Towne Salute: Cid Collins Walker of the Chesapeake Film Festival
Sep 01, 2016 01:04PM ● Published by Becca Newell
Judging by the passionate way Cid Collins Walker discusses the Chesapeake Film Festival, you’d think she was one of the original founders of the Easton-based event. But, in fact, Walker only joined the board last November.
“There were several board members that came on at that time,” she says. “We now have a great cross section of board members from the past who have a lot of experience with this and then this sort of new energetic group.”
Walker, however, isn’t exactly new to the festival. Last year, her film Arc of Light: A Portrait of Anna Campbell Bliss was shown to a full house at the Avalon Theatre. After its premiere in 2012 at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Arc of Light rolled through the United States’ museum-world before making its small-screen debut on PBS.
“And as a result, I’ve been able to help a number of other filmmakers—kind of showing them the ropes and helping them along the way,” she says.
Now, as CFF’s Director of Programming, Walker has an even bigger opportunity to aide filmmakers by offering them the chance to showcase their work during the weekend-long festival.
“It’s really wonderful to be able to turn around and give back,” she says.
Perhaps an even more important aspect of her role as programming director is the opportunity to affect what people consume. It’s her goal, she adds, to establish a schedule that reflects excellent programming, which she describes as one that will help to build a richer cultural environment while creating economic stimulus as well.
Even with a quick skim over this year’s slate, it’s easy to see Walker is well on her way to achieving those goals. Scheduled to take place over Halloween weekend, the 2016 festival is set to bring almost 40 films to Easton—more than twice the amount of films screened in previous years.
From shorts to features to documentaries, Walker is eager to divulge information about each film and its importance to the festival. One aspect she’s keen to note is the numerous films on the roster that are directed by women, including Runoff, a narrative feature that details a woman’s fight to keep her family farm, and the documentary Breaking through the Clouds, which chronicles the first women’s national air derby in 1929.
“I think one of the great things going on this year is that we have a wonderful variety of films,” she says, adding that a horror block will also make its debut this year.
And if the films aren’t enough to excite movie-goers, the festival weekend boasts a variety of events, including kids’ activities, luncheons, VIP receptions, and even an awards ceremony for CFF’s newly established Lifetime Achievement Award.
In its inaugural year, the award will honor Oscar winner John Avildsen, director of Rocky, Lean on Me, Save the Tiger, and many more. In addition to attending the award ceremony, Avildsen will make several other appearances throughout the weekend, including a free karate workshop, followed by a screening of Karate Kid, at the Talbot County Free Library.
Another impact Walker hopes the festival will have on the community is its ability to provide a forum for discussions between the audience and those involved with a film or its subject matter. One example she cites is The Angel Within, directed by local filmmaker Robert Thayer. The 2011 film deals with teen suicide, Walker says, so following its screening, attendees will have the opportunity to address that issue with psychologists.
“We want the festival to really engage the viewer; inspire the viewer,” she says.
For the programming schedule and other information about the festival, visit chesapeakefilmfestival.com.