OCEAN CITY — The first-ever Ocean City Film Festival will present 138 films over four days at four venues in the resort — the Ocean City Center for the Arts on 94th Street, Dunes Manor Hotel on the Boardwalk at 28th Street, Francis Scott Key Resort in West Ocean City and the Fox Gold Coast Mall Theater on 113th Street.
Events begin on Thursday, June 8 from 5-7 p.m. with an opening reception on the rooftop of the Monte Carlo Hotel where the public will be able to meet the filmmakers and enjoy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.
The film festival continues through the weekend with screenings running from morning until evening at the four locations. A panel of judges will review the films and present awards on Saturday evening at the Arts Center, followed by a screening of the award winning films.
The event concludes with a closing party on Sunday, June 11 from 4-6 p.m. at Touch of Italy.
The diversity of films includes short subjects, feature-length films, student and professional work, and also internationally produced films.
Tickets are $10 for a one-day pass, $45 for a three-day all-access pass that includes the opening reception, or $25 for just the opening reception. Tickets are available at ocmdfilmfestival.com, by visiting the Arts Center on 94th St., or by calling 410-524-9433. Tickets are also available at participating venues the day of the screenings on a cash only basis.
More information about the Film Festival and a complete schedule of screenings and events is available at ocmdfilmfestival.com and also at artleagueofoceancity.org.
In addition to the films, the festival includes workshops geared towards current and future filmmakers. The workshops are free for the participating filmmakers, and $10 for the public.
On Friday, June 9 at 2 p.m., film industry professionals Dan O’Hare and Jeremy Mather will present a workshop on creating films on a “micro budget.”
A script pitching workshop will be held on Saturday, June 10 at noon at the Arts Center. Screenwriters will have the opportunity to pitch their scripts to judges and an audience.
The film festival is the brainchild of Stephen Decatur High School graduate and current Towson University student filmmaker William Strang-Moya, fellow Towson student Kristin Helf and Rina Thaler, executive director of the Art League of Ocean City.
The theme of the inaugural festival is “The Many Faces of Film.” The goal is to bring creative visual media to the resort, expose attendees to the diversity of visions among filmmakers, and encourage the artistic endeavors of Shore residents. The trio intends the Film Festival to become an annual and long-running tradition.
“There’s a lot of interest in Ocean City for this project from a tourism point of view, from an artistic point of view, and from a community point of view,” Thaler said. “This is going to jell into an event that we grow over the years.”
The students and Thaler recognized the opportunity for a film festival after Strang-Moya taught a class in January on filmmaking to local high school students that received a positive reception. They set up a website soliciting free submissions of films and received more than 700 submissions, not only from fellow TU students but from around the world.
Strang-Moya and Helf screened the submissions and chose the best of the submitted work. Filmmakers, who are encouraged to attend, will have the opportunity to interact with audience members and receive their comments.
“We were looking for films that are purposeful and personal to the filmmaker,” Strang-Moya said. “I am constantly amazed by how readily this community embraces filmmaking and allows for individuals such as ourselves to come in and work on our films. We’re really motivated by the idea of establishing a culture for filmmakers in the region and awakening the local artists so that a network can be established.”
The films that will be shown have not been rated and viewer discretion is advised.
The Ocean City Center for the Arts at 502 94th Street is the home of the Art League of Ocean City, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the visual arts to the community through education, exhibits, scholarship, programs and community art projects. Financial support comes primarily through membership dues from individuals and corporate sponsors.
Funding for exhibits is also provided by the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore, the Worcester County Arts Council, Maryland State Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, organizations dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive.