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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:




Is it Time to Change the Role of the Film Critic?

Recently, there has been an onslaught of critic’s articles about El Chicano with mixed feedback. I must say I was disappointed to read the negative feedback but understand that everyone has a different opinion. If critics are looking for some positive discourse with the filmmaker, maybe we should all consider changing the dynamic. If reviews are about helping filmmakers see their errors or fix the film, then it should be done before the movie is released in a setting where it can be remedied. That would be useful information. However, as it stands now, critics criticize, and it ends up hurting the film. I hope that is not the intended purpose because it takes an insurmountable amount of work and sometimes years of hustle to make movies happen. 
I think we all need to find a new way to utilize the expertise of film critics in a way that is additive to the work of filmmakers. Movies are a fantastic tool to help us communicate ideas that can change our society. 
The film El Chicano is an excellent example of how movies can help drive social issues to the forefront and start to the conversation of change. The fact that Joe Carnahan and Ben Hernandez Bray stood their ground when asked to replace a Latino character for someone Caucasian to fund El Chicano is remarkable. I know plenty of people that would have caved to that notion without batting an eye; knowing that they would have easy access to funding.  
I was present when we screened it before Latino audiences and watched as many of them cried just seeing their faces on the screen. We all cried. It was clear that representation was imperative to all Latinos, not only for those who worked in the industry.  After these screenings, Joe and Ben became even more steadfast in their desire to get this film in front of Latino audiences everywhere.  
I know that these two men have some of the biggest hearts of anyone that I have ever met. I'm proud of them for standing on their principles of what they felt is right because that is far more important than any amount of money that they would have made by putting Caucasians in the movie. I'm proud of Ben for sharing his very personal life story with the world to help people who have suffered the same loss. I'm honored to know and work with Joe Carnahan who lays his livelihood on the line for his friends and for people whom he doesn't even know because he cares about their well-being and humanity. Joe Carnahan worked tirelessly through unprecedented difficulties and pressure. And even through all those hardships, I know he would still fight that battle all over again.
I believe in the inherent goodness of people, and I know that all of the good that these two men and their investors did for Latinos representation in movies will be applauded and appreciated at some point....I sincerely hope that day comes sooner rather than later.
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