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Eldersburg artist promotes Chesapeake Film Festival through an original animation, raises awareness of Bay

Animation artist Ezra Pailer of Eldersburg , pictured in his studio Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, created a promotional short for the upcoming Chesapeake Film Festival.
Animation artist Ezra Pailer of Eldersburg , pictured in his studio Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, created a promotional short for the upcoming Chesapeake Film Festival. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Eldersburg’s Ezra Pailer lent his talents and enthusiasm to create an original animation promoting the upcoming 2021 Chesapeake Film Festival.

The annual event, which kicks off Friday, was founded in 2008 to entertain, empower, educate and inspire diverse audiences by presenting exceptional independent films, according to their website. Because of the festival’s location on the Chesapeake Bay and the region’s diverse population, films which focus on the environment and social justice issues are highlighted.

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Pailer, a 2019 graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, works as an animator at Early Light Media in Baltimore. At Early Light, the 24-year-old collaborates on commercial storytelling projects including documentaries.

“Growing up I connected with stories,” he said. “I love exploring characters and awesome narratives … I eventually got interested in visual arts and toward the end of high school, I knew I wanted to be an animator.”

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Nancy Tabor, executive director of the Chesapeake Film Festival, said Pailer was the first to come to mind when it came to creating a promotion for the event, being inspired after he won first place in last year’s virtual festival for his work, “Willow.”

“I knew he was extremely talented and really thought his work was beautifully done,” she said.

Pailer’s animation for this year’s festival is based on his childhood exploration of the Chesapeake Bay, like when he found fossils and shark teeth at Calvert Cliffs.

“I drew from memories when I was a kid and my time on the water,” said Pailer, a Liberty High School graduate. “That was a big part of my childhood … I wanted to capture that feeling, that sense of adventure.”

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He said he’s “happy for the opportunity to be a part” of the festival this year since the pandemic made it hard to “connect with others in the filmmaking community.”

Pailer received “great feedback” from the directors of the festival, he said, and is “glad their collective vision worked out.”

Tabor said Pailer was a quick study, full of ideas and “really a joy” with whom to work.

“His animation really captures the spirit of the Chesapeake Bay Film Festival as far as it’s relationship with the Bay and the Eastern Shore,” she said.

Pailer hopes his work will raise awareness of the Chesapeake Bay.

“It’s really something worth protecting … But there are a lot of great people speaking out for the Bay and I think that’s great,” he said.

Last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival was solely virtual but Tabor said 10,000 people tuned in, three times as many as usual. Because of that success, this year the festival will be hybrid, with a two-day live event held Oct. 1 through Oct. 2 in Easton and a free virtual program Oct. 3 through Oct. 10., available through the event website.

“We reached people all over the world,” Tabor said, adding the festival will kick off on Friday with the world premiere of three environmental films.

To view Pailer’s animation or to find more information on the 2021 Chesapeake Film Festival, visit www.chesapeakefilmfestival.com.

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