The inaugural event was such a success last year that it’s now coming back, bigger and better, this week.
The second annual Prince George’s Film Festival returns Wednesday, Sept. 27, through Sunday, Oct. 1. Marketing director Kisha Mason told WTOP it’s an opportunity to get familiar with new independent filmmakers, as well as to support locals in the industry.
“We’re calling it Take Two,” Mason said. “The feedback we received from attendees is that they really loved the workshops. One purpose of the film festival is to convene creators and filmmakers in one space to learn from top industry professionals. … It’s going to be a celebration of film, art and culture.”
The unofficial soft opening is on Wednesday with the free screening of the local independent film “Million to One” at the AMC Magic Johnson Capital Center 12 in Largo, Maryland, at 6:30 p.m.
“That’s by Prince George’s filmmaker Harold Jackson,” Mason said. “This is a free screening, it’s a community screening. … This film was partly funded by the Prince George’s Film Office through our grant program, so this was a grant recipient. Some of the scenes from this film were recorded or filmed right here in our county, so we’re excited about that. That’s our bonus, kind of our pre-festival on Wednesday.”
The festival officially kicks off Thursday evening with a screening of “The Deadly Getaway” at the Center for Performing Arts at Prince George’s Community College in Largo at 5:30 p.m.
“We are premiering another Prince George’s filmmaker, Tressa Smallwood,” Mason said. “This was another recipient of the Prince George’s Film Office grant program. This was filmed entirely in Prince George’s County. … In addition to the opening night screening, we have an exclusive conversation with actor, activist and entrepreneur Lamman Rucker. He’s going to share his insights and impart some wisdom … hosted by Lesli Foster [of WUSA9].”
The festival continues all day Friday with insightful filmmaker panels at the Sunset Room — above Fogo de Chão at National Harbor in Oxon Hill — from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. This will be “a full day of professional development, workshops and panels,” according to Mason.
“Lamman Rucker will be on one of the panels talking about producing and directing,” Mason said. “We are bringing experts from across the industry from all over the country to come and spread their knowledge to our attendees. … After that, we will have a high-powered networking reception and on the plaza we’ll be screening trailers and shorts on the big screen.”
Saturday moves over to Bowie State University from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“Another full day of panels and workshops,” said Mason, with speakers from Pixar, LAIKA and Adobe as animation takes center stage.
“That’s a sector in the film industry that is growing, so we want to share knowledge, trends and resources as it relates to up-and-coming animators,” Mason said. “We have a powerful panel on that, then we’re also going to talk about different roles … behind the camera. … We also have Lamman Rucker leading an actors workshop.”
It all wraps Sunday with a closing brunch and celebration in the grand ballroom at MGM National Harbor from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“We are closing out the festival with an intimate conversation with the iconic and legendary Lynn Whitfield; that conversation will be hosted by the esteemed journalist Harriette Cole,” Mason said. “Then it’s our awards presentation, so our Best of Festival Awards. During the festival, attendees and judges get to vote on their favorite films of the festival, so we present those Sunday at our closing brunch, so we’re really excited about that.”
Stay tuned to WTOP for our in-depth conversation with Lynn Whitfield this afternoon.