On Thursday, October 3, 2019, the Chesapeake Film Festival kicks off a week-long festival of independent films that celebrate heroes on the screen and behind the scenes.

Starting on Thursday, October 3 at the newly renovated Avalon Theatre, the Chesapeake Film Festival will present The Cold Blue followed by a gourmet reception and ending with The Spy Behind Home Plate.

Aviva Kempner’s 2019 film, The Spy Behind Home Plate tells the real story of Moe Berg, major league baseball player turned spy during WWII. Once again focusing on a little-known Jewish hero, Aviva follows Berg from the streets of Newark to major league baseball to his secret life of spying for the OSS during WWII.

Catherine Wyler, daughter of the legendary director William Wyler, pays tribute to her father and the airmen of WWII in The Cold Blue. The film, directed by Erik Nelson, is constructed from digitally-enhanced footage captured by Wyler and his cameramen on the B-17 bomber, the Memphis Belle, during missions over Germany in 1943. Both filmmakers Catherine Wyler and Aviva Kempner will be on hand to discuss their films with the audience.

On October 4, the festival focuses on the Chesapeake Bay. The evening event starts with a reception at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center and moves to the Avalon. The warm-up act includes two student films: Effects of Rising Water in Annapolis and Chesapeake Bay Report. The main act is a series of new short films about the heroes of the Eastern Shore rivers by Dave Harp and Sandy Cannon-Brown. A panel discussion caps the evening.

Six films are coming to the festival in October directly from the Sundance Film Festival this year that include the magnificent and suspenseful Light from Light directed by Paul Harrill, Bedlam, directed by Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, Sea of Shadows, directed by Richard Ladkani, Apollo 11, directed by Todd Douglas Miller, Tigerland, directed by Ross Kauffman and an important film about the life and work of the late Mike Wallace of 60 minutes.

The environmental focus continues throughout the festival, with a full day of environmental films at Gallery 447 in Cambridge on Sunday, October 6. The lineup includes Tale of the Tongs directed by Judy & Stanley Hallet about an architectural installation on the island of Inishturk in Ireland. Another feature is the thrilling and inspiring action-packed journey that follows filmmaker Rob Stewart as he exposes the massive illegal shark fin industry and the political corruption behind it in Sharkwater: Extinction. The finale of the day is The Human Element, which begins with a visit to Tangier Island where rising tides and erosion threaten the future of this Chesapeake Bay island. Panel discussions enhance all screenings.

We have introduced an important new series in the festival line-up this year called “Festival Favorites”, as we honor returning films that our audiences have loved the most including, Into the Okavango, The Gardener, Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf, Saving Sea Turtles: Preventing Extinction and Wild Ponies of Chincoteague and the wonderful film Swing Away which will close the festival this year.

An entire day of films and events will be dedicated to the issues of Mental Health & Aging with presenting partners of the Oxford Community Center featuring films exploring both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Those film titles include Late Afternoon, Away From Her, Iris and Alive Inside.

The Chesapeake Film Festival is generously supported by the Maryland Film Office, Maryland State Arts Council, Talbot County Arts Council, Talbot County Department of Tourism and Exelon Corporation.