EASTON — On Thursday, Oct. 3, the Chesapeake Film Festival will kick off a week-long festival of independent films that celebrate heroes on the screen and behind the scenes.
On Oct. 3 at the newly renovated Avalon Theatre, the festival will present “The Cold Blue” followed by a gourmet reception and ending with “The Spy Behind Home Plate.”
Aviva Kempner’s 2019 film, “The Spy Behind Home Plate,” tells the real story of Moe Berg, Major League Baseball player turned spy during World War II. Once again focusing on a little-known Jewish hero, Aviva follows Berg from the streets of Newark to Major League Baseball to his secret life of spying for the OSS.
Catherine Wyler, daughter of the legendary director William Wyler, pays tribute to her father and the airmen of World War II in “The Cold Blue.” The film, directed by Erik Nelson, is constructed from digitally enhanced footage captured by Wyler and his cameramen on the B-17 bomber, the Memphis Belle, during missions over Germany in 1943.
Catherine Wyler and Kempner will be on hand to discuss their films.
On Friday, Oct. 4, the festival will focus on the Chesapeake Bay. The evening event will start with a reception at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center and move to the Avalon. The warm-up act will include two student films — “Effects of Rising Water in Annapolis” and “Chesapeake Bay Report.” The main act is a series of new short films about the heroes of the Eastern Shore rivers by Dave Harp and Sandy Cannon-Brown. A panel discussion will cap the evening.
Six films are coming to the festival in October directly from the Sundance Film Festival — “Light from Light,” directed by Paul Harrill; “Bedlam,” directed by Kenneth Paul Rosenberg; “Sea of Shadows,” directed by Richard Ladkani; “Apollo 11,” directed by Todd Douglas Miller; “Tigerland,” directed by Ross Kauffman, and a film about the life and work of the late Mike Wallace of “60 minutes.”
The environmental focus will continue throughout the festival, with a full day of environmental films at Gallery 447 in Cambridge on Sunday, Oct. 6. The lineup includes “Tale of the Tongs,” directed by Judy and Stanley Hallet, about an architectural installation on the island of Inishturk in Ireland. Another feature is the action-packed journey that follows filmmaker Rob Stewart as he exposes the massive illegal shark fin industry and the political corruption behind it in “Sharkwater: Extinction.” The finale of the day will be “The Human Element,” which begins with a visit to Tangier Island, where rising tides and erosion threaten the future of this Chesapeake Bay island. Panel discussions will enhance all screenings.
A new series in the festival lineup this year is “Festival Favorites,” which will honor returning films audiences have loved the most, including “Into the Okavango,” “The Gardener,” “Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf,” “Saving Sea Turtles: Preventing Extinction,” “Wild Ponies of Chincoteague” and “Swing Away,” which will close the festival this year.
An entire day of films and events will be dedicated to the issues of mental health and aging, with presenting partners of the Oxford Community Center ,featuring films exploring both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Those film titles include “Late Afternoon,” “Away from Her,” “Iris” and “Alive Inside.”
The Chesapeake Film Festival is supported by the Maryland Film Office, Maryland State Arts Council, Talbot County Arts Council, Talbot County Department of Tourism and Exelon Corporation.
Visit www.chesapeakefilmfestival.com for ticketing and information about events and films.