OC Film Fest: Locals Take Center Stage

The 4th annual festival returns March 5-8 with more than 100 independent films — and showcases original works by industry pros from the Shore

March at the coast is indoor weather and the perfect time to grab some popcorn, pick a seat and enjoy the fourth Annual Ocean City Film Festival, sponsored by the Art League of Ocean City.

After the blockbuster success of the 2019 festival, which screened the award-winning The Biggest Little Farm to a sellout crowd at the OC Performing Arts Center, year four brings in another 100-plus independent films in venues around the resort. Festivalgoers can also attend workshops about filmmaking and parties, where they can mingle with the films’ creators and actors.

This year’s screenings include feature-length films, documentaries, funny films, horror shorts, experimental films, social-commentary films, animated films, feel-good films and youth films — shown at resort venues both large and intimate.

“Having the town of Ocean City behind us, as well as the many local businesses that support us, has turned our little festival into one that is gaining national recognition,” said Rina Thaler, executive director of the Art League. “We have had festivalgoers from as far away as England attend our festival. As our reputation grows, we hope to make this a winter event that will bring locals and visitors together in a fun and creative way.”

The film work of Ocean City native Emmi Shockley will also be celebrated at the 2020 festival by screening two of her short films. Now a New York-based actor and filmmaker, the Worcester Prep grad spent her teenage years acting in small Baltimore film projects, singing in local restaurants and working in her uncle’s Irish pub. At age 15, she starred in Ping Pong Summer alongside Susan Sarandon.

Lewes’ Rob Waters to debut short at festival

W Films’ owner Rob Waters is well known across the Shore for his creative commercial work. He’s come a long way from telling tales in his backyard, where he started making movies at age 10. Waters is now taking his own journey through his films.

His 2020 OC Film Festival entry is Table by the Window: Deipnophobia, in which two childhood friends meet for lunch to introduce their significant others. The lunch takes a strange and tense turn as they are confronted by a boyfriend’s strange behavior.

From Berlin to the Big Screen

Emmi Shockley and her brother Tate Shockley began producing their own short films, mostly filmed in Ocean City, years ago. The siblings collaborated on two shorts, written by and starring Emmi, that will be shown at the OC Film Festival.

Don’t Be A Baby
In Emmi’s celebrated, multi-award-winning short, Billie is having “The Scare.” The big one: the big existential-life-inducing pregnancy scare. She calls her long-distance best friend for support.

Olivia is a young, dissatisfied Ocean City local, who falls for Mac, an Irish J-1 student, while working her summer job at a local crab house. Olivia begins to struggle with her decision to leave everything she has ever known behind and move to Dublin with him.

Check out more of Emmi’s work at EmmiShockley.com.

OC Film Fest Founder B.L. Strang-Moya

n 2017, B.L. Strang-Moya, a recent graduate of Towson University, established a relationship with the Art League and began planning the first-ever Ocean City Film Festival, which has seen unprecedented growth.

“When we began the festival, my goal was to create an outlet for local filmmakers to share their work,” Strang-Moya said. “Film festivals are few and far between in our region, and in establishing ourselves as Ocean City’s official film festival, we have awoken a vast collective of local talent that did not previously have access to a movie screen or networking opportunities. Following the 2019 festival, we were also ranked in the Top 100 Best-Reviewed Festivals on FilmFreeway.”

A filmmaker himself, Strang-Moya, 24, has long believed the festival and its backdrop would serve as an inspiration for others, allow filmmakers to create invaluable networking connections and bring renewed awareness to Ocean City as a filming destination.

Tickets And Packages Now On Sale

Several local hotels are offering special OC Film Festival room packages at off-season rates.
For tickets and more information, visit OCMDFilmFestival.com or call the Art League
at 410-524-9433.