We really lucked out with LOL, because we seem to end up at the most amazing Festivals in the country. I had heard from other filmmakers who had previously attended the Maryland Film Festival that it was a good time, but nothing could have prepared Kevin, Tipper, or I for the amount of fun we would have in Baltimore
We had our good friend Spencer Parsons crashing with us at the hotel this time. Shorts filmmakers usually don't receive the first class treatment that feature filmmakers get, so we try and lend them a hand when we can. Spencer's great film, ONCE AND FUTURE ASSHOLE, was playing in the Festival. He used to live in Baltimore, so he also served as occasional navigator when we were lost or looking for something.
The Festival really took care of us when it came to food. In addition to our hotel's free breakfast, there were often Festival sponsored brunches and dinners. This was the set-up at the Zodiac Cafe, a very cool place across from the Charles Theatre where we ended up hanging out and eating a few times during the weekend.
There was also a great filmmaker tent full of food and free Red Bull. Tipper and Kevin are figuring out their schedule and grabbing a bite to eat between movies.
After missing it at a bunch of other Festivals, Tipper and I were finally able to see Michael Tully's film COCAINE ANGEL. Here is Tully (on the right) talking to his adoring fans after the screening. Tipper and I sat next to his parents and many other friends and crew members attended the screening. We run into a lot of the same people at different Festivals, and Michael is definitely one of our favorites.
Most Festivals have very nice perks for filmmakers, but few come anywhere close to what the Maryland Film Festival offers. Our Festival badges got us free admission to most of the museums in town, and also the aquarium. Here we are at the dolphin show. I was especially thrilled that the aquarium had a special exhibit on frogs!
The hands down winner of the "Best Filmmaker Perk Ever" award goes to the front row tickets we got to a Baltimore Orioles game. Each year, Cal Ripken Jr. and his wife donate their seats to the Festival, and filmmakers get to go watch a game from the best seats in the house. It was amazing!
I don't mean to brag too much about the seats, but we were only a few feet from the Orioles dugout and we were on TV after almost every pitch. We were right behind the batter!
The game was especially fun because of the company. We hung out with (from left to right) Chris Sheridan and Patty Kim, who made ABDUCTION: THE MEGUMI YOKOTA STORY, Spencer Parsons, one of Todd Rohal's friends, and Jay Wade Edwards, the man behind, STOMP! SHOUT! SCREAM! Not pictured is Todd Rohal, who made, THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE. He bought Tipper and I Dip' n' Dots and we will always be grateful to him.
Kevin, Tipper, and I took a little trip to the set of the opening scene in LOL. Chase Lisbon, who lives in Baltimore, shot the opening scene, and we were excited to visit the place that we had only ever seen in the movie. If you have seen the movie, you will recognize this living room from the video that's playing on the computer. Cool.
The closing night party turned into a DANCE PARTY!!!!! when Tipper and Lynn Shelton, the writer/director of the really amazing film, WE GO WAY BACK, started rocking out to the band. Jay Wade Edwards and I joined in and before long there were others cutting a rug.
We ended the Festival on a perfect note, hanging out with Lynn at the hotel, taking turns checking our email, and talking about movies until the wee hours of the morning.
It's hard to know when the whole LOL crew might be together at another Festival. Some of us might be attending different screenings over the summer, but we probably won't be together as a group until the Chicago Underground Film Festival in August. This was a great wrap-up to the Spring Festival season. Kevin, Tipper, Greta, and I will be working together on a new movie this summer, so stay tuned for news about that, and keep checking back for new screenings!