Waynesboro, Pa. trio's film selected for screening during the Maryland International Film Festival

October 14, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER |
  • Director Ron Maxwell walks the red carpet before the screening of his movie "Gods and Generals" at Leitersburg Cinemas on Friday during the Maryland International Film Festival.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

At the end of the red carpet, behind the step-and-repeat banner where celebrities pose for photo-ops, stood the three filmmakers.

Hands in pockets, a calmness in their expressions, one of the filmmakers turned to his right and asked who was the man in the jacket who stepped from the limousine earlier, walked the red carpet and posed for pictures before the banner.

"That was Ron Maxwell, the director of 'Gods and Generals,'" said Tom Riford, president and chief executive officer of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The trio — William Derrick, his brother, Thomas Derrick, and friend Mitch Walck — are known as Indiendo Productions of Waynesboro, Pa.

Just like Maxwell, they came to the Leitersburg Cinemas Friday to screen a film in the Maryland International Film Festival.

But where Maxwell's "Gods and Generals" has been hailed as one of the longest films in history and took 10 years to create, Indiendo's "Machine Room" was scheduled Friday in Shorts Session No. 6 and took the trio since about April to produce, they said.

"Machine Room" was one of about 250 films that applied to be part of the festival and one of only 51 films selected by judges to screen, said Tracie Donahue, festival director.

"For a first-year festival that is really remarkable," she said of the number of entries.

Being selected was in itself an honor, Riford said.

Film festivals draw from all corners of the art form. From one corner come artists like the Derrick brothers and Walck, just beginning their careers. From another comes filmmakers like Jesse Baget, director of "White Knight," who said Hagerstown was stop 15 on his festival tour.  And from yet another come industry names like Maxwell and stage and screen actor Stephen Lang — who was unable to attend Friday due to a family emergency, Riford said.

Hagerstown stretched out the red carpet again Friday evening for the moviemakers, even though it had been screening films since 10 a.m.

"For sure, this is the most hospitable film festival I've been to," Baget said.

Audience turnout for the festival has been "all right," Donahue said, noting that was pretty good for its first year.

Scores of people came to see Maxwell's epic.

Some, like Tricia Strader of Berkeley Springs, W.Va., were in the movie.

Strader got her start in film by being an extra in "Gods and Generals," she said.

Now she has a "mini-career" in film and television, having been part of about six productions, she said.

Introducing his film, Maxwell credited it to the audience and Washington County, where parts of it were filmed.

"This movie could not have been made without you," he said.  

"Gods and Generals" was the main event of the festival Friday, but throughout the 10-theater cineplex, other films continued to play.

Screening along side the epic, the audience for "Machine Room" was likely to be mostly family and friends, William Derrick said.

And for the three filmmakers, that was fine.

"As long as you set out to make a movie and made it how you wanted to, the audience response is irrelevant," Walck said.

The festival continues today at Bridge of Life in Hagerstown and the Leitersburg Cinemas.

Winners of the festival will be announced Sunday, Riford said.

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