Internationally-renowned Actor William H. Macy Announced as Recipient of Nora Roberts Foundation Award at 11th Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown

March 17, 2023

The Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown has announced that the well-known actor William H. Macy will be awarded the Nora Roberts Foundation Award at the opening night of the 11th film festival, being held on March 23rd at the Historic Maryland Theatre.

William H. MAcy

Award-Winning Actor William H. Macy

(Hagerstown, MD. March 17, 2023) -- The Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown has announced that the well-known actor William H. Macy will be awarded the Nora Roberts Foundation Award at the opening night of the 11th film festival, being held on March 23rd at the Historic Maryland Theatre. 

Film Festival Board of Directors President Nicole Houser said, “William Macy is one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood today. He is certainly Western Maryland's most famous actor, and has a significant body of work. Mr. Macy is also a true supporter of the arts, of television, and of filmmaking. He grew up in Allegany County, in Cumberland, and has brought pride to Western Maryland. He remains today one of the most respected actors in the world. This prestigious award is given in recognition of either success in the film and television industry, or in creating opportunities for achievements for the film and arts communities in Maryland. The award especially recognizes Maryland ties.”

After college in Vermont, William H. Macy began appearing in off-Broadway and Broadway plays. He then built his film career by appearing in many small independent films. He then began getting larger roles in mainstream Hollywood films, including several blockbusters. He also has been a main actor in several television series. He was nominated for an Academy Award, has received Emmy awards, a Peabody Award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, People's Choice Awards, Screen Actors' Guild Awards, and numerous other awards. 

Long-time friend Ed Lough was a school mate of William Macy, ever since Macy moved to Cumberland when he was nine years old. "His father worked at an insurance company, and Bill and I alphabetically sat next to each other in a lot of homerooms and classes. I played trombone in the high school band, and 'Bill' Macy was the actor. We worked together on a lot of Allegany High School theater projects, with me toiling away in the orchestra pit, and Bill Macy getting the applause on stage!" The two life-long friends stay in touch, and talk about high school reunions and other Western Maryland goings-on. Ed Lough contacted William H. Macy about his Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown Nora Roberts Foundation Award, and Macy was happy to accept. 

William H. Macy will be appearing via video, at the red carpet opening night presentations. He has been working in Australia and New Zealand on multiple film projects. He has promised to attend in person, at a future Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown.

Tom Riford, who had been a charter board member of the Maryland Film Industry Coalition, and serves as Assistant Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Commerce, said, “William H. Macy is a legend in the film and television industry, and respected around the world for his work. This award recognizes excellence, and Maryland connections. How appropriate that one of the foremost actors in Hollywood, who came from Maryland, is accepting this award.”

Macy has appeared in several well-known films and series, including Fargo, Wild Hogs, Sahara, Shameless, and scores of other movie and television projects.

On Thursday March 23rd, 2023, the Red-Carpet opening night begins with a special VIP reception at 5:30pm, followed by the opening night celebrations, awards, and introduction of opening night short films. The Nora Roberts Foundation Award is one of three awards presented opening night. The Mendez Award and the City of Hagerstown Fidelity Award will also be given. Filmmaker awards will be presented at the After Party at 28 South, on Saturday March 25th, for Best Feature, Best Short, Best Animation, Best Student, Best Documentary, Best Local Film, and Best Foreign Film.

Past Nora Roberts Foundation Award Winners include:

2022 - Mark Kraham for his work as the longest serving news director in the Maryland television industry. He has worked for WHAG/WDVM for over 40 years, and gives back to the community in numerous ways. He has been a huge supporter of television excellence, and continually mentors broadcast journalists.

2021 - Debbie Donaldson Dorsey for her work as the long-serving Director of the Baltimore Film Office. Dorsey has helped attract several film and television projects to Maryland, including “House of Cards,” “The Wire,” “We Own The City,” and many more. Dorsey continues to proudly sell Maryland’s architecture, culture and welcoming spirit to all filmmakers and promotes the importance of Maryland’s Film Industry to the State of Maryland.

2019 - The Maryland Theatre Board of Directors for its ongoing efforts to plan and advocate for the Urban Improvement Project forward for Hagerstown and Washington County. The Maryland Theatre board was recognized for its commitment with the collaboration of a community-wide coalition of supporters. The multi-million-dollar renovation and expansion project of the Maryland Theatre joined with tremendous expansion of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, and more.

2018 - Shelly Strong, originally from Smithsburg. Strong is the previous VP of Production at DreamWorks Studios (now Amblin Partners) and has served as the Executive Vice President and Head of Production. Her credits include: "Tropic Thunder," "The Help," "I Love You, Man," "Girl on a Train," and the upcoming "The House with a Clock in its Walls." Strong is currently the only woman among heads of physical production at the major studios and is active in mentoring female filmmakers. She holds a position on the steering committee of the Women's Production Society, which is a group of female executives in physical production with the mission to promote the hiring of women in leadership roles in film and television production. Strong is also an advocate for the homeless.

2017 - Eduardo Sanchez, Director, and Maryland resident. In 1997 he started production on the most successful movie (budget to gross) ever, The Blair Witch Project (1999). It was a worldwide hit and has become one of the most spoofed films of all time. Sanchez directs films and television shows throughout the world.

2016 - Scott Gardenhour, feature film producer, and the co-founder and executive producer of the Emmy award-winning commercial production house, The Institute. Washington County-native. Gardenhour's credits include "Pearl Harbor" and "13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi."

The 11th Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown received well over 200 submissions for this year’s festival. The judges announced that more than 100 films were selected. Opening night Thursday March 23rd is taking place at the Historic Maryland Theatre in Downtown Hagerstown. Other venues on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday include the Washington County Free Library, The Grand Piano Ballroom, the new ACT Black Box Theatre, and the University System of Maryland Hagerstown Event Facility.

For more information about the festival, and to purchase tickets see: The non-profit Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown partners with several local organizations, businesses, and individuals. The major sponsors include: the City of Hagerstown, Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Washington County Government (Office of Grant Management), Washington County Arts Council, Nora Roberts Foundation, Gideon Properties LLC, Homewood Suites by Hilton-Hagerstown, Ed Lough and Northwestern Insurance, Bowman Group, University System of Maryland Hagerstown, Bulls and Bears, 28 South, WDVM, and Tom Riford.

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