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Lights, Camera, Ocean City: John Waters Returns as Headliner for 8th Annual Ocean City Film Festival

The countdown begins for the much-anticipated 8th Annual Ocean City Film Festival, proudly presented by the Art League of Ocean City. With excitement building, legendary filmmaker John Waters is set to return as the headliner for the festival, which is scheduled to take place from Mar. 7-10, 2024, showcasing a diverse selection of 100 independent films from around the world.

Waters, known for his iconic contributions to cinema, will grace the Ocean City Performing Arts Center stage with a live performance on Saturday, Mar. 9, at 8 p.m. This follows his sold-out stand-up show at Ocean Downs Casino in 2023. The move to the larger venue allows for increased seating and accessibility, promising an unforgettable experience for attendees.

The highlight of Waters’ appearance will be a screening of his classic film “Hairspray,” accompanied by his distinctive and entertaining commentary. Sharing behind-the-scenes stories from the making of the film in Baltimore during the 1970s, Waters will delve into the true events that inspired this cinematic gem. General admission tickets are available, with a limited number of VIP tickets offering a special meet-and-greet opportunity with Waters after the show on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Expressing his enthusiasm, Waters stated, “Like a sneaker wave dancing on an unwanted wind turbine, I can’t wait to get back to Ocean City to infect the winter community with musical mayhem and cinematic turbulence. We’re off-season! We’re off our rocker! We’re the Ocean City Film Festival.”

Rina Thaler, Executive Director of the festival and the Art League, shared her excitement about Waters’ return, saying, “We are honored to welcome back the legendary filmmaker, John Waters, as the headliner for the 2024 OC Film Fest. The entire festival is a great opportunity for film lovers to watch never-before-seen films, including locally-created movies, and mingle with the filmmakers and film crews.”

Organized by the nonprofit Art League of Ocean City, the Film Festival enjoys broad support from the Town of Ocean City, The State of Maryland Film Office, and the local community. Festival Director B.L. Strang-Moya, a Towson University alumnus, leads the efforts to bring this cinematic celebration to life.

The 8th year of the festival brings film screenings to iconic Ocean City venues, including Flagship Cinemas in West OC, Morley Hall at Seacrets, Princess Royale Oceanfront, Ashore Resort Hotel, and the Performing Arts Center. Featuring a mix of local and international films from countries such as Canada, Portugal, Iran, Turkey, France, and Germany, this year’s festival covers various genres and themes.

Short films are curated into thematic showcases, offering attendees the flexibility to tailor their experience. From “Listening Experience” and “Chuckles, Chortles, Snickers & Snorts” to “Environmental & Aquatic” and “Horror, Sci-Fi & the Weird,” there’s something for every film enthusiast. Additionally, nine feature-length films, including award-winning “American Meltdown” and the documentary “Get on the Bus,” add depth to the festival lineup.

For those eager to dive into the cinematic journey, passes are available for one day or four days of films and parties. Individual tickets for John Waters’ performance can also be purchased separately.

Festival-goers can take advantage of special off-season hotel rates offered by Ocean City resorts, with oceanfront rooms starting at $89 per night. B.L. Strang-Moya emphasized the affordability of traveling to Ocean City this time of year, stating, “These are waterfront rooms in major hotels that are booked solid in the summer season.”

It’s important to note that the films presented at the festival have not been rated, and some may feature adult content, so viewer discretion is advised. Comprehensive information about the festival, including film lists, parties, Q&As, and events, can be found at OCMdFilmFestival.com or by calling 410-524-9433.

The Art League of Ocean City, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the visual arts to the community through education, exhibits, scholarships, programs, and community art projects, invites all film enthusiasts and curious minds to join them for a cinematic extravaganza at the 8th Annual Ocean City Film Festival.

Ann has been with StateVentures since 1999. She moved from Annapolis to Berlin, MD to be closer to Ocean City. She splits her work week between the two locations to help clients and visitors get the best information and value out of our sites. She loves a camera and any excuse to use it.  Her kids are both grown and off adventuring.  Ann loves to travel with her kids and lives with her dog Marley when she's not in Virginia fishing.

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