Drive up to The Automat with Mel Brooks. Go back in time on The Long Shore of the Chesapeake with Pete Lesher, curator of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Let Cicely Tyson introduce you to The Other Boys of Summer who played in the Negro League alongside Jackie Robinson.
Take these and other trips back in time during the Virtual Chesapeake Film Festival October 3 through October 9. Thanks to the generous support of donors, The Virtual Festival is free to audiences around the world. To learn more about the Virtual Festival and show your support go chesapeakefilmfestival.com.
Documentary film is just one of the genres in the Virtual Festival, which also includes narrative features and shorts, animations, and student films. This free Festival, showcasing 48 films, is diverse, exciting and available to everyone, everywhere. The lineup of films includes:
The Automat – Directed by Lisa Hurwitz. Featuring an original new song written and performed by Mel Brooks, The Automat which premiered at the 2021 Telluride Film Festival, tells the 100-year story of the iconic restaurant chain Horn &Hardart, the inspiration for Starbucks, where generations of Americans ate and drank coffee at communal tables. From the perspective of former customers entertainer Mel Brooks, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Secretary of State Colin Powell, the Horns, the Hardarts, and key employees – we watch a business climb to its peak success and then grapple with fast food in a forever changed America.
The Other Boys of Summer – Directed by Lauren Meyer. The Other Boys of Summer explores civil rights in America through the lives of the Negro League baseball players. It is narrated by the legendary Cicely Tyson and features exclusive, never-before-seen interviews with the men and women who played alongside of Jackie Robinson and changed baseball and America forever. This is a triumphant story about unsung American heroes pursing their dreams and succeeding against all odds. It is the ultimate underdog story with a heart of gold. Gracious and resilient, these pioneers rose above discrimination and led by example inspiring people of all ages and races.
When We Were Saints – Directed by Theodore Adams III. After 40 years, the only African American in an elite all-boys Northern Virginia prep school class opens up to his classmates and teachers about racial challenges he faced, only to discover his friends and teachers were dealing with issues of their own. One of his classmates is now Dean of the Washington National Cathedral. Teachers and Alumni of the St. Stephen’s Episcopal School for Boys Class of 1982 rediscover friendships through conversations they wish they had in high school.
The Long Shore – Directed by Tyler Ford. A portrait of the Chesapeake, from its beginnings during the nation’s settlement era to its evolution into a center of maritime life. Exploring the challenges faced by generations of maritimers and how the Maritime Museum is both preserving and celebrating this piece of American culture and way of life.
The Witness Tree – Directed and produced by Cesar Gonzalez. A group of children walk through the forest near Preston, Maryland to visit The Witness Tree on the former Thompson Plantation where Harriet Tubman was enslaved. After her escape, she returned to rescue her brothers, Ben, Robert and Henry Ross and others on December 24, 1854. The children are part of the Cambridge FLAG Camp, a summer program that includes classes in music, gymnastics and film that encourages campers to be fearless.
Tell Me About Orange – Directed by Robin Noonan-Price. When his best girlfriend expresses her romantic feelings, a blind teenage boy struggles to express his. He realizes that sometimes love really is blind.
Animations (Curated by Nancy Tabor, Executive Director of the Chesapeake Film Festival.)
Affairs of the Art – Directed by Joanna Quinn and Les Mills. How many obsessions can one family have? In Joanna Quinn and Les Mills’ Affairs of the Art, we reconnect with Beryl, the working-class heroine who not only reveals her own obsession with drawing but exposes the addictions of her eccentric family.
Estuary – Directed by Warren Bass. Estuary is a sparse, meditational animation with the values and attributes of a visual haiku. Its images are loosely based on the Chesapeake Bay at the mouth of the James River. As an experimental work expressed through forms in motion, Estuary treats hand-drawn animation as an analog to dance and poetry. Concept, animation, and graphics by Warren Bass.
Stop Pebble Mine –Directed by Mason Mirabile. A story about the Pebble Mine project in Bristol Bay Alaska with interviews from the World Wildlife Fund, United Tribes of Bristol Bay and Trout Unlimited.
For a complete list of the films in the Virtual Chesapeake Film Festival, go to chesapeakefilmfestival.com.