Annapolis Film Festival welcomes Jennifer Esposito, Edie Falco to Maryland to screen newest flicks

Ƶapp's Jason Fraley previews the Annapolis Film Festival (Part 1)

Get ready for major movie stars to sail right into the Maryland capital next week.

An image from Edie Falco's new film "I'll Be Right There." (Courtesy Annapolis Film Festival)

The returns April 4 through April 7.

“It’s better by the dozen apparently,” co-founder Lee Anderson told Ƶapp.

“But it’s not cheaper by the dozen,” co-founder Patti White joked.

In all seriousness, the festival has become an integral part of the community over the past decade.

“We’ve grown up,” White said. “Our whole community has grown up because they’ve learned how to be a festival town. We’ve learned how to navigate it, they’ve learned all the things about going to a festival … changing their plans, making sure they’re here. Then we’ve been able to grow the festival, we’ve made great relationships with distributors, we’ve brought a lot of filmmakers in, they want to come back, we’re a filmmaker-friendly town.”

The festival kicks off Thursday, April 4, with the Sundance hit “Thelma” starring June Squibb (“Nebraska”).

“She plays a 94-year-old grandmother to Fred Hechinger’s grandson; he’s from ‘White Lotus,'” White said. “She wants to have her own independence and gets caught up in a scam early on in the film where she loses money. … She’s fed up with the fact that nobody can do anything about it, so she takes it upon herself. It is wickedly funny and has a great tone all the way through. … It’s a little ‘Mission: Impossible’ for the (nonagenarian) generation.”

Friday brings “Wildcat,” directed by Ethan Hawke, his latest after the HBO docuseries “The Last Movie Stars.”

“His daughter Maya is in it,” White said. “It’s a Flannery O’Connor piece that is put into three little vignettes. Laura Linney is in it and it’s a really fascinating, artistic film.”

Jennifer Esposito visits Friday, April 5, to screen “Fresh Kills,” which she wrote, directed and starred in.

“This is her directorial debut,” White said. “It’s the story of a mafia family seen through the eyes of the females in the family. She plays the mother and she has two teenage daughters, who are coming of age in their later teen years and they’re coming to terms with the fact that their father is a criminal. Some know, some don’t know. … It’s all the relationships that take place in Staten Island in the ’80s. … It’s a really good independent drama.”

Meantime, “The Sopranos” alum Edie Falco visits Saturday, April 6, to screen “I’ll Be Right There.”

“It’s about a woman who is coming to terms with her life after divorce and children growing into adulthood,” White said. “[She’s] having to look at herself like all she’s ever said to everybody is, ‘I’ll be right there, I’ll take care of you, I’ll fix this, I’ll fix that,’ the way so many women feel and she’s having to deal with what happens next.”

“She’s there for everybody but herself until the end,” Anderson said. “We’re excited to have her here in Annapolis.”

It all culminates Sunday, April 7, with the “Best of Fest” showcase.

“The Best of Fest is of course our four favorite Audience Award-winning films, so the best narrative and doc short and the best narrative and doc feature,” Anderson said.

Ƶapp's Jason Fraley previews the Annapolis Film Festival (Part 2)

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Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at Ƶapp as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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