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Annapolis Film Festival: A Film Student’s Experience

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As an eager and go-getter film student, I am honored to have had the chance to attend and volunteer at the Annapolis Film Festival. As the president of the Film, Theatre and Poetry Club at Penn State Lehigh Valley, I went into this experience not knowing what to expect or what we would be doing while we were there. It turned out to be a beneficial trip for every film club member who attended the trip!

The three hour drive to Annapolis consisted of listening to my horrible playlist of rap, country and basically every other music genre out there (sorry again to my film club members that had to listen to that awful noise.) Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived so we headed over to the Loew’s Hotel to meet our trip leader, Derek. Derek took us in a passenger van for a quick little tour of a few of the venues close to the Loew’s Hotel. We had to pick up some goodie bags for the VIPs of the festival from the main office called Filmsters. We packed a few boxes into the back of the van and headed back to the Loew’s Hotel. I had to take Derek to pick up his car after we got back while the three other film club members, Katy Wirth, Jair Stewart, and Jonathan Moore assisted others at the Loew’s Hotel. After I got back we went to pick up our staff passes from Asbury Church. After we got our super cool staff passes we went back to our hotel to check in and chill for a little before we went out to dinner at The Green Turtle. I highly recommend checking it out whenever you have the chance to travel to Maryland – SUPER YUMMY!!

The following day we had to make a Target run for some supplies we left back in the Lehigh Valley when we got a call to meet at a place called the Boys & Girls Club. They needed us to move band equipment and of course we weren’t going to say no – we were there to volunteer! It was pouring rain at this point and we were dealing with thousands of dollars worth of equipment. We met this lovely couple who owned the band equipment and helped them take some of it to their house and their storage unit not too far from the club. By club I don’t mean a night club, I’m pretty sure it was an after school club for kids to go and hangout, since they had a gym and a bunch of pool and foosball tables. Once all the equipment was put away we were able to watch three shorts programs the festival was showing. The first one was shown at Asbury Church where there was a Q&A with the one film maker that made a short film called Rated. After that shorts program finished we hitched a ride with Derek to attend a VIP party at O’Brien’s – a restaurant by the piers. After O’Brien’s we walked to St. Anne’s Parish House to see the next shorts program. I was getting hungry so we stopped at a famous restaurant on Main Street that was called Chick & Ruth’s Delly. Man vs. Food was at this restaurant along with multiple presidents, vice presidents and senators. If you ever have the chance definitely, go there for their crab mac n cheese – it’s the bomb.com! Later we walked back to the Loew’s Hotel in the pouring rain to fetch my car from valet – so fancy, I know – and drive to Maryland Hall to see the final shorts program of the day. All of the short films we got to see were phenomenal! Film club is currently working on the preproduction stage of our own short film so to see what short films are in festivals across the country is extremely helpful for producing our own.

On Saturday we had two food deliveries to do in the afternoon so to kill time we walked around Main Street in Annapolis. We went to a super cool comic book shop and a place called Mason’s Lobster Rolls that had some super delicious lobster grilled cheese! For dessert I indulged in some farm grown ice cream that was sooooooo amazing, I want to go back for some more! Around 4pm we had to go to Asbury Church to pick up food to deliver to the volunteers at St. Anne’s Parish House and the Annapolis Elementary School. It was Italian night and we got to eat some of the food and let me tell you, whatever restaurant had the catering had some bomb cheesecake! After our food runs were done we drove to St. John’s College Key Auditorium to see a movie called Ingrid Goes West which will be out in theaters on August 4th, 2017. I think seeing Ingrid Goes West was the best part of the trip because it’s the first time I got to see a movie before it came out in theaters. It was a super relatable movie for millennials, like myself. Definitely see it when it comes out in August, you won’t regret it! There was a Saturday night BASH at the Loew’s Hotel in their restaurant, Bar Oak. We went for the free food because, well, it’s free food.

On the last day of the festival, we had a quick food pick-up in the morning from PotBelly Sandwich Shop. Funny story, I went to the wrong one to pick up the food and then when I went to the general vicinity of the correct one, I couldn’t find it!! I eventually found it but it was just a funny ordeal trying to find this sandwich shop so the other volunteers had lunch. We delivered the sandwiches to Maryland Hall and Katy and I decided to take a 30 minute walk to the Annapolis Elementary School to see the student shorts program. After the program finished we walked another 30 minutes back to Maryland Hall to see our last film of the trip, Katie Says Goodbye. I’m not sure if Katie Says Goodbye will be coming out in theaters or if it’s available to stream, but it is another must see! When the film finished it was time to listen to my awful playlist for another three hours back to Pennsylvania.

Overall this festival was an eye-opening experience for me as a young filmmaker. I was able to see the films that are touring across the country and set my own short film making expectations even higher. Attending this festival not only gave me the opportunity to watch amazing films but also an idea of what festivals are expecting as film submissions. Thank you to instructor Katina Sossiadis Bozikis, Penn State Lehigh Valley, Monster Remotes and the organizers of the Annapolis Film Festival for making this trip a reality.

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Annapolis Film Festival: A Film Student’s Experience