It’s no secret that even though we have “Screen Actors Guild” in our name, we at SAGIndie are very much about the filmmaker. That’s not to say we’re not supportive of the professional actor, because we are. Very much so. We promote SAG low budget contracts in order to help actors get work. We LOVE professional actors.
]However, in order to get them work, we must connect with established and up-and-coming independent filmmakers. Producers, directors, writers, educators – basically anyone who needs to understand that just because you’re making a film on a shoestring, doesn’t mean you can’t hire a professional actor.
So, when we travel to festivals, we’re always looking for the ones that cater to the filmmaker. In general, we like to see that (A) filmmakers are attending and (B) they’re taken care of. Nothing makes us happier when a festival goes out of its way to make the attending filmmakers feel like royalty.
The Maryland Film Festival in Baltimore, which I recently attended, did exactly that. It was my first time in Baltimore and upon arriving downtown I was instantly enamored with the beautiful cityscape. By the time the opening night gala was getting underway, the festival HAD me. Minutes after checking in I ran into Festival Director, Jed Dietz, who was mingling with the crowd before the opening screening, treating everyone as a dear old friend. Then, when the actual screening commenced, they did something extremely fresh and unique– they screened a group of spectacular short films. Something I’ve rarely seen before. More surprising than that, they actually flew the short filmmakers out so they could attend.
It doesn’t stop there. The Maryland Film Fest also takes care of past participants. They invite alumni of the festival out to network and enjoy the great Baltimore weather. Many of whom had nothing but glowing things to say about the job Dietz and crew have been doing. Other highlights included the day-long industry panels, the historic Charles Theater as the primary venue, and special presentations from Baltimore greats Dan Deacon and John Waters.
Overall, it was a professionally run festival in an amazing part of the country. There was plenty to do and they treated the visiting filmmakers like family. Maryland Film Festival, you’ve captured our heart.