Maryland Film Festival opening night

May 12, 2002|By Sloane Brown

If you were into talking about movies, the Evergreen Carriage House was full of people doing that - at the Maryland Film Festival 2002 opening night party.

Some 300 film fans helped themselves at the buffet and compared notes on that evening's screening of 10 short films at the Senator Theatre. Then, there were the discussions of which movies to try and catch over the festival's next three days.

That kind of talk - by movie lovers rather than movie industry types - was exactly what had appealed to filmmaker John Walter. As he watched the crowd, he explained why he had turned down most other film fests, choosing only the one in Maryland to show his documentary, "How To Draw a Bunny," since winning a special jury prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

"Once you win at Sundance, everybody wants you," John explained, "but it seemed like [the Maryland Film Festival] would have a higher quota of real people coming off the streets who want to see a good movie, rather than [other festivals where] there's a room full of people trying to impress each other."

Among the real people in this room: Jed Dietz, Maryland Film Festival founder/director; Skizz Cyzyk, festival programming manager; Jim Dale, festival board member; George Figgs, Dan Krovich, Tom Kiefaber, John Standiford, Gabriel Wardell and Steve Yeager, festival advisory board members; Jack Gerbes, Maryland Film Office director; Tom Curran, Mitchell Scherr, Mitchell Rose, Doug Pray, Danny Meltzer, Pat Smith, Charles Cohen, Robbie Chafitz, Greta Olafsdottir, Susan Muska, David Zellerford, Brett Wagner, Rachel Max and Josh Slates, filmmakers; Mike Styer, Styer Entertainment Enterprises president; Katie Lanegran, Sundance Channel publicity director; Jill Hurlbrink, France Merrick Foundation program officer; Kelly Conway, Baltimore artist; Kevin Brown, Baltimore City Housing & Community Development communications director; Tony Tsendeas, Baltimore actor; G. Scott Spence, Baltimore actor/writer; Arthur Fergenson, Piper Rudnick partner; Aaron Henkin, WYPR radio producer; Christy Macy, International Youth Foundation senior writer; author Taylor Branch; and Dr. Julia McMillan, Johns Hopkins Hospital pediatrics professor.

The party raised around $10,000 for the Maryland Film Festival.

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