(March 1, 2019) The third annual Ocean City Film Festival will take place next weekend, March 8-10, showcasing the work of local, regional and international filmmakers.

More than 100 films in categories including youth, documentary, horror, animation, comedy, music videos, dramatic pieces, social commentary and shorts will be featured in eight locations throughout the resort.

A $79 all-access pass includes unlimited screenings at the Francis Scott Key Hotel in West Ocean City, Princess Royale Hotel on 91st Street, Ocean City Center for the Arts on 94th Street, Carousel Hotel on 118th Street, Seacrets on 49th Street, Fox Gold Coast Theater on 115th Street, the Performing Arts Center in the convention center on 40th Street, and the Clarion Resort Hotel on 101st Street. In addition, the passes also get attendees into the opening-night party, workshops and the awards ceremony.

Rina

Art League of Ocean City Executive Director Rina Thaler and filmmaker Michael Healy, of Ocean Pines, pose for a photo during the Ocean City Film Festival awards ceremony last year. The 2019 event will take place March 8-10.

“It’s something different that we don’t have in Ocean City,” Rina Thaler, Art League of Ocean City executive director said. “This is just something new and unique and different. Right now, everything is all about experiences and people love doing and experiencing things. It’s an authentic experience because it’s all original, independent films.”

Festival Director William Strang-Moya was inspired to create the event after helping his friend shoot a scene for a film in Ocean City.

“It was really serendipitous,” Strang-Moya said. “Two years ago, I got involved with the Art League of Ocean City during my winter break of my senior year of college. One of my friends was shooting a film in Ocean City and we needed a location for the final day so I reached out to Rina about using one of her classrooms and she said yes. 

“She said she was open to the idea of looking for someone to do a film festival, so I figured, might as well be me,” he continued.

The event also provides opportunities for the audience to meet the filmmakers and discuss their work.

“The neat part about it is that at the end of each block of films we do a question and answer session with the filmmakers,” Thaler said. “A lot of them come to the festival and then they get up at the end and you can ask them questions like, ‘What were you thinking when you did that,’ or, ‘How did you make that special effects?’ That’s always really interesting to me.”

The three-day festival begins Friday, March 8, at 10 a.m. with films being shown at the Fox Gold Coast Theater and the Clarion Hotel until the meet-and-greet party at the Ocean City Center for the Arts on 94th Street, from 5-7 p.m.

Attendees can network with filmmakers, snack on some hors d’oeuvres and there will also be a cash bar. For those who do not have an all-access pass, the opening-night party will cost $25.

On Saturday, March 9, films begin at 11 a.m. and will run into the evening hours at the Princess Royale Hotel, Fox Gold Coast Theater, Francis Scott Key, Performing Arts Center and the Clarion Hotel.

For those who do not have an all-access pass, a day pass for screenings will cost $20.

In addition, three film festival workshops will be offered at the arts center, next Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. Topics include making short films, storytelling and writing films. Workshops cost $10 without an all-access pass.

“One of the workshops on Saturday that’s going to be a highlight is the Maryland Film Office,” Thaler said. “So if you want to make a motion picture in Maryland, you have to follow their procedures. The head of the film commission is going to be there … to talk about what kind of permits you need and what you need to do for getting locations.”

On Sunday, March 10, films begin at 11 a.m. at the Fox Gold Coast Theater. The Carousel will show two films starting at noon.

The film festival will come to a close with an awards ceremony from 4-6 p.m. at Seacrets on 49th Street. The best Maryland film, judge’s award and people’s choice awards will be announced.

“Make a weekend of it and see as many as you can,” Thaler said. “There are some films that I’ve seen at the past two film festivals that have stayed in my mind – like I’ve been thinking about for a while – and it surprised me how much I’ve enjoyed it because I was never a film person.”

In addition, the closing party will include complimentary refreshments, a cash bar and the winning film will be screened. For those who do not have an all-access pass, the closing party will cost $25.

“We’re having live music there and [going] to screen some of the winning films. People get really excited by the end of the weekend,” Thaler said. “You end up making new friends and meeting new people.”

Most importantly, it is a platform for artists to express themselves, Strang-Moya said.

“Our real mission since the beginning has been to provide opportunities where there were none before, especially in Ocean City,” Strang-Moya said. “It’s really hard to get a platform as a filmmaker and being out here on the Eastern Shore, platforms are few and far between and we’re just trying to give voices to people who didn’t have them before. It’s all about opportunities and giving the local artists and artists from throughout the region a place to express themselves.”

For more information, a list of all films or to purchase tickets, visit www.ocmdfilmfestival.com or search “Ocean City Film Festival” on Facebook.

Tickets can also be purchased at the Art League of Ocean City on 94th Street or at any film location, although it will be cash only.

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