The Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown has announced that Maryland Film Office Director Jack Gerbes will be awarded the Nora Roberts Foundation Award

March 11, 2024

The Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown has announced that Maryland Film Office Director Jack Gerbes will be awarded the Nora Roberts Foundation Award

(Hagerstown, MD. March 11, 2024) -- The Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown has announced that Maryland Film Office Director Jack Gerbes will be awarded the Nora Roberts Foundation Award at the opening night of the 12th film festival, being held on March 21st in Hagerstown. The opening night will be held at the University System of Maryland Hagerstown Event Center, on West Washington Street in Hagerstown.

Film Festival Board of Directors President Nicole Houser said, “The Maryland Film Office is one of the hardest working film offices in the nation. As director, Jack has helped attract scores of films and television series to Maryland. Mr. Gerbes is also a true supporter of the arts, of television, and of filmmaking. He is a 40-year resident of Maryland and has brought pride to our state. After more than thirty years at the Maryland Film Office, he is a mainstay, and a film industry leader in our state. 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.”

Jack Gerbes joined the Maryland Film Office as its location and project manager in 1992. He was appointed Director of the Maryland Film Office in 2002. The Film Office is a division of the Maryland Department of Commerce. During his career, Jack has worked on over 140 films, television shows, and television series in Maryland. His credits include: “House of Cards,” “Lady in the Lake,” “Special Ops: Lioness,” “VEEP,” “The Wire,” “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “Wedding Crashers,” “Enemy of the State,” “12 Monkeys,” “The Replacements,” “Step Up,” “Runaway Bride,” “Syriana,” “Live Free or Die Hard,” “Washington Square,” “Home for the Holidays,” “Gods and Generals,” and “The Blair Witch Project.”

Over his career, Jack has worked with many film directors such as Tony Scott, Terry Gilliam, Clint Eastwood, Jodie Foster, Ron Maxwell, Ed Sanchez, and David Fincher. In Maryland, on numerous projects, he has interacted with renowned actors, including John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Michael Kelly, and many more.

In the Baltimore Magazine article naming Jack one of the publication’s Baltimoreans of the Year, “Ladder 49” director Jay Russell said “Jack is the primary reason we shot in Baltimore. His creative plan outdid Boston, Philadelphia, and Toronto.” Director John Waters added, “Jack is the best film commissioner in the industry” He gives producers and directors cinematic immunity. Whatever you want to happen, Jack makes sure it happens.”

While promoting Maryland to the film industry, Jack has attended film festivals worldwide including Sundance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, London Film Festival, AFI Fest, Slamdance Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Festival.

In 2007 Jack was a member of the jury at the Kratkofil Film Festival in Banja Luka, Bosnia. While there, and at the request of the US State Department, he met with the Cultural Minister of Bosnia to discuss the growing of the film industry in that country.

Jack is a regular speaker and panelist at film festivals, industry events, civic organizations, and educational institutions.

In addition to Baltimorean of the Year, Jack was given an Influential Marylander Award by The Daily Record Newspaper and has received the Guardian Angel Award from Women in Film and Video.

Tom Riford, who had been a charter board member of the Maryland Film Industry Coalition, and served as Assistant Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Commerce, said, “Jack Gerbes is respected in the film and television industry across the nation. This award recognizes excellence, and Maryland connections. How appropriate that one of the foremost film office directors in the United States, who lives in Maryland, is accepting this award.”

On Thursday March 21st, 2024, the Red-Carpet opening night begins with a special VIP reception at 5:30pm at the University System of Maryland Hagerstown, 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 on 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 Bulls and Bears, on Saturday March 23rd, 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:

2023 – William H. Macy for his work in film and television, and for coming from Cumberland, Maryland. The well-known, award-winning actor has been in many films including Fargo, Wild Hogs, Sahara, Shameless, and scores of other movie and television projects. He is one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood and gives back to the community.

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 12th 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 21st is taking place at the University System of Maryland Hagerstown Event Center on West Washington Street. Other venues on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday include the Washington County Free Library, The Grand Piano Ballroom, and the ACT Black Box Theatre.

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, Ed Lough and Northwestern Insurance, University System of Maryland Hagerstown, Bulls and Bears, RSK Productions, Inc., and Tom Riford.

Maryland International Film Festival All Rights Reserved