Stars Come Out for Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown

A small town in Western Maryland is quickly becoming a place where filmmakers from around the world want to be seen. The seventh annual Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown officially opens Friday, April 27, and concludes with an award presentation Sunday, April 28, at various locations throughout downtown Hagerstown.

The festival gets its “international” flair from the more than 400 films that were submitted from 13 countries at the festival — from shorts to feature-length — selected to be screened.

MDIFF-H Executive Director Tracie Hovey said, “Each year we raise the bar higher when it comes to the film festival. We have more than 100 filmmakers from around the world coming to our community to screen their films. We are excited about all of films and activities surrounding this year’s festival and looking forward to an exceptional event.”

To encourage the love of movies, a Free Films Friday will be hosted at the The Alice Virginia and David W. Fletcher branch of the Washington County Free Library, where a selection of movies will be shown before the official opening that event.

MDIFF-H officially kicks off with a VIP party on Friday night at The Grand Piano Ballroom, before moving to a red carpet event at The Historic Maryland Theatre to continue the event. Two of the festival’s most prestigious awards will be awarded that evening: the Mendez Award, named after Hagerstown resident Antonio Mendez, whose book “The Master of Disguise” was turned into the Academy Award-winning film, “Argo”; and the Nora Roberts Award, named after New York Times Best Selling romance and mystery author, who also is a Hagerstown-area resident.

This year’s Mendez Award winner is Amir Arison of NBC’s “The Blacklist,” and Shelly Strong, a Hagerstown-area native and a DreamWorks executive, will receive the Nora Roberts Award.

As a precursor to the opening night, two acting classes are being taught Thursday, April 26, by Ann Mahoney and Kerry Cahill, both known for “The Walking Dead.”

For a complete schedule or to purchase tickets, go to

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