by Charles Kirkland Jr.
21 events. 4 venues. 3 days. 1 festival.
On July 26, 2018, Columbia Maryland will experience an event unlike any other in Howard County and will join the ranks of such prestigious cities as New York, Park City and Toronto for on that date the city will launch its inaugural film festival.
The Lakefront Film Festival, conceived and curated by WAFCA President Tim Gordon, will be the first of its kind for Howard County, incorporating a diverse range of movie experiences from drama and documentary to comedy and romance. The theme of the festival, “The Power of the Story” has been more than just a slogan but a guiding principle for the selection of the features. “We not only wanted a selection of good entertaining films,” said Gordon “but also movies that would serve as great discussion starters.”
The festival is the culmination of a two decades long dream for Gordon who partnered with the Foundation for Augmentation of African-Americans in Film (FAAAF) to finally make the dream come alive. While the partnership ensures an African-American presence, the festival was intentionally crafted to reflect the diversity of the area where it is located.
The festival opens with The Bookshop, an English film starring Emily Mortimer, Bill Night and Patricia Clarkson about a woman who attempts to open a bookstore in a small town in England in 1959. It will close with Qasim Basir’s romantic drama, A Boy. A Girl. A Dream, which centers on a pair of prospective lovers who connect on the night of the 2016 Presidential election. Over the next couple of days, the festival will continue to present a wide range of events including five ninety plus minute shorts programs that will exhibit student films, web-series and other independent films destined to create discussion.
Speaking of discussion, there will also be discussion panels featuring filmmakers and film critics. “One of the advantages to being the leader of a fine organization like the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) is the ability to tap the shoulder of my colleagues and ask for their help,” laughed President Gordon. The availability of film critics was welcomed into the program to ensure open conversations at events like the Anniversary Series showing of the classic Ed Norton film American History X. American History X was selected as the first of Lakefront’s annual series, designed to reflect on timely and groundbreaking cinema, because of a known tie to the city. (Norton’s grandfather was one of the designers of the city of Columbia.)
Inaugural sponsors include The Howard County Office of Tourism and The Howard Hughes Corporation, these partnerships with Howard County and the city of Columbia are vital to the success of the event. The four venues sharing in the festival are The Smith Theater, The Soundry, The Studio Theater and The Monteabaro Recital Hall. Each of the venues was selected because of the location and proximity to each other, making the festival the most accessible to those attending. Because of their central location, attendees can switch easily from one theater to another and experience the events they desire. Also, a boon for the community and those attending is the fact that the festival occurs during restaurant week in Columbia which will allow festival participators the opportunity to experience the various culinary delights offered in the city.