For the first time in its 16-year existence, the Maryland Film Festival won’t be housed in the Charles Theatre. It’s not the choice of festival organizers, says MFF director Jed Dietz, but when the Charles’ operators, James “Buzz” Cusack and daughter Kathleen Cusack Lyon, declined to rent the theater this year, the MFF staff were forced to reach out to the community to arrange for more screens—spreading the festival out over buildings in Station North, Bolton Hill, and Mount Vernon, hosted in space provided by MICA, the University of Baltimore, the Windup Space, and the Walters Art Museum. Dietz notes that the multi-venue setup, while not as convenient perhaps, isn’t unusual. “Most of [Sundance’s] venues are single-screen, made-up venues,” he says. “They have a theater in a basketball court. I remember being in motel rooms and having a hard time looking at films.” The switch in location moves the festival’s tent village and box office to North Avenue, in the parking lot between Joe Squared and MICA’s Lazarus graduate studio center. The transition, Dietz says, might help prepare fest-goers for the eventual opening of the Parkway Theater, tenatively slated for fall 2016. “[We’ll] get people up and around North Avenue and move them around there and get them to have coffee at Red Emma’s and a beer at Liam’s, and walk past Bottega,” he says. A shuttle service will run loops throughout the weekend. Check out the festival’s new map and a full schedule for the four-day event, in addition to our coverage on some of this year’s most notable films, including Hampden filmmakerChris LaMartina’s MFF debut, Maryland native Michael Tully’s summer comedy, and UMBC graduate Andrew T. Betzer’s first feature, Young Bodies Heal Quickly .
FILM FEST FRENZY
Our Guide to the 2014 Maryland film festival
Film Fest Frenzy 2014 (June 16, 2014)