The Maryland Film Festival celebrated its twentieth festival this year, with more than more than 100 screenings, including 21 world premieres and four North American premieres. From May 3-6, the Festival took over Station North, becoming a hub of activity for independent movie lovers. The festival featured programming in four different theaters, including Maryland Film Festival’s own Parkway Theater, a restored 1915 movie theater which celebrated its one year anniversary this year.

John Waters
John Waters with McCaul Lombardi, lead actor, and Matt Porterfield, director of SOLLERS POINT Jen Mizgata
House of Cards
Derek Cecil, friend, and Michael Kelly, star of Closing Night film ALL SQUARE Jen Mizgata
Malaika Aminata Clements
A friend accompanies filmmaker Malaika Aminata Clements and musician Abdu Ali to opening night of the festival Jen Mizgata

One of the most unique features of the Maryland Film Festival is how it brings together indie favorites from festivals around the world and local artists. In 2018 alone, the festival brought 190 visiting filmmakers, and all screenings of North American films were hosted by the artists, who hosted discussions with movie goers after screenings. The festival offers additional programming for filmmakers, and it’s not uncommon to hear directors refer to the event as “everyone’s favorite film festival,” citing the quality of the films programmed and the sense of community the festival has fostered. Richard Brody, film critic at The New Yorker, writes, “The Maryland Film Festival in Baltimore has long been one of the crucial showcases for independent films.”

This year’s festival included several hometown hits: Baltimore’s own Matt Porterfield premiered his new film SOLLERS POINT in Baltimore; John Waters presented I, OLGA HEPRANOVA; Dan Deacon presented TIME TRIAL, for which he created an original score; and a wide range of local filmmakers presented new short films, including Jovan James, who was featured in the opening night shorts and collage artist Beth Hoeckel, who showcased one of her first animations, co-directed with Marnie Ellen Hertzler. The festival cultivated with the closing night film ALL SQUARE, which starred Michael Kelly, of House of Cards Fame, and Isiah Whitlock, Jr, perhaps best known as Clay Davis from the Wire.

Isiah Whitlock
Actor Isiah Whitlock, Jr (THE WIRE) of Closing Night film ALL SQUARE in front of the Parkway Theater Jen Mizgata

The gallery above includes photos from many events at the festival, from the opening night party at The Parkway, to closing night at the Y Not lot, to the events in and around Station North. It also includes a sneak peek into Beyond Video, a new video collective that will open later this year.

Photos and text by Jen Mizgata, a Baltimore-based photographer, who can be reached at mizgata@gmail.com. See more of her work at jenmizphoto.com.