The very first Westminster Film Festival will take place this weekend, and there are prizes to be won for local and visiting filmmakers alike.
Ryan McNulty of Westminster is the festival director and is a filmmaker himself. The festival is open to local artists as well as others from Washington, D.C., Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
“I've always seen Westminster as a kind of niche arts community, and kind of wanted to have this festival to bring that community out, bring them together,” he said.
The festival will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 15, at the Carroll Arts Center, at 91 W. Main St.
There will be 17 films shown at the festival, all no more than 15 minutes in length from student, independent and amateur filmmakers — including some based in Westminster. McNulty said the submissions range in genre from documentary to experimental to music video.
Tickets are $11 and can be purchased at the door or online through the Carroll County Arts Council website.
Judges will choose prizewinners in categories of “Best of Fest,” “Best Narrative Film” and “Best Non-Narrative Film.” Runners-up will be recognized as well.
Especially for new filmmakers, the experience of seeing their work on the big screen of the Carroll Arts Center theater can be exciting.
McNulty said his first experience with this came when he submitted to a film festival in Ocean City last year.
“Having a whole crowd full of people who hadn't seen it before watch it and react to it was an incredible experience,” he said. “I want to give that kind of experience to [other] people too.”
After attending the festival, he hopes it will inspire people to continue pursuing their arts and passions. They plan to continue the festival as an annual event.
“I’m hoping that people in the Westminster area, Westminster filmmakers will see this as an opportunity to continue making short films and start making short films if they haven’t already,” he said.
More information is available at filmfreeway.com/WestminsterCityFilmFestival.