The Hybrid 2021 Chesapeake Film Festival Draws Crowds and Dollars

Easton, MD – The 2021 Chesapeake Film Festival (CFF) surpassed expectations for an event in the time of CoVid, with an overflow-crowd at a VIP reception, hundreds attending the live festival Oct. 1 and 2, and several thousand watching at home during the virtual festival, Oct. 3 through 10.

CFF did not host a live event in 2020 because of CoVid.  But, with a mandatory proof-of vaccination requirement, audiences returned this year to the Avalon Theatre for the excitement of watching films on the silver screen, discussing the films with the filmmakers, and enjoying the camaraderie of film lovers.  

The Festival kicked off Friday night with a VIP reception honoring more than 150 sponsors and major donors on a perfect fall afternoon at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center in Easton. The reception included a drawing for a solar generator donated by Enel Green Power, sponsor of this year’s environmental programming.

About 325 people attended the Friday night screenings, led by the premiere and panel discussion of Water’s Way: Thinking Like a Watershed by local filmmakers Tom Horton, Dave Harp and Sandy Cannon-Brown.

On Saturday, 225 people turned out for the narrative features, sponsored by Bluepoint Hospitality. First up was Tyndall Typewriters, by Ted Adams III, starring his son Ted Adams IV.  The younger Adams won the CFF award for best actor. The screening was preceded by a well-attended event at the Academy Art Museum featuring a hands-on experience with vintage typewriters.

“The turnout was astounding.  With CoVid still a concern, we didn’t know what to expect. The great response confirms that the Chesapeake Film Festival has become a much-anticipated annual event for the community,” said Festival Director Cid Collins Walker.

While delighted to be back live, the success of the 2020 all-virtual festival convinced CFF to continue offering dozens of films for home-viewing.  This year approximately 6,400 viewers watched more than 50 films at home – for free.

“The hybrid festival seems the way to go from now on,” Collins Walker continued. “But we do want to have many more filmmakers here in person for the live festival next year.”

The Festival was pleased that films by four of its board members – Monda Raquel Webb, Harold Jackson, Cannon-Brown and Adams – were among the most viewed films in the virtual festival.  Other filmmakers represented in the virtual festival came from Los Angeles, New York, Boston and many other locations to experience CFF and explore the Eastern Shore. 

Once a best-kept secret, the Chesapeake Film Festival is now a sought-after event by filmmakers as well as film-lovers.  About 300 films were submitted to the 2021 Festival.

The most-viewed film in the virtual festival was Sky So Blue, a stunning tribute to the victims of the attacks of September 9, 2011.  True North: Sailing to Salvation, a documentary short about war veterans who find healing, connection and a sense of belonging on the Chesapeake Bay was second. Two narrative shorts by Webb, Pooch Sitter and Zoo, ranked in the top ten.

“The size of the audience is only one measure of success,” stated Nancy Tabor, Executive Director. “Support from donors and sponsors is another measure and we are pleased to report that contributions from our donors and sponsors was at a record high in 2021.”

Sponsors of CFF 2021 include Shared Earth Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Prager on behalf of Bluepoint Hospitality, Enel Green Power, The Nature Conservancy, Maryland State Arts Council, Talbot Arts, Artistic Insights Fund, Richard and Beverly Tilghman, U.S. Small Business Administration, Maryland Humanities and the Ravenal Foundation.

To see a list of the 2021 awardees, listen to interviews with filmmakers, and learn about CFF events throughout the year, please go to