This year's Bel Air Film Festival is bringing to the screen at the Record Armory subjects as varied as the story of Secretariat's jockey, to the tale of what it was like to be the secretary of the high finance swindler Bernard L. Madoff.
The festival, organized by the Town of Bel Air, in conjunction with the Bel Air Cultural Arts Commission, is planned Oct. 18 through 20, at the armory, 37 North Main Street in Bel Air.
Friday, Oct. 18 is the opening night of the fifth annual festival and the film, shown at 8 p.m., is "Secretariat's Jockey, Ron Turcotte." The film offers a rare behind-the-scenes view of Hall of Fame jockey Ron Turcotte who, along with his legendary horse Secretariat, won the prestigious American Triple Crown in 1973. Viewers witness Turcotte's rise to fame, the fall in 1978 that left him a paraplegic and his emotional journey back to the people and places that marked his life. The film delves into the thrilling and dangerous world of horse racing, featuring never before- seen footage of Secretariat. Jack Gerbes, director of the Maryland Film Office, and Susan Burdette, Bel Air town commissioner, will open the festival. Special guest host is the pioneering former jockey, Jennifer Small. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 19 at 4 p.m. brings to the screen the award winning "Magic Camp." To escape the pressures of growing up, magic-obsessed kids congregate at the one place they can be themselves: Tannen's Magic Camp, the oldest and most prestigious training ground for young magicians. They want to prove their worth on the same stage where superstars like Blaine and Copperfield once performed. To get there, however, they need to learn more than sleight of hand and tricks of the trade. They have to find the magic inside. Special guest hosts are cast members and magicians Hiawatha Johnson Jr. and Reed Spool. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.
Saturday's lineup continues at 7:30 p.m. with "In God We Trust." Eleanor Squillari went to work every day believing she was working for a great company and a great man. For 25 years she sat 15 feet from Bernard L. Madoff as his personal secretary. She never imagined he was perpetrating the largest financial crime in history. On Dec. 11, 2008, life as she knew it was destroyed, until she decided to do something about it. She became obsessed with unearthing the truth. Through this film we experience this journey with Squillari, as she examines how she unwittingly participated in a massive Ponzi scheme, which operated right under her nose. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 20 at 1p.m. will feature "Medora," an in-depth look at small town life, a thrilling, underdog basketball story, and an inspiring tale of a community refusing to give up hope despite brutal odds. As one town's person explained: "Once we lose these small towns, we can't get them back." Special guest hosts are Carol Deibel, past director of planning for the Town of Bel Air for more than 26 years, and author of the book "Bel Air Chronicles", and Trish Heidenreich, economic development director for Bel Air. Doors open at 12:30 p.m.
Tickets are $5 per person and include one soda and popcorn. A $10 all access pass is also available. Children under 10 are admitted free. Table seating is available and attendees can bring their own snacks and blanket. The Festival's main sponsors include the Bel Air Cultural Arts Commission, Bel Air Economic and Community Development Commission and the Maryland Film Office. Co-sponsors include Center for the Arts, Bel Air Downtown Alliance, and Harford County Cultural Arts Board. The Maryland Film Festival is an honorary sponsor.
Advance tickets are on sale Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Town of Bel Air Department of Economic Development in the Bel Air Reckord Armory, 37 N. Main Street. For more information, visit http://www.TownOfBelAirFilmFestival.com or call 410-838-0584 and ask for Jeanne, or send an e-mail to JWhiskeyman@belairmd.org. You can also contact the festival director, Rebecca Jessop, at RJessop@HarfordCFA.org.