A long spring weekend in a series of darkened rooms. On one level, that's what we're talking about here. Fortunately, the long weekend in question is the fourth annual Maryland Film Festival, so a panoply of movies will be projected on the big shimmery walls in each dim chamber at the Charles Theatre, and at the Heritage CinemaHouse around the corner, day and night. Judging from the raft of features and shorts discussed on the following pages, it's a worthwhile way to spend all or part of four days. And considering the caliber of hobnobbing and socializing happening in and around the venues at festivals past, it isn't a bad way to pass a morning, afternoon, or evening even if you never make it to a screening.
In case you do decide to get your ticket torn or your laminate examined, City Paper presents its annual Film Fest Frenzy guide, our critical but affectionate rundown of what's showing where and when and whether or not you're gonna wanna see it. (If you're on the fence about springing for a full-boat festival pass, take a shot at winning one via the FFF contest on this page.) Enjoy the movies, the panel discussions, the celebrity hosts, and the overall cinephile ambience. We'll see you when the lights come up.
Film Fest Frenzy '02 (not affiliated with the Maryland Film Festival) was written by Paul D. Eagle, Lee Gardner, Ian Grey, Eric Allen Hatch, Heather Joslyn, Andy Markowitz, Adele Marley, Bret McCabe, Benn Ray, Luisa F. Ribeiro, and Tom Scocca. Sara Hemmings and Mike Spector provided invaluable editorial assistance; Chuck Shacochis provided the cover illustration. Special thanks to Jed Dietz and the MFF crew for their cooperation, especially Dan Krovich, who wore a path between his door and ours bearing screener tapes.