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The Maryland Film Festival focuses on bringing the best of emerging and independent cinema to Maryland residents, screening approximately 30 feature films and 80 short films of all varieties—narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, and hybrid—during a fast-paced five day fest. MdFF is the signature program of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Theatre, a historic 3-screen cinema located in central Baltimore. Each year hundreds of films from all around the world are submitted starting in July through the end of the year and all submissions are viewed at least twice by screening committee members.

Our screening committee takes on the very important job of determining which movies appear in our Festival and are often among the first people to critically evaluate a new movie. It is important to us to honor that process by making sure every movie submitted gets a fair shake. We watch movies thoughtfully using a consistent criteria to consider their artistic merit and the experience they create in us as viewers. We aim to provide a fair and nuanced assessment of each title and to create a diverse festival program that appeals to Baltimore’s many audiences.

All MdFF screeners are required to watch and write notes for 60-80 movies (a mix of features and shorts) over the course of 5 months between September and January. That averages to 3-5 movies per week. There are also monthly in-person screening committee events and bi-weekly virtual screening committee events where we watch and discuss a selected film and build camaraderie. Our expectation is that screeners join an initial virtual orientation meeting and then attend at least 2 other screening committee events. We can offer a Festival pass to all screeners who complete these requirements.

APPLICATION

Applications to screen for the 2022 Fest are now open! The deadline is September 1, 2021 (or when the application cap is met). If you have any questions about the 2022 Fest or the screening process in general, please email submissions@mdfilmfest.com.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the minimum requirements for MdFF Screening Committee members?

Watching and writing reviews for 60-80 movies, attending one virtual Orientation meeting and two screening committee meetings (virtual and in-person options).

How many films do Screening Committee members need to watch?

About 60–80 titles, both short and feature-length.

What are you looking for in a new Screening Committee member?

We are looking for accountability, reliability, and teamwork. We are looking for people to watch movies thoughtfully and critically. The main job of the screening committee member is to successfully identify movies that are a good fit for MdFF.

What if I want to submit a film to MdFF and be on the Screening Committee?

Please feel free to submit. Your film is not guaranteed acceptance. Please also email Sumaiya Ananna (sumaiya@mdfilmfest.com) to let us know that you have submitted via FilmFreeway.

What are the perks for MdFF Screening Committee members?

Everyone who completes all the requirements will receive a pass to the Festival. There is also the camaraderie built through the screening committee events, the chance to see a whole lotta movies, and the opportunity to help shape the Festival.

May I be on the MdFF Screening Committee if I don’t live in Baltimore?

Yes, you may! We also have members who are outside the country and in other states.

What is the time committment of a MdFF Screening Committee member?

Screening happens over 5 months (mid August – mid January) with 5 hours a week of viewing on average.

What if I can’t watch 80 films?

We are looking for people who can commit to watching up to 80 films. If that is not feasible for you this year, we encourage you to reapply in the future.

Do I need to attend all the monthly meetings and gatherings?

Minimum requirement is attending 1 virtual orientation and 2 screening events which are offered both as in person or virtual events.

Will submitting a film while being on the Screening Committee create any conflict of interest?

We will ensure you are not assigned to judge your own movies. Screening committee evaluations are completely confidential. We trust our committee to evaluate the work as they would any other submission.

When will the virtual orientation and the monthly screening events be held?

There will be 2 virtual orientations to accommodate everyone’s time and availability. One will be in August and one in September. You only need to attend one, but you are welcome to attend both. More details will be shared as we finalize the dates to the monthly events. Please stay tuned!

I have questions that were not answered in this FAQ. What should I do?

Questions are always welcome and we are happy to hear from you. Please reach out to Sumaiya Ananna, Programming Associate at sumaiya@mdfilmfest.com. Please allow at least 24 hours for a response. Thank you for your patience!