Women Make an Impact in the 2022 Chesapeake Film Festival

Women of Impact is the dominant theme of the 2022 Chesapeake Film Festival in honor of women who make films and women about whom films are made.  The CFF hybrid festival is LIVE September 30 through October 2 in Easton, MD, and VIRTUAL October 3 through 9 for FREE for audiences around the world.

“Women have been making great films since the advent of the movie camera in the late 1800s. We proudly include their achievements, past and present, in our 2022 Festival,” said CFF Festival Director Cid Collins Walker.

The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache, by filmmaker Pamela Green (6:30 p.m. Saturday, October 1 at the Avalon Theatre) tells the story of the first female director.  From 1896 to 1906, Guy- Blaché, was likely the only female filmmaker in the world.

 “I was first moved to begin production on this film,” Green said in an interview in Women in Hollywood, “as I was watching AMC and discovered a show called ‘Reel Models’ about pioneering women in cinema, including Alice Guy-Blaché, and I was surprised that I had never heard of her. I asked several people and I realized that they too had never heard of her. I just kept asking, ‘How could such an important figure in the birth of cinema be unknown?’ It became clear I had to tell her story.”

Until The Untold Story, Green specialized in title sequences for films, creating more than 100 title sequences for major Hollywood Studios. Inspired by the Guy- Blaché, story, she continues to focus on telling inspiring stories that bring overlooked figures to the forefront via film, television and audio.

The Chesapeake Film Festival, now in its 15th year, prioritizes films that focus on the environment and social justice. This year, films that address those issues are the heart of the LIVE Festival and prevalent in the VIRTUAL Festival. Many of them were produced and directed by women.

A documentary short co-directed by CFF VP Sandy Cannon-Brown and photographer Dave Harp launches the 2022 LIVE Festival.  Search for the Cooper River (6:30 p.m. Friday, September 30 at the Avalon Theatre) follows area youth as they kayak, hike, and hack their way through overgrowth along the neglected Cooper River that runs through Camden, NJ.

Cannon-Brown’s award-winning work as an environmental filmmaker has taken her around the world, but most of her recent work focuses on issues facing the Chesapeake Bay.  Films by Cannon-Brown, Harp, and writer Tom Horton address climate change, erosion, rising seas, shellfish management, and struggling communities including Smith Island and San Domingo, MD. Cannon-Brown and Harp also collaborated on A Voice for the Rivers, about the riverkeepers of ShoreRivers. All these films were featured in the Chesapeake Film Festival, aired on MPT and other PBS stations, and screened at discussed at multiple festivals, including the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital.

The second film of the LIVE Festival, Upstream/DownRiver(7:00 p.m., Friday, September 30 at the Avalon Theatre) was produced and directed by Maggie Burnette Stogner, a professor and executive director for the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University.  The film recognizes the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act with a discouraging assessment of progress. Nearly half of U.S. Streams, rivers and lakes are so polluted that they are no longer safe for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life.

Burnette Stogner produced, directed and wrote numerous documentaries for National Geographic, where she was senior producer of the award-winning series EXPLORER. In 2005, she launched the independent media company Blue Bear Films. She has created numerous documentaries and outreach campaigns that inspire and inform, including In the Executioner’s Shadow, which was screened and discussed at CFF 2018, and Unbreathable – the Fight for Healthy Air, which was awarded Best Environmental Feature in CFF’s VIRTUAL Festival in 2020.

A film from France is one of the most stunning environmental films in the VIRTUAL Festival. Mediterranean: Life Under Siege, co-directed by Fabienne Berthaud and Fred Fougea, reveals the wonders of an astonishingly rich yet very fragile living world. At sea, on land and in the air, it is a fascinating journey through the world of animals and plants that survive in the Mediterranean despite the growing impact of human activity. 

Co-director Berthaud is a French writer, actress, screenwriter and director, winner of the Prix Françoise-Sagan. In 2005, she directed her first feature film with Diane Kruger. In 2010, she directed Pieds nus sur les limaces, based on her own novel. In 2019, she directed Un monde Plus Grand, a feature film about Mongolian shamanism.

Before the current war in Ukraine, Russia was conducting bizarre irrigation experiments in Southern Ukraine that devastated farming and fishing.  Return Sasyk to the Sea, by Andrea Odeznyska, reveals this eco-disaster.

Regardless of genre, Odeznska’s films have celebrated ordinary women doing something hard and succeeding. In 2018-2019, she won a U.S. Fulbright Scholar grant to research and film Return Sasyk To The Sea. Past grants include NEA The National Endowment for the Arts, NYSCA The New York State Council on the Arts, and the Robert Wise Foundation. In 2016, Odeznska wrote a feature-length narrative comedy, Greenpoint.  She holds an MFA in Directing from AFI, and a BA in Theater from Bennington College, Bennington, VT.

Among the films addressing social issues in the 2022 Chesapeake Film Festival is Resisterhood (VIRTUAL Festival, October 3-9), by Cheryl Jacobs (CJ) Crim. Beginning at the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, DC, the film follows six diverse Americans as they fight for social justice on the streets and in the halls of power.  Over the course of two years, we watch as they work to protect our rights and inspire others to join this peaceful and historic movement. Resisterhood was produced, directed, filmed, and edited by women.

Resisterhood is her first feature film, but Crim has been producing, directing and editing award-winning specials for more than 30 years. She produced for WCPO-TV in Cincinnati and New Jersey Public Television. She directed the first national series dedicated to women’s sports for ESPN. While living in Liverpool, England, she produced throughout Europe. Now in Maryland, her passion is creating films that make a difference. Her many awards include 12 Regional Emmy Awards for outstanding documentary and entertainment programs, including two awards for individual achievement in directing and editing.

For more information about the 2022 Hybrid Chesapeake Film Festival visit chesapeakefilmfestival.com or contact Nancy Tabor, Executive Director at 443-955-9144.