Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown Announces Dates March 21-24 at Five Venues; 12th Festival Returns With Films From Around the World, Student Films Expanded with Partnership of BISFA

March 11, 2024

Media Release

For Immediate Release:

Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown Announces Dates March 21-24 at Five Venues; 12th Festival Returns With Films From Around the World, Student Films Expanded with Partnership of BISFA


(Hagerstown, MD) - The 12th Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown (MDIFF-Hagerstown) will be getting under way on Thursday March 21, 2024. Five venues will be utilized during the four-day event, concluding on Sunday March 24.

Opening night this year will utilize the University System of Maryland-Hagerstown for the opening night VIP Party, and the opening night films will be screened at the University System of Maryland-Hagerstown’s Event Center across from the West Washington Street campus.

According to MDIFF-Hagerstown Board President Nicole Houser, “We had nearly 200 films submitted from around the world. The judges have selected films from 12 countries and 30 states! We have officially selected over 100 films, which will be shown during the festival.”

Houser said, “Some of the films selected were submitted by filmmakers from: Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Taiwan, Spain, Romania, New Zealand, Germany, France.” Houser mentioned that many filmmakers and film-lovers will be attending this year’s festival.

MDIFF-Hagerstown will be screening various kinds of films including short films, documentaries, animated films, feature length films, local films (there are 26 Maryland projects), foreign films, and student films. Houser said, “Awards will be presented in several categories on Saturday night. However, there are some special awards being given out at Thursday’s opening night at the USMH Event Center, including the Fidelity Award, Mendez Award and the Nora Roberts Foundation Award.” (These awards will be announced prior to the festival!) Also, two local nonprofits are being honored, and presented with donations from the film festival.

On Thursday March 21st, 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. Filmmaker awards will be presented on Saturday March 23rd, for Best Feature, Best Short, Best Animation, Best Student, Best Documentary, Best Local Film, and Best Foreign Film.

During the daytime, on March 21st, student films will be screened at the Historic Maryland Theatre in Downtown Hagerstown. Other venues used during the four-day festival include the Washington County Free Library, The Grand Piano Ballroom, the ACT Black Box Theatre, and the University System of Maryland Hagerstown Event Facility. New this year, all films screened at the Washington County Free Library will be FREE for the public.

The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts (BISFA) is working in partnership with the festival. The Photo and Cinema Department at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts was established in 2020. The department is a specialized Career Technology Education program for Washington County students interested in filmmaking and photography. This free, four-year program accepts only 30 students and offers daily classes in photography and cinematography, field trips, and opportunities for recognition in contests and festivals. Students gain both technical skills and artistic development to prepare for professional careers in the field through collaboration and focused projects.

Students interested in applying can contact Barbara Ingram School for the Arts for audition information.

According to Kristen Green, BISFA’s Photo and Cinema Program Lead, “BISFA is excited to offer a Collaborative Filmmaking Elective Class this year, bringing together students from across various departments to learn filmmaking. The Photo and Cinema department will be showcasing their talents with 11 films, while the Collaborative Filmmaking Class will be contributing 5 entries to the Maryland International Film Festival.”

Green also said, “To further foster the spirit of filmmaking among young creators, we've extended an invitation to other high schools to participate. North Hagerstown High School has joined the initiative and will be submitting one film to the festival. Additionally, there will be two animated short films from the Computer Game Development and Animation Program at BISFA.”

For more information about the festival, and to purchase tickets, see:

The Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown partners with several local organizations, businesses, and individuals, and major sponsors include the City of Hagerstown, the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Washington County Government (Office of Grant Management), the Nora Roberts Foundation, Washington County Arts Council, University System of Maryland-Hagerstown, RSK Productions, Northwest Mutual – Ed Lough, and film festival Co-founder Tom Riford.

Houser said that the festival has become a great gathering of independent filmmakers, “Many of the films shown at this festival have gotten picked up for distribution. This includes on Netflix, Amazon, Apple streaming, network television, and also in theaters after the festival. The community gets an opportunity to talk to the filmmakers, ask questions about their process and find out what happens behind the scenes. It is a unique experience that you don’t get when just watching a movie on your own.”

The Maryland International Film Festival - Hagerstown, is organized by filmmakers and marketing executives who understand the power of film and support the talent of the independent filmmaker. The 501c3 organization’s goal is to fill venues in Hagerstown, encourage the development of filmmaker networks including media, distribution and the association with other artists. MDIFF - Hagerstown, believes in the importance of giving back to the community and consistently donates a portion of the proceeds to charities.

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