BALTIMORE (WJZ)—From local filmmakers to Academy Award winners and more, the Maryland Film Festival has become a must for movie lovers and the industry.
Ron Matz reports the annual gathering gets underway Thursday night.READ MORE: Firefighters Battle Two-Alarm Fire Amid Thunderstorm In Baltimore's Riverside Neighborhood
The Charles Theater and nearby streets are ready for the film frenzy. The Maryland Film Festival is in its 14th year.
“We’re always picking the best movies we can get. The film community here is growing beautifully and that’s what gets reflected every year. These are films that will play many festivals and probably emerge in the market many different ways,” said Jed Dietz, Maryland Film Festival director.
And one of those movies is “See You Soon Again.” It’s about Baltimore Holocaust survivors Leo Bretholz and Bluma Shapiro, sharing their story with area school children. It’s the work of Baltimore filmmaker Bernadette Wegenstein.
“It means a lot to be here. It was important to me to bring it out where Leo and Bluma are at home and where I am at home right now,” Wegenstein said. “It was financed in Austria. It’s an international production, but I really wanted it to premiere here in Baltimore. The Maryland Film Festival is a great festival. I couldn’t think of a better place for this film.”READ MORE: Severe Thunderstorms Bring Heavy Rain, Tornado Watch, To Maryland Counties
The tents are up on Charles Street. That’s where the festival goers can meet the movie makers.
“We’ll have over 120 movies during this weekend playing all day long. We take over all five screens at the Charles Theater, at MICA and the wind up space on North Avenue,” Dietz said. “The art form is just exploding. The quality and variety of films being made now has grown so tremendously and I think we select well. We’re very much a spot on the festival circuit. It’s great.”
“We’ve got filmmakers coming in from 15 different countries,” he continued. “The filmmakers love coming to Baltimore. We do a special conference for them on Friday which is just for them.”
It’s exciting for one Johns Hopkins University professor and her movie about suffering and survival.
“My movie will be shown Sunday at 11:30 a.m. at the MICA Brown Center. I think will be very emotional. Some of the survivors have been calling me. Leo has seen the film and he loves it. That’s a great compliment to get from your lead character,” Wegenstein said.MORE NEWS: Baltimore's Light Rail Trains Waylaid By Fallen Tree On Tracks
For a complete list of the movies at this year’s Maryland Film Festival, click here.