The Maryland Film Festival (MdFF) is an annual five-day international film festival taking place each May in Baltimore. The festival was launched in 1999, and presents international film and video work of all lengths and genres with the mission of bringing together filmmakers, students and audiences in a friendly, inclusive atmosphere.
This year the 20th Annual Maryland Film Festival will take place May 2-6, 2018. Each year legendary Baltimore filmmaker, artist and visionary John Waters selects and introduces a film, and this year it is "I, Olga Hepnarova." The Alloy Orchestra also returns this year to perform a bold, live, original score to accompany a unique piece of film history: "A Page of Madness." For more programming and ticketing information visit www.mdfilmfest.com.
The heart of the festival takes place in the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Theatre, a historic theater over a century old that was restored and reopened in 2017 with much of the building’s original architecture preserved alongside modern additions. The Parkway is comprised of a 414-seat auditorium in the original theater with breathtaking details preserved on the ceiling and walls, as well as two new, smaller theaters. There is also a ground-floor bar and lounge with locally-sourced concessions.
In 1915 The Parkway first opened its door with feature attraction Zaza, starring Pauline Frederick and directed by Hugh Ford and Edwin S. Porter. During this era, The Parkway seated 1100 patrons, screened Paramount titles, and boasted an organ, an orchestra, and a devoted cameraman capturing local news.
Since then The Parkway has seen many reiterations and remodels: in 1926 it became a Loew’s theater, in 1956 it reopened as 5 West, an art-house cinema, and ultimately closed in 1978. In the decades that followed, portions of the Parkway were occasionally used as commercial or office spaces, with several exciting plans to return the theater to cultural purposes proving either short-lived or unrealized. Eventually The Parkway was acquired by the city and the Maryland Film Festival and turned into a year-round film center as it is currently used today.