped River, directed by Severn Smith (5 min.)
The Nature Conservancy and several state and federal agency partners have completed the first stage of a major new project to restore floodplain connectivity to a nine-mile stretch of the Pocomoke River that had been dredged and channelized in the mid-20th century.

Shad Run, directed by Ben Dorger (26 min.)
American shad were once so abundant in the Potomac River, that in their heyday, people said the river would “run silver” each spring when they returned to spawn. This short documentary film chronicles the abundance, demise, and triumphant return of a native fish, highlighting the citizens who refused to let them fade away and those who are still united by the quest to fish the Potomac’s renowned shad run.

Cambridge Premier Cinemas,
Sunday, October 14th

Sunday – 3:00 p.m.
The Elephant’s Song, directed by Lynn Tomlinson (8 min.)
The true and tragic tale of Old Bet, the first circus elephant in America, rendered in painterly clay-on-glass and oil pastel animation, and narrated in song by her friend, an old farm dog.

Sunday – 3:30 p.m.
Into The Okavango, directed by Neil Gelinas for National Geographic (88 min.)
A passionate conservation biologist brings together a river bushman fearful of losing his past and a young scientist uncertain of her future on an epic, four-month expedition across three countries, through unexplored and dangerous landscapes to save the Okavango Delta, one of our planet’s last pristine wildernesses.

Sunday – 5:00 p.m.
Saving Sea Turtles: Preventing Extinction, directed by Michelle Gomes and Jennifer Ting (69 min.)
Narrated by renowned scientist Dr. Sylvia Earle, the film tells the story of the Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle pushed to near extinction are now slowly helping it to recover. From the beaches of Massachusetts to Mexico, Texas and Georgia, this documentary highlights the collaborative work that is being done to save a species from extinction

Red Carpet Rolls Out October 11 for the Chesapeake Film Festival

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.

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