It's hard to believe that the 3rd annual Ocean City Film Festival is just over a week away. We've practically been counting down the days since the 2018 festival a whole year ago, and now suddenly there's only 10 days til the 2019 film fest. Is that right? How did that happen? What is time, anyway?
We've been waiting for this weekend for a long time now, and we want everyone to have the absolute best time possible -- whether you're going all-in for the all-access pass, or are mostly just here because there's one specific movie you want to see. Either way, we're here to show you a good time.
Here are a few handy tips on how you can make the most of your 2019 Ocean City Film Festival experience.
1. Choose your ticket based on your needs
As you may know by now, we have three screening-inclusive tickets this year: The one-day pass, the three-day pass, and the all-access pass. You can also purchase tickets to attend a workshop, and purchase tickets for each of our parties. Depending on your needs, you can do the simple all-inclusive ticket for any number of days, or build an a la carte type of menu for yourself; it all depends on how much you're looking to get out of the film fest weekend.
If you opt to get a day pass, rejoice! Last year you could buy a ticket to see just one film, but this year we're making you enjoy an entire day of films -- We're no longer offering tickets to individual screenings. If you really only want to see ONE film, then yes, you'll have to bite the bullet and get a day pass and it'll cost you just a tiny bit more, but our hope is that this will encourage moviegoers to actually see a lot of movies.
Clear your Friday, Saturday, or Sunday in the name of expanding your horizons, eating buckets of popcorn, and seeing a variety of films that you may not have the opportunity to see anywhere else.
We know you'll see something you really, really like.
If you're getting an all access-pass, then you really have no choice but to take advantage of absolutely everything the fantastically jam-packed festival weekend has to offer; that's true for both filmmakers and the general public of movie lovers, too. That includes going to both parties: The opening party at the Princess Royale is a networking opportunity of sorts (if you're in the industry or want to be in the industry and you like to mingle), but it's also just a fun social hour to eat hors d'oeuvres and listen to live, local acoustic acts perform.
Two days later, over on the bayside at Seacrets, the closing party wraps up the weekend with more finger foods, a cash bar, live music from The Swell Fellas, and an awards ceremony, where we'll announce the winners of the Judge's Choice, People's Choice, and Pink Flamingo awards. The former two are self-explanatory, but the Pink Flamingo goes to the film that judges ultimately deem best encapsulates Maryland life.
From experience I can say that our parties are big. This is only our third festival, but we have had to keep moving venues to accommodate the size of the crowds, which is why Seacrets' Morley Hall is an especially fitting (and I mean literally fitting, as in spacious) spot to end the weekend with a bang.
More than the parties, of course, the all-access pass includes a seat in any and all movies that are screened during the festival. You can also get this kind of access with the three-day pass, which excludes the parties but includes all of the screen time. I've done the calculations, and it comes out to about 768 hours of movie watching. Not really, but it is a lot, and you'll certainly get your money's worth if you choose to jump from venue to venue to catch everything you want to see across all your favorite genres. This brings us to the second pro tip:
2. Make a plan ahead of the festival weekend
I'm saying this because knowing what you've got in store is likely to only get you more excited when the festival really rolls around (at least, that's how it works for me). We've made a downloadable PDF of our program available, and you can also see descriptions of all the movies, and even a few IMDb pages, right here.
It's important to note that these screenings don't "sell out." We're lucky that all of our fabulous venues have plenty of seats, and we've yet to have a "standing room only" situation. But just in case -- because we are expecting high attendance this year -- get to your favorite film screenings a little early to guarantee your front-row seat.
Also, while we're on the subject of planning your festival weekend, we do have discounted hotel rates available for moviegoers who might be traveling from out of town. If that sounds like you and you need a place to stay, please don't pay full price! Use the film festival discount at any of these fine locations and make the most out of your Ocean City experience. Save the extra cash for dining out or mini golf. (If you're not really familiar with the region, Ocean City vacation planners can point you in the right direction of all the fun things there are to do around here.)
3. Keep an open mind
It might sound like this one goes against #2, but you should definitely leave room for a little spontaneity. Or, at the very least, plan to attend a block of films or a feature that you wouldn't normally go see at a movie theater. Get out of your comfort zone a little.
Because there are so many filmmakers and even cast members who attend the festival each year, there's a question-and-answer session after most of the screenings, which can really serve to further your understanding of whatever it is you just saw. Talking to the people who created the pieces of art we're playing on the screen is such a great opportunity, even if you don't make films yourself and just want to enjoy them and learn a little more.
Understanding how the movies are made and all the blood, sweat, and tears that go in to them can really alter your perspective on the art form as a whole, which is partly why festivals are such a cool and eye-opening experience. And that's really how you make the most of your personal film festival experience: Keep an open mind, strive to learn something new, and fuel that spark of imagination that lives within each and every one of us.
You can get your tickets to the 2019 Ocean City Film Festival here.