On Monday, November 6, 2017, and one week later on November 13, the Maryland Film Festival will host the Fall 2017 Baltimore Student Film Showcase at Theater 2 at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway located at 5 W. North Avenue in Baltimore City.
Among the must-see films being showcased are “Strange Fruit,” a production from Griot’s Eye, which reflects on police brutality as highlighted in the song, “Strange Fruit,” by Billie Holiday and Nina Simone.
Organizers of the showcase say some of the works are poignant and illustrate the obstacles and worries that young people face living in Baltimore and throughout the country.
Scheduled over two days, the showcase will feature a youth session on November 6, and a college session on November 13. Both sessions are scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Films like “Strange Fruit,” “The Defenders,” and “Pretty Boy,” are among the anticipated highlights of the showcase, hosted by WYPR producer Aaron Henkin and sponsored by the Baltimore Equitable Insurance Company.
“Our Student Film Showcase is only the beginning,” said Jed Dietz, founding director of the Maryland Film Festival – or MdFF. “Through ongoing youth and college programming at the Parkway, we have the ability to cultivate the voices and talents of young filmmakers, and to forge a connection between film education and career development.”
In making “The Defenders,” students in Wide Angle Youth Media’s Patterson Park Public Charter School researched historical figures that were considered heroes in their community. They developed superhero characters to depict these historical role models. Meanwhile, “Pretty Boy,” tells the story of a young man redefining himself after a war injury that renders him impotent. He learns various lessons from this devastating injury.
The youth session will include Baltimore City and Baltimore County School Students enrolled in film and media programs at the Baltimore School for the Arts, Baltimore Youth Film Arts, G.W. Carver Center for Arts and Technology, Griot’s Eye, Lansdowne High School, Root Branch Film Academy, and Wide Angle Youth Media.
The G.W. Carver School submitted several portrait pieces, one of which portrays a woman who has fostered 84 children since 1994, and another who addresses living with Sickle Cell Anemia. Root Branch also entered various pieces into the showcase, one of which documents the importance of a community recreational center and another titled, “Youth Truth,” which depicts the concerns of young people in Baltimore.
The college session is expected to include Baltimore-area college students representing film and media programs from Johns Hopkins University; Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA); Morgan State University; Towson University; Stevenson University; and University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Both showcases are part of the Maryland Film Festival’s initiative to support the city’s growing youth media and college film movement throughout the year, according to in a news release.
Festival organizers say they want to educate students and connect them with wider audiences and the film community. Filmmaking allows youth to share their stories and those of others.
The showcase will help students to share their work and their experiences with youth in other parts of the city, tackling various issues including community-policing and public service announcements.
“Film students are hungry to learn and we’re excited by the opportunity to improve access to the film making world with Baltimore’s film students,” said Beatriz Bufrahi, founder of the Baltimore High School Film Festival and faculty member at Baltimore School for the Arts. “We’re hoping that this experience will inspire students to be creative and tell their stories, in and out of the classroom.”
Founded in 1999, the MdFF brings films, filmmakers, students and audiences together in what organizers call a friendly, inclusive atmosphere. The unique and creative aspects of the Baltimore community are reflected over five days each May during the MdFF.
Admission to the showcase is free, but tickets are required. For tickets and more information about the festival, visit: www.mdfilmfest.com.