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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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A Letter from the Directors of the Annapolis Film Festival

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Dear AFF Film Festival Friends,

 

A grand Opening Night for the 8th Annual Annapolis Film Festival was to have International glam (Actress Kristin Scott Thomas and Director, Peter Cattaneo) as well as talented filmmakers filling the red carpet. It didn’t happen. Nor did the screening of Military Wives, something we were so excited to have for our military town. In fact, Annapolis based L’Attitude 38 PR & Marketing was prepped to handle the clamoring press. Two Producer Studios was set to live stream our special guests on the red carpet for the first time ever and Porsche of Annapolis had brand new cars on call outside of FADO (our private sponsor reception) waiting to whisk our guests to Maryland Hall, our lead venue and home to our Opening Night.

 

None of it was able to happen. Instead it was the Coronavirus world pandemic of 2020 that took over our plans and our lives. Here’s what else was missed. KO Events planned a themed USO-style Opening Night After Party at the Boys and Girls Club of Annapolis with delicious food created by Palate Pleasers. The plans of over one hundred guests from out of town were halted, hence the flights and trains were cancelled. But what that really meant to Annapolis was that our generous sponsors like The Graduate Hotel, The Westin, The Doubletree Hotel and Springhill Suites lost all of their rooms and events scheduled during the festival. Our partnering venue, Maryland Hall stood with us until the end as did Asbury United Methodist Church, St. John’s Key Auditorium and Annapolis Elementary. We were rooting for each other. But then reality hit as Governor Hogan took strong steps to control the virus in our state. He was right to do so and we had to move forward in another direction.

 

We had to pivot.

 

We had 10 short days to come up with an alternative. We chose a Virtual Festival through Film Festival Flix because we were still committed to giving our loyal audiences and guests a chance to experience the artistic curation of the festival. Having over 70 films from all over the world, we were thrilled to unveil many fresh indies and long-awaited soon-to-be released films, many just off Sundance, Toronto, Telluride and other top festivals as well as the most incredible shorts programs. So many months of hard work, long hours and passion for the festival was quickly turned in this new direction. Without our skilled, but mighty, AFF team we could never have attempted to bring some version of the festival to our community and beyond. Our A team worked tirelessly during the weekend to offer support, as best they could, to so many interested film watchers. The result wasn’t perfect, but this somewhat experimental execution of a weekend festival brought not just frustration but joy to many. We want everyone to know, we gave it our all. As these opportunities proceed in the future, many technical aspects will get resolved and festivals will be able to use these platforms without as much difficulty.

 

We want to express our deepest thanks to our outstanding Board of Directors, with Lynn McReynolds (Pres.) and Susan Walker (VP) at the helm. Without our Board and their support and personal efforts, we would have definitely been forced to close up shop for the year. Their belief in our team allowed us to take a risk and deliver the best we could. The sponsors and donors at all levels of the Annapolis Film Festival have shown such generosity of spirit, understanding the situation and expressing their excitement for our virtual festival. We are so fortunate to be kindly supported by our Arts Council of Anne Arundel County and by the State as well, through their Arts Council and the Maryland Film Office. We want to thank the City of Annapolis for its support and Mayor Gavin Buckley, who never doubted anything we attempted and is such an authentic fan of the festival.

 

Our theme this year was Focus Forward and that’s exactly what we intend to do as a festival organization. No one knows the trajectory of this virus, but we do know that we will be there when it is safe to, once again, celebrate together. We will be offering new films, both powerful, entertaining and informative and we will hope to see you at the movies. Thank you, Annapolis, for being the most supportive and loyal small town with the biggest heart. 

 

Thank you Annapolis and those of you who joined us from other places, we won’t forget.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Patti White & Lee Anderson, Festival Directors & Co-Founders

 

 

 

 

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Chatelin Bruno
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