The recent suck-ass economy has been hard on everyone, including the people who make and distribute films. Green lights are turning yellow or red all over Hollywood and anywhere else people scrape together a pile of money to make a flick. If you do finish a film, you have to worry about getting it shown in a movie marketplace with a dwindling number of risk-friendly screens and a new jones for 3-D megablockbusters. The DVD business is increasingly finicky. Video on demand is making up some ground for some distributors, and some viewers, but it's uphill out there for everyone not named James Cameron. In some ways, it's easier than ever to see a movie, but it's perhaps harder to see a wide variety of things.
Which is why events like the 12th annual Maryland Film Festival are more important than ever. This is where future sleeper hits make their first public inroads, and where many films get their best (and sometimes only) crack at the wider audience that many of them so richly deserve. Plus the social incubator of filmmakers and film fans that come together within a few blocks in and around Station North this Thursday through Sunday provides the kind of nerd-on-nerd contact you just can't get from streaming at home.
City Paper's Film Fest Frenzy (which is not affiliated with the Maryland Film Festival) was written by Andrea Appleton, Michael Byrne, Anna Ditkoff, Edward Ericson Jr., Lee Gardner, Martin L. Johnson, Bret McCabe, and Erin Sullivan. (Disclosure: Joe Tropea, who copy edited the issue, served as a screening committee member for this year's festival.) Donald Ely provided the cover illustration. And as always, we thank Jed Dietz, (erstwhile CP contributor) Eric Allen Hatch, and all the other hard-working staffers and volunteers who make the Maryland Film Festival possible.