Film festival is worth a look

October 13, 2011

“There’s never anything to do around here.”

It’s a refrain uttered by many teenagers and young adults in the Hagerstown area. Well, for those who have longed for new or different entertainment options, here is one: a fresh, new multi-venue film festival that brings a bit of Hollywood to Hagerstown.

The inaugural Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown begins today and runs through Sunday, offering us the chance to choose from 50 films at three venues: The Maryland Theatre and Bridge of Life church, both in downtown Hagers-town, and Leitersburg Cinemas on Leitersburg Pike.

The films range from serious to comical and from long to short.

Organizers say the festival’s mission is to be a platform for independent filmmakers to engage audiences, collaborate with other filmmakers and educate the community with the celebration of film.

The event appears to be worth a look. It offers movies on dozens of topics for reasonable rates. Organizers say some of the films have screened at film festivals such as Cannes, Sundance, Tribeca, Silverdocs and Hot Docs.

For those people who think there’s nothing to do around here, here’s a chance to make a difference. A good showing from the public at the first event could help make it an annual festival. And that means good things for downtown Hagerstown, The Maryland Theatre and Leitersburg Cinemas.

This is a chance to support local businesses. The theaters, the church and the nearby restaurants that are hosting after-parties are local places run by local people.

Bottom line: It sounds like fun. Each night, normal folks can rub elbows with movie actors and directors who will be walking in on the red carpet. We can watch a film that might not make the normal rounds of area theaters and follow that up with an after-party.

The festival is a coordinated effort by local people and organizations. Festival director Tracie Donahue, Tom Riford of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Rich Daughtridge of High Rock Studios showed the vision and drive to take the event from idea to reality.

Now it’s up to us to support it. For more information, go to

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