While I've never previously been to a film festival, I've been to plenty of conventions, and if this is the first time Annapolis has attempted a film festival, they've done a very good job. All the venues are fairly close, with free trolley transport that will get you to (or close to) four of the five theater venues. I only attended two venues yesterday: St. Anne's Church and the Bay Theater, both of which did their best to provide the best viewing situation possible, sometimes under some trying conditions. (It's a bit tricky watching a film in a church with morning light pouring through the windows, but it can be done.)
My biggest disappointment was with the sound quality at the Bay Theater. I saw two films there, both with less than desirable sound. I was really straining to hear the dialog at both of the shows I watched there. And since I'm planning on seeing two more films there today, I hope someone has addressed the problem.
I didn't know what to expect from the audiences, either. The first two films I saw had audiences of about 25 or so; the third, close to 100. I was very surprised to find that most of the filmgoers were my age (50+) or older. Of course, some of that depends on the film you're watching. (I don't expect many senior citizens to attend tonight's Saturday Spatterfest.) Plus, this was a Friday during the day and most folks are probably at work.
The other thing that surprised me was that between the showings, almost no one was talking about films. Again, maybe the people that are the most passionate about movies were at work. Yet I left the festival yesterday thinking that for most of the people in attendance, the festival was just something new to do, something maybe a little trendy. I hope I'm wrong. We'll see what kind of audiences we have today.
We have family in town, so I'll probably only see two documentaries today, The End of Time and Oxygen for the Ears: Living Jazz. Tomorrow we'll have the Best of the Fest, a showing of the best in each of these categories, voted on my the filmgoers: