Town of Bel Air Film Festival coming in a few weeks

In a few weeks, films shown at Sundance, Tribeca and several other major film festivals will be coming to Bel Air, too.

The third annual Town of Bel Air Film Festival is Oct. 21 through 23 in the Bel Air Reckord Armory on Main Street and, according to Director Rebecca Jessop, features "wonderful" films, each of which with an accompanying guest speaker.

Along with several other sponsors, the Bel Air Cultural Arts Commission and the Bel Air Economic and Community Development Commission are bringing four films to the Armory, transforming it into a family friendly theater.

"We really transform the armory into this really inviting atmosphere for people to sit back and relax and watch a film," Jessop said Thursday.

Tickets are $5 per film, or $10 for the whole weekend, which includes one soda and box of popcorn. Children under the age of 10 are free.

"Where else can you get a deal like that?" Jessop asked.

In addition to the refreshments, Jessop said, the Town of Bel Air Film Festival offers attendees an opportunity to see films they may not otherwise see, but are the same ones that graced the Sundance Film Festival and a variety of other similar shows.

The weekend kicks off with Rebirth Friday at 8 p.m., which chronicles the lives of five people, who were affected by 9/11, from 2002 to 2009. Being able to watch those people's lives change, Jessop said, will "really make you think."

Setting them apart from typical film showings, Jessop said they will also have Anthony Cruz, a 9/11 survivor, at the festival as a special guest speaker.

Their next film, Cafeteria Man, will have a guest speaker as well, in keeping with the theme throughout the weekend. Cafeteria Man will show on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 4 p.m., which Emmy-award winning Director Richard Chisolm.

This film follows a former New Orleans chef, Tony Geraci, who tries to institute a healthier diet in Baltimore City schools.

"I think it ties in really great up here because of all the farms and the produce," Jessop said.

Saturday night's feature, at 7:30 p.m., will be Buck, a story about "horse-whisperer" Buck Brannaman, his abusive childhood and ability to work with horses. This movie can connect to Harford County as well, she added, because of all the horses and horse farms in the area. She is still determining the special guest for this "visually stunning" movie, Jessop said.

Finishing up a weekend of events is a movie that brings the Christmas spirit into October, Becoming Santa, which will feature free snowballs in addition to soda and popcorn. This movie is about a man who loses both of his parents and becomes Santa Claus in order to make it through the season, Jessop said.

"Becoming Santa is just absolutely delightful," she added.

Although the festival is dubbed family friendly, Jessop does not recommend Becoming Santa for children under 10 because of the confusion associated with the Santa on screen and this movie's special guest, the Santa Claus who has been in the Harford Mall for 30 years.

Being able to bring in guest speakers adds something special to their film festival, Jessop said.

"It is extremely special being able to sit in the dark with a group of people to watch something and then be able to talk about it after wards with special speakers," she said, adding that the people are either associated with the film directly or impacted by one of the events featured.

For more information go to or call 410-838-0584 and ask for Jeanne or send an email to Advance tickets are available for purchase Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Town of Bel Air Department of Economic Development in the Armory.

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