Annapolis Film Festival Event Coming Into Focus
By THERESA WINSLOW
The Capital of Annapolis
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The weather starts getting cooler in September, but it’s still shorts weather as far as the organizers of the Annapolis Film Festival are concerned.
Although the festival is seven months away, a short film bash is planned next month to raise awareness about the main event, as well as money to support it.
“It’s really going to be almost a mini film festival,” said Sonia Feldman, a film festival board member and chair of the special events committee. “It’s going to be a happening that will resonate with young people.”
The Sept. 23 event, which carries the slogan “Get Into Our Shorts,” is similar to a pub crawl. The Short Film Crawl involves stops at various Annapolis venues for movies, hors d’oeuvres and drinks over a four-hour period. Tickets will be $40 for either an a.m. or p.m. block of entertainment at three of five participating venues — a price point which Feldman said was chosen after consulting with many potential film-goers.
The goal is to attract about 500 people. The stops on the crawl include Metropolitan Kitchen & Lounge, Crush Wine House, The Wild Orchid, Stan & Joe’s Saloon and 49 West.
“We love all ideas and anything that brings people together to do fun stuff,” said Chris Chambers, one of Crush’s owners and a movie fan.
The short films have yet to be chosen, but Feldman said there will be about 30 minutes of movies at each stop. This could translate to a single film, or several, with plenty of time for mingling and traveling between venues.
“We hope the shorts crawl creates a buzz about how fun our festival is going to be,” said Patti White, an Annapolis filmmaker and co-artistic director of the festival.
“Talk movie to me.” That’s the slogan for the festival, which is still on target for March 21 through 24.
Since the event was first announced this past winter, volunteers have lined up to head a variety of committees. Plans still call for the festival to showcase 50 to 70 films, with the first submissions arriving a few weeks ago.
“The ball’s starting to roll now,” said Lee Anderson, White’s filmmaking partner and co-artistic director of the festival. “There’s a huge amount of commitment and passion. So, even when we’ve hit bumps, everyone just rolls up their sleeves and makes it happen.”
The same attitude applies to fundraising, since quite a bit of money is needed to put on the festival. But White and others have no doubts they’ll be able to secure enough money. “This is full steam ahead,” she said.
The movies would be shown at a variety of locales along West Street, as well at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and St. John’s College. There would also be a filmmaker’s lounge and venues for student films and panel discussions.
“We’re trying to make this filmmaker-friendly,” White said.
Programing director Dan Gvozden said he’s receiving three or four films day and submissions have come from across the globe. He’s also reaching out to other festivals to identify potential candidates for the Annapolis event.
To date, about 60 films have come in. Gvozden would ultimately like to have 500 to 700 to choose from.
“The more we get, the better the festival will be,” he said. “The things we’re looking for (in a film) is that it’s new and it’s good.”
The overall idea is to put Annapolis on the map for movies the same way the Sundance Film Festival did for Park City, Utah. Debra Fortier, the festival’s executive director, is a longtime Sundance attendee.
“We really hope this will be an ongoing event,” she said, “and it will establish Annapolis as an … important East Coast film festival.”
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)