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Dennis Farina tops slate for 2011 Chesapeake Film Festival

The fourth edition of the Chesapeake Film Festival, running September 23-26, will bring to the Eastern Shore several films that packed the house in Baltimore at the Maryland Film Festival last May. They include Kelly Reichardt's mesmerizing Western mini-epic "Meek's Cutoff" and two tremendously engaging documentaries: "Cafeteria Man," about Tony Geraci's crusade to transform the food program in Baltimore public schools; and "Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone," about the Los Angeles band Skizz Cyzyk once described as "a multi-legged monster, with one foot in punk rock, one in heavy metal, one in ska, one in jazz, one in hip-hop, one in soul, one in funk, one in pop music, and so on."

The opening-night attraction is Joe Maggio's "The Last Rites of Joe May." I wasn't a fan of Maggio's "Bitter Feast" at last year's CFF. But his new movie looks and sounds promising, especially because it stars Dennis Farina as (to quote the press release) "an aging hustler who aspires for greatness but is set back by his luck."

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For decades, Farina has been original and exciting -- in comedy and drama -- on the big and small screens. Farina was the charismatic center of one of the most thrilling police series ever made, Michael Mann's "Crime Story" (1986), a show about cars with fins and cops with teeth -- playing a top cop with (in Mann's words) a "personalized sense of justice," one that made him "a hell of a cop in 1963 but not a hell of a cop in '69 or '70." I can't wait to see Farina play an entirely different kind of character who also "aspires for greatness."Director Maggio will accompany "The Last Rites of Joe May" to the CFF -- and if all goes according to plan, so will Farina.

Another CFF coup: the local premiere of "Hell and Back Again," a documentary chronicle of the personal and military life of a Marine, which won two awards at Sundance this year: the World Cinema Jury Prize and the World Cinema Cinematography Award.

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And the CFF will also host the world premiere of "Band Together," Kurt Kolaja's documentary about the Kent County Community Marching Band.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students. For the complete roster and screening locations, click here.

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