WESTMINSTER — Western Maryland College will sponsor a state film and video business fair on Saturday.
The first-ever event will be geared toward students interested in careers and educational opportunities in Maryland's film and video industry.
The fair, "Maryland On Screen," is intended to inform high schooland college students that the industry is alive and well in the state.
"We've designed 'Maryland on Screen' as an annual event to provide a forum for students of all ages to see that the film and video industry is thriving in our state," said Jay Schlossberg-Cohen, director of the Maryland Film Commission, part of the state Department of Economic and Employment Development.
"We want to let young people who are interested in the industry know that they do not have to go toNew York or California to practice their craft," he said.
"Maryland has an enormous number of opportunities for education and careers in film and video. We want students to know about the possibilities so they can become a part of our growing industry."
The idea for the fair surfaced when Schlossberg-Cohen was lecturing to a communications club at the college in April 1990.
Bonnie Grady, a 1991 WMC graduate who helped start the club, asked Schlossberg-Cohen how collegestudents could find opportunities in the video and film business.
"The club involved students who were interested in film and video careers.
And when Schlossberg-Cohen came to speak, he told us that one of the ways to get involved with the business was to have your work seen at student film festivals," said Grady, a Manchester resident.
"With the approval of Western Maryland College, I looked into thepossibility of having a festival. I made a lot of phone calls throughout Maryland and in other states, and no one knew anyone, anywhere that held these statewide festivals."
Grady wanted to arrange a festival in Maryland.
With the support of WMC and the state film commission, a committee began work in March 1990.
Now an independent video producer, Grady was on the 40-member committee that included educators, arts, government and business leaders.
The fair is being paid for by the film commission, with the help of Eastman Kodak Co., Fox Channel 45, Computerland Mid-Atlantic, and the Discovery Channel.
The one-day fair will include forums on methods to raise money to pay for a production, getting started in the film and video business,finding jobs in corporate and commercial industry, and what new filmand video technology are expected in the 21st century.
Celebrity guest speakers will include Baltimore television personality Stu Kerr, and Kevin Klash, a puppeteer and producer who has worked on "SesameStreet," said Carol Fox King, spokeswoman for the film commission.
One session will feature the production crew from the feature film "Permanent Damage," she said.
The movie was produced and filmed bya group of Towson State University graduates, who secured money to pay for the project.
In Decker College Center's Exhibit Hall, companies such as Panasonic and Sony will demonstrate products.
Representatives from Towson State, WMC, Morgan State University and Washington College also will promote their industry-related courses.
Fox King said screenings of feature, animated, corporate and commercial video and film productions will run continuously.
Maryland's film and video industry reports an annual average revenue of about $500 million for the past three years, including feature films ($40 million annually) and commercial and corporate productions, Fox King said.
"It is the corporate and commercial productions that make the most money," she added.
Registration for the fair will be 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the Gill Physical Education Learning Center, where schedules will be distributed. The festival will end 4:30 p.m.
"Even though ourfocus is high school and college students, all ages are welcome to attend," said Fox King.
For more information about the fair, or to preregister, call 333-6632.