BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Movie lovers, get your popcorn ready! Friday is the first day of The Maryland Film Festival, but this year will be more different than it ever has before because of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Coronavirus numbers across the State are steadily improving as we approach mid-June, but the Maryland Film Festival had no choice but to play it safe. That meant making the annual event, virtual.

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Friday is the first night and local films will be shown virtually instead of in person. Executive Director Sandra L. Gibson said the festival will be greater than ever before.

“You don’t have the lines, you don’t have the parking issues. Some people don’t have the ability to get to downtown Baltimore or central Baltimore where we’re located, and our reach is way beyond Maryland, way beyond the DMV, across the country,” Gibson said.

The Parkway Theater shut down March 12 but hasn’t missed a beat. Because this year’s festival is virtual, you can see 15 blocks of short films and all 17 feature films in 10 days.

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“The opening night is an extravaganza with dancers and performers, so you’ll be able to organize your own parties at home,” Gibson said. “It’s not the same, but we hope to recreate some of that energy that a festival brings because festivals are about bringing people together.”

With short films like “Balti Shorts”, “Dark City Beneath” and “The Beat”, artists from around the country are bringing the town together.

“Get your tickets, sit back and enjoy! Have some fun,” Gibson said.

Tickets are on sale right now for only $25. You can buy those tickets by clicking right here. They’re even offering perks like discounts on local restaurants.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.