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All in for Film at the Annapolis Film Festival

Each spring, West Street rolls out the red carpet for the Annapolis Film Festival. This year, from March 22–25, you’ll have a chance to enjoy a front row seat to the debut of some of the great films coming to the silver screen in 2018. If you’re wondering how to make the most of the experience, which showcases films in multiple cinemas and venues on multiple days, we have gone straight to the source to get advice on how to make the most out of the experience.


rsz AW5 190Since its debut in 2012, the festival has grown exponentially. The first year there were 2,600 attendees. This year the count is expected to top 15,000, with festival goers having the choice of over 70 films, the opportunity enjoy one or more of four parties, a coffee talk or just take in a panel or two. According to Festival Director Patti White, “The festival, now in its sixth year, has evolved into a true representation of its community and its organizers. Voices Strong. Minds Open. That is who we are and that is what we will bring.”

The film selection includes features and shorts, both international and local. “People don’t understand the breadth and the depth of the films. It’s a mosaic that represents all voices,” says Festival Director Lee Anderson. “And I think all goers connect to something or someone at the festival. It’s an intimate community event.” Ticket options range from a $50 single-day ticket to a General pass for $140, which provides unlimited access to all the films and panels throughout the entire festival, as well as entry into the Opening Night Screening, After Party and the Best of the Fest finale on Sunday. The full lineup of films, panel discussions and showcases will be available March 1.

With so many films and so much to do, planning is key to attending the festival. Director of Programming Derek Horne suggests film buffs study the schedule ahead of time to formulate a strategy, “We have made a real effort to stagger the films in such a way that someone who is interested in certain strands can see everything they want.

To map it out, read through all the film synopses and panels and circle what you want to do. Some people choose stay at one venue, other people go to different venues. If a film plays twice, be strategic about your time. Be sure to arrive early enough to enjoy opening night and stick around for after-party festivities at the end of the evening.

Horne is thrilled with the high-caliber programing being offered this year. “With a mix of fresh new premieres along with award-winning, critically-acclaimed hits from the top film festivals, we are presenting an impressive lineup that is on par with other respectable, quality film festivals.”

The Annapolis Film Festival runs from March 22–25. There are five screening venues: Maryland Hall, Asbury United Methodist, Annapolis Elementary School at Green, Key Auditorium and St. John’s College. Panels will be presented at Loews’ Filmmaker Lounge and St. John’s College. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Coffee Talks With Filmmakers will be held at the Chesapeake Brewing Company from 9 to 10 a.m., and priority is given to all–access pass holders. If seats are available they will be available for $20 at the door. For more information or to purchase festival tickets, visit annapolisfilmfestival.com.

—Joyce Heid


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