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Maryland International Film Festival

Maryland International Film Festival Watch the films. Talk to the filmmakers. Support independent artists.  

The Maryland International Film Festival is organized by filmmakers and marketing executives who understand the power of film and support the talent of the independent filmmaker. Our goal is to fill theaters to capacity, encourage the development of filmmaker networks including media, distribution and the association with other artists. MDIFF believes in the importance of giving back to the community and will be donating a portion of the proceeds to charities around the globe. - See more at:




20 Weeks Wins Best Feature at Maryland International Film Festival 2018

The Maryland International Film Festival handed out their awards on Sunday, April 29, at the Grand Piano Ballroom. Awards were given for Best Feature, Short, Animation, Student, Local, Documentray, and Foreign films. Festival Director, Tracie Hovey said, "This year has been jam packed with some of the best films on the circuit. We are always thrilled to host such amazing talent in Hagerstown. It gives residents a chance to see films that are about to be seen on Netflix and other distribution chanels before other audiences. And the filmmakers always seem to enjoy the quality festival experience we provide so it is a win-win for everyone!" 

Films were screened at four venues this year, the historic Maryland Theater, the Grand Piano Ballroom, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Washington County Free Library. The red carpet opening night feature was Butterfly Kisses which won the Best Local Film award and the Saturday night feature was 20 Weeks staring Amir Arison and directed by Lenna Pendharka.


Amir Arison, was awarded the Mendez Award at the Maryland International Film Festival in Hagerstown, Maryland on April 27, 2018. Executive Director Tracie Hovey said, “The Mendez Award is awarded to someone who has succeeded in the tv/film industry or has supported film and who also gives back to the community. Amir Arison is such an amazing talent. His work on NBC’s “The Blacklist” has really catapulted his career. Not only is he a tremendous talent, but we want to recognize him for all that he does for non-profits. Arison believes in giving back and continues to support causes that he loves.” 


 The Nora Roberts Award. Shelly Strong, was chosen as the 2018 Nora Roberts Foundation Award winner. The prestigious award is given to the person who has had a successful career in the film and television industry and has Maryland ties. Executive Director Tracie Hovey said, “We could not think of anyone more deserving than Shelly Strong. Shelly hails from Western Maryland and quickly climbed to the top of Dream Works Studios to be the only woman as Head of Physical Production at any major studio. She truly embodies all that the Nora Roberts Award is and we are thrilled to celebrate her and all of her accomplishments.” 

Shelly Strong hails from Western Maryland and attended Smithsburg High School and Towson University.  She got her start working in film right out of college by landing a job on “He Said, She Said” as a director’s assistant, followed by a stint as an office P.A. on David Mamet’s “Homicide”.  Packing up her Chevy S-10 she moved to Los Angeles in 1991. There she landed some low budget work as a Production Coordinator but quickly moved on to producing independent films and toured the festivals. After several years of the indie/festival circuit she landed an executive job at Stratus and Bullseye where she worked on titles including “Crash,” “The Illusionist,” “The Painted Veil” and “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party.” Her big break into the majors happened in 2006 when she was hired as VP of Production at DreamWorks Studios (now Amblin Partners) where she was recently promoted to Head of Physical Production. Her credits include: “Tropic Thunder,” “The Help,” “I Love You, Man,” “Girl on a Train,” and the upcoming “The House with a Clock in its Walls.”            


Congratulations to the 2018 Winners of the 7th Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown:

• Best Local Film: "Butterfly Kisses"

• Best Documentary Film: "Forever B"


• Best Animation: "KCLOC"

• Best Student Film: "Gloria Talks Funny"

• Best Short Film: "Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times"

• Best Feature: "20 Weeks"

• Best Foreign Film: "Bakerman"




mdiff18.mp4137.87 MB


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