The star-studded slate of 70-plus films at the 2019 Annapolis Film Festival (AFF) runs March 21-24 and includes world premieres, emerging artists, industry guests, and the work of multiple awards. Standing on the shoulders of their esteemed careers in the storytelling industry, festival co-founders Patti White and Lee Anderson inaugurated AFF in 2013 with the intention of offering a diversity of films from around the world that inspire a diversity of conversations. While the festival’s popularity and respect continue to increase, so does its ability to bring the community together, a momentum Anderson has mindfully observed the past seven years.
“At a time when the world sometimes seems very divisive and divided, we believe that [the festival] has actually helped bring people together in a really positive way,” shared Anderson, a Pasadena resident.
This year’s theme, “Truth in Storytelling,” brings forward the voices of truth seekers across multiple industries, including filmmaking.
“We’re living in a time where truth needs to be paramount because it’s a very hard time for people to decipher what is the truth,” Anderson said. “We have to rely on the journalists and the storytellers to actually show us and tell us where the truth lies. For that reason, we wanted to value the contributions of storytellers this year in honor of our friends at the Capital Gazette,” she added.
“Truth in Storytelling” is integrated into every aspect of this year’s festival, beginning with the selection of films. Eighteen narratives, 20 documentaries, and 46 shorts are divided into eight genres: LGBTQ, military, boating, youth audience (high school), African-American interest, Jewish interest, women/#MeToo/#TimesUp, and foreign — and every one of them is brimming with transparency. The participation of moderators, emerging students, filmmakers, actors and directors, as well as interactive panel discussion, is also interwoven into the creative programming. However, the interesting and mind-opening dialogue independent films often catalyze remains to be an audience favorite throughout the four-day festival weekend.
“Independent cinema is a whole different thing,” explained Anderson, referring to how there are important stories that are not being told and independent film festivals offer the opportunity of visibility. “And we really need that more than ever.”
After 27 years in the business, Anderson is convinced that storytelling is what connects communities, because each of us has our own story. “It’s the communal thing that puts us around the proverbial campfire and warms us up,” she elaborated. “It softens us because we’re not just a face.”
Carefully curated and culturally aware, the 2019 AFF should deliver another experience where viewers are able to respectfully hear new and diverse perspectives for the purpose of collective growth.
“We bring strong voices with different points of view,” Anderson summarized, “but we hope everybody will come with an open mind and an open heart.”
To fully appreciate the variety of happenings, view film trailers and purchase tickets, visit www.annapolisfilmfestival.com.