2017 Annapolis Film Festival

The 5th Annual Annapolis Film Festival returned to downtown Annapolis March 30 – April 2, featuring domestic and international documentary features and shorts, narrative features and shorts, student films, and full-length feature films.

Opening Night Feature

, A drama chronicling the life and times of the legendary and controversial Texan who would inherit the Presidency at one of the most fraught moments in American history, will be the Annapolis Film Festival’s Opening Night film Thursday, March 30. LBJ is directed by Rob Reiner and stars Woody Harrelson as LBJ. The multi-faceted film industry icon Rob Reiner, who directed AFF Opening Night Film LBJ, and his wife Michele Singer Reiner, are expected to attend AFF’s Opening Night, along with actor Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice, Fargo), who plays President John F. Kennedy in the film.

Signature AFF programs include the Friday night African-American Experience Showcase, Chasing Trane, a Denzel Washington-narrated documentary about the origins and worldwide impact of jazz titan John Coltrane. This year’s Environmental Showcase presents the documentary.

The Islands and the Whales
, directed by Mike Day and featuring pioneering ambisonic sound design by George Lucas’ Skywalker Sound. Other film topics include our Jewish Experience showcase, sailing, the military, politics, food, the LGBTQ community, global issues, current events, and the fine arts. 

An array of Shakespeare-inspired short film programs features titles such as All the World’s A Stage and Farewell, Fair Cruelty. There is also a Local Focus showcase of locally-produced short films and a program of top-tier student films. The Juried Shorts competition returns to the weekend lineup.

Here are some of the full-length features and documentaries in the 2017 film line-up are:

Narrative Features:

  • Burn Your Maps, directed by Jordan Roberts, shows the emotional turmoil experienced by an all-American family when their eccentric eight year old insists he is a goat herder from Mongolia. 
  • Interlude: City of a Dead Woman, directed by Angela Ismailos, a USA/France/Greece co-production. Set on the Greek Island of Patmos, this is a story of three travelers’ heartbreak and loss. 
  • Lilly and the Magic Pearl, directed by Anri Koulev. This Bulgarian family-friendly film tells of Lilly’s adventure under the water with the deep sea creatures. A tale of friendship and hope. 
  • One Week and A Day, directed by Asaph Polonsky, from Israel. A modern, Jewish comedy about two grieving parents and how they attempt to regain a sense of control after loss.
  • The Tiger Hunter, directed by Lena Khan. A broad comedy about a young, Indian man who relocates to swinging 70's Chicago. Stars Danny Pudi from Community and Jon Heder from Napoleon Dynamite.  


  • Before the West Coast, directed by Oyd Craddock. Follows the 1960's ruling that integrated all-black Augustine High School into Louisiana’s all-white Catholic high school sports assocation.
  • Bezness as Usual, directed by Alex Pitstra, a Netherlands/Germany/Sweden/Switzerland/Tunisia co-production. This broad appeal film shows unconventional families and a global perspective on cultural misunderstandings and failed expectations. 
  • Breaking Point: the War for Democracy in Ukraine, directed by Mark Jonathan Harris and Oles Sanin. A harrowing examination of the Ukrainian lives violently disrupted by Putin's annexation of Crimea in 2014. 
  • Check It, directed by Toby Oppenheimer and Dana Flor. This film, set in Washington, DC, shows the first gang of gay and transgender youth led by an ex-convict, Mo, who band together to fight other gangs and, unexpectedly, create a fashion line.   
  • Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table, directed by Leslie Iwerks. The story of the doyenne of Creole cuisine and the force behind New Orleans’ restaurants, Brennan’s and Commander’s Palace.   
  • Following Seas, directed by Tyler J. Kelley and Araby Williams, tells the tale of two sailors who steer their 53 foot cutter to places no small boat has been before.     
  • Jackson, directed by Maisie Crow. Jackson, Mississippi has become ground zero in the nation’s battle over reproductive healthcare. The film tells the story of two women with very different viewpoints.

If this is your first Film festival in Annapolis, check out our “How To Fest” article for suggestions and planning tips before heading to make the most out of your festival experience.