ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The rain may have stopped the red carpet from rolling out, but it didn't keep the people from coming out to the opening night of the Annapolis Film Festival at Maryland Hall.
"I'm really excited. This is the greatest thing that happens in Annapolis," said festival goer Martha Blacksaw.
Four days, over 70 films.
"I think it brings diversity. I think it brings people's stories together," said festival goer Zenobia Decoteau.
Co-founders Patti White and Lee Anderson started the festival seven years ago to enrich the city's culture and bring people together.
"When we started going to film festivals, we realized we were going to a lot in small, interesting destination towns and we said nothing is as good as our town. Annapolis has it all," said White.
They say there are a lot of highlights this year.
"We have a sailing showcase. We have military films and we have a student showcase that's free to the public on Sunday," Anderson said.
They are also featuring some local talent.
"We have an area of programming called 'Local Focus' and that means the film either has a tie to Annapolis, like the filmmaker or the director or the actor are from Annapolis, or maybe the film was shot in Annapolis and we have a film this year that's all of those things and it's premiering. We are very excited. It's called 'Fishbowl'," said Anderson.
'Fishbowl' is screening Sunday at 12:45 at Maryland Hall. There's also a short film 'Tadpole' that was directed by Baltimore filmmaker Jovan James and that precedes the film 'Solace' at 2:45 at St. John's College.
Thursday night kicked off with a screening over Emilio Estevez' new film 'The Public,' which hasn't been released in theaters yet. But something else made Thursday night special too.
"We're kind of doing something different tonight. We are having a community night," said White.
They are using the festival as part of the healing process after the Capital Gazette shooting last summer.
"Really paying tribute to the people at the Capital Gazette that are working hard to protect our freedoms, the freedom of press, and those who lost their lives," said White.
"I love that they have thought about that in this time because it was just the other day. It's less than a year since the tragedy and I think that we can't ever forget what happened," said Mayor Gavin Buckley.
The overall theme is truth and storytelling. They intentionally pick films focused on finding the truth and also want to honor filmmakers as storytellers too.
"Without storytellers, we don't have communities," said White.
The festival runs through Sunday and they plan to have their red carpet event rain date tomorrow evening.