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The Maryland Theatre to screen independent films

March 22, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - An expos about reality television, a tale about a teenager fascinated by Joan of Arc and a depiction of an Iraqi family trying to survive amid war are among the five independent movies that will make their Maryland debuts at The Maryland Theatre.

Executive Director Brian Sullivan said Wednesday that the theater has scheduled the screenings of five movies distributed through Lifesize Entertainment, an independent-film company. Discussions of each of the movies will follow the screenings.

The theater will book more movies and will host a film fest for filmmakers in the four-state region next year after the first five movies finish their runs, Sullivan said.

"It's going to capture the audience members and make them think instead of letting the movie think for them, like a big Hollywood blockbuster," Sullivan said.

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The first film, a Canadian comedy called "Things to Do," has two screenings April 7, and "Blood of My Brother," which is about the war in Iraq, will be shown April 14, according to the theater's Web site.

The other movies include "American Cannibal," a documentary about reality TV, "Echoes of Innocence," a Christian drama, and "Oasis," a Korean film about a man's relationship with the cerebral palsy-stricken daughter of a man his brother killed.

Sullivan said he believes that independent-film lovers will turn out to see the movies at The Maryland Theatre, where audience members can enjoy all the standard theater fare, as well as alcoholic drinks. Admission costs $7 for adults and $5 for children 12 years old and younger.

Panel discussions will follow the screenings of each of the films.

The arrangement with Lifesize Entertainment involves only five movies so far, but Marc Hughes, the company's sales and acquisition manager, said he is excited about working with The Maryland Theatre.

"It has to be mutually beneficial for both of us, but more than anything, we're just looking to show some really good films that haven't been seen around there," Hughes said.

The Maryland Theatre is not the only venue for independent films. Hagerstown 10 Cineplex will premiere the horror movie, "Deadlands: The Rising," April 14, assistant manager Ed Taylor said.

Taylor said he does not expect The Maryland Theatre's latest venture will hurt the cineplex, which this summer will offer drive-in screenings of first-run Hollywood movies.

Sullivan said audiences have grown and diversified since he started working at The Maryland Theatre about a year ago, and he believes there's a market for independent films here.

Sullivan said the SoPo - South Potomac (Street) - Film Fest has not been scheduled, but he expects it to run about two weeks.

"I see people walking out of the theater that have never been there before, and now they're starting to explore, which is great because when they discover The Maryland Theatre, they discover downtown Hagerstown," Sullivan said.

To learn more about Lifesize Entertainment, go to http://lifesizeentertainment.com/

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