By Lindsay Haislip
The Chesapeake Film Festival will make its debut in Chestertown on September 25, bringing a wide range of relevant films to the newly renovated Garfield Center for the Arts downtown.
The Garfield Center for the Arts and The Chestertown Spy are co-sponsoring the event, while various companies and donors have contributed as well. Five of the 31 films that are part of the festival will be screened as part of the Chestertown contingent, in addition to a children’s series.
“This is part of a new effort to build a film community in Chestertown,” said Director of the Chestertown Spy and organizer for the Chestertown contingent of the festival Dave Wheelan.
“The Chesapeake Film Festival, as small as it is, has gotten tremendous reputation in the film festival world, and I think it’s just the phenominal connection with it and the community of Chestertown that made me think this would be a good idea,” Wheelan said.
The festival has been going on for five years already in Easton and has seen tremendous success.
Each of the films chosen to screen in Chestertown has some sort of relevance to the town that community members can draw a connection to.
The film series will consist of a children’s series, “which College students might enjoy as well,” said Wheelan. “A Cat in Paris,” “Bag It,” “Cafeteria Man,” and “Band Together” are the other films being screened.
“Each film has kind of its own special constituency,” said Wheelan. “‘A Cat in Paris’ is just a beautiful animated film that I think particularly college students would like to see,” Wheelan said. “Bag It” is the story of a small town fighting for plastic bag ordinance, and is of particular relevance to Chestertown, given the recent controversy that occurred over the subject.
“Cafeteria Man” tells the story of a crusader in Baltimore who is trying to get public schools to adopt local foods into their cafeterias. The film is sponsored by our local organic farm called Chester Farm CSA.
Local documentary filmmaker Kurt Kolaja has finally finished his film “Band Together”about the Kent County Marching Band.
“The marching band is just such an incredible part of local culture that it would be a shame if kids didn’t see it; it’s a real window into the community in general,” Wheelan said. This film series, in comparison to the college’s own film series, is “a little more edgy and documentary focused,” said Wheelan.
The children’s series is free to all, while the rest of the films are $8.50 for students. Free tickets may also become available through the Center for the Environment and Society.
“I’m pretty optimistic. It’s going to be a great new way to look at films,” he said.