Governor's office encourages film fests, plans to award $30,000 in state grants

December 12, 2008|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

The governor's office is offering $30,000 in state grants to individuals and organizations looking to stage film festivals in Maryland.

"Interest in film festivals is a great way to boost tourism, as well as showcase Maryland's very talented filmmakers," Gov. Martin O'Malley said in a statement. "We hope that these funds will help leverage private sector support for the film industry, and encourage new festivals throughout the state."

The grants available range from $1,000 to $5,000. Proposals will be evaluated based on such criteria as the quality, quantity and diversity of the programming, the anticipated attendance, and community involvement and support. Applications, available at marylandfilm.org, must be submitted by Jan. 30. The grants are scheduled to be awarded Feb. 20.

Maryland is home to several film festivals, including the Chesapeake Film Festival, which held its inaugural event in September; the Baltimore Women's Film Festival, which returned for a second year in October; the Maryland Film Festival, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in May; and the Baltimore Jewish Film Festival, which has been going for 21 years.

The state has also lost several festivals over the past few years, including Microcinefest, a showcase for underground films, and the Annapolis Film Festival.

"We're of the opinion, 'The more, the merrier,' " Maryland Film Festival founder Jed Dietz said. "And when I think of the list of things in this community. ... Look at the late, beloved Microcinefest. A $5,000 grant might have kept it alive."

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