Annapolis Film Festival starts today

When thinking of Maryland's capital, one usually thinks of sail boats, crabs, and the Naval Academy. However, there is a growing art scene in Annapolis, starting with its film festival which starts today. On its fourth year, the Annapolis Film Festival, according to its vision statement, aims to "establish Annapolis as a center for filmmakers to showcase different global perspectives and independent thought to a variety of audiences through their work." The festival stretches across Downtown Annapolis and boasts an impressive list of films, panels, and special guests.

One of the big events happens tonight at 7 p.m. with the screening of Hugh Grant's newest film, "The Rewrite." This film follows Grant's character, Keith Michaels, a failed screenwriter who takes a job as a guest screenwriting professor, but begins to get too invested in his students' lives. This comedy boasts an impressive cast, with Marisa Tomei, Allison Janney, and J.K. Simmons. Unfortunately. Grant will not be attending the screening, but it should still be a fun way to open the festival.

This year's special guest is Rory Culkin, brother of Macaulay Culkin but more importantly, star of the film, "Gabriel," which screens both Saturday and Sunday. Culkin plays Gabriel, a troubled young man who thinks that searching for this first love will solve all of his problems and make things right. This film may not be for everyone, but reviews suggest this is a break-out role for Culkin. Saturday's screening will be followed by a Q&A with Culkin and director Lou Howe.

Make sure to check out this year's panels, especially the Film Fatales Presents: Female Vision. This panel is solely about the women filmmakers of this year's festivals. Each woman will give their own perspectives and tell their own stories behind their films and what it takes to create them. The panel will take place on Saturday from 10 - 11:30 a.m. at St. John's College.

The festival opens today and closes on Sunday. For a full list of films and ticketing information, head to the Annapolis Film Festival web site.