The 16th Maryland Film Festival kicked off Wednesday night with a roster of short films and a crowd of optimistic film fans.
"I heard from all my filmmaker friends that this is the friendliest festival to filmmakers, and it's obvious that is a true statement," said Annie Silverstein, whose short film, "Skunk," will be playing as part of a program of dramatic shorts on Thursday and Friday.
The festival, which continues through Sunday, kicked off with its now-traditional Opening Night Shorts program at the Maryland Institute College of Art's Brown Center. The five short films ranged in length from five to 17 minutes, and included "More Than Two Hours" from Iranian director Ali Asgari, whose presence on stage following the program gave the festival's opening night an international flare.
This year’s festival marks the first that won’t be housed at the Charles Theatre, whose owners decided it made more financial sense to maintain their regular film schedule than to rent out their five screens to the festival. This year’s cinematic showcase is being held at seven venues in the Station North Arts District, the Maryland Institute College of Art, the University of Baltimore and the Walters Art Museum.