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Historic Baltimore Tour Gets a Following

Baltimore Heritage, a historic preservation nonprofit, says several hundred people have downloaded its new app for touring historic neighborhoods of Baltimore.

Eli Pousson, Baltimore Heritages' field officer, says that he hopes the growth continues as it adds more neighborhoods and features. These include the neighborhoods of Mount Vernon and Franklin Square, neighborhood churches and other sacred landmarks. 

“The idea is to explore historic neighborhoods in a fun and informative way,” Pousson says.

The free app, which can be used on Android devices and iPhones, is available on its newly redesigned webiste or from the app store. 

The app is built on an open source platform developed by Cleveland State University that has already been used to create similar apps in Cleveland, St. Paul, New Orleans and Miami. Baltimore Heritage is using material it already had researched along with new material that was created for the app by students at University of Maryland Baltimore County.
“We don’t intend to commercialize it. That’s not our mission,” Pousson says. Baltimore Heritage works in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The app has historical photographs, short essays and oral histories about different Baltimore City places. Users can select from different options for self-guided tours of neighborhoods like Station North Arts and Entertainment District or Bolton Hill, or for thematic tours, such as a War of 1812 tour.
Source: Eli Pousson, Baltimore Heritage
Writer: Barbara Pash

State Hears Proposals For $113.5 M Consumer Energy Fund

The Maryland Public Service Commission will hear proposals Aug. 7 on where to spend the $113.5 million fund created to benefit Baltimore Gas and Electric customers following its parent company's sale to a Chicago energy company.

By the June 15 deadline, 19 organizations had submitted 100 proposals, among them Baltimore County, Baltimore City and Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., as well as nonprofit organizations like Baltimore Electric Vehicle Initiative, Fuel Fund of Maryland and The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

The proposals for the Customer Investment Fund include energy efficiency projects and support for low-income residents. Maryland's Public Service Commission approved Constellation Energy Group Inc.'s $7.9 billion sale to Exelon Corp. on the condition that it pass on some of the cost savings to customers.

PSC spokeswoman Regina Davis said in an e-mail reply to inquiries about the hearing that it doesn't offer comment on the record for matters that are before the PSC. Davis also says that the PSC has not given a deadline for its final decision. 
Fuel Fund Executive Director Mary Ellen Vanni calls the PSC initiative “unprecedented.” Says Vanni, “This is the first time within Maryland that the PSC has put out a request on how to spend settlement money.” The Fuel Fund has requested almost $20 million for low-income aid.
However, there are several unknowns regarding the PSC hearing. Vanni says the organizations that submitted proposals have not been told if the hearing will go on for more than one day or if the PSC has a timetable to make a decision. Vanni says she does not expect a PSC decision before December 2012, given the number of proposals submitted.
The PSC has not indicated how the money will be allocated, she says. “The PSC can do whatever they want,” says Vanni. “They can decide to give all the money to one or two organizations or divide it among several groups. They can also say to us [the Fuel Fund], ‘You asked for $20 million and we’ll give you $10 million.’”

Paula Carmody, People's Counsel of the Maryland Office of People's Counsel, agrees with Vanni. The PSC set up the fund, asked for proposals from the community "and they can do what they like." She expects the PSC to pick a certain nimber of proposals that they like, then ask that further work be done on them to "firm them up." The Office of People's Counsel has requested $36.3 million for multiple programs, including establishing a model for greater rate affordability for low-income customers that can be used throughout the state.
Aleeza Oshry, manager of the sustainability initiative of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, says that most of the proposals are intended to enhance and/or expand existing programs. 
That is the case with the two separate proposals Associated submitted. One proposal is from Associated itself for $2.7 million to extend its existing Green Loans Fund Program to northwest Baltimore nonprofits for interest-free financing for energy upgrades. The second is from CHAI: Comprehensive Housing Assistance Inc., an Associated agency, for $2 million for its existing residential weatherization program in northwest Baltimore.
“We are the only faith-based organization that has submitted proposals” to the PSC, Oshry says.
Other organizations that submitted proposals, some for multiple-year funding, include:
Abundant Power Solutions, $5 million;
American Council for An Energy-Efficient Economy, $111 million, multi-programs;
Baltimore City, $55 million for its Green & Healthy Housing Initiative;
Baltimore Community Lending;
Baltimore County, $20 million to $50 million, multi-programs;
BGE, $54.7 million, multi-programs including small businesses and schools;
Baltimore Electric Vehicle Initiative, $10 million for an e-vehicle workforce;
Community Assistance Network, $1.7 million;
Energy Associates;
Green Renewable Earth Energy Corp;
Maryland Alliance for Fair Competiion;
Maryland Clean Energy Center, $5 million, seniors and veterans;
Maryland Energy Administration/State of Maryland, $113.5 million, multi-programs;
National Housing Trust; and
Public Technology Institute, $3.8 million, nonprofits and counties.
Sources: Regina Davis, Maryland Public Service Commission; Aleeza Oshry, The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore; Mary Ellen Vanni, Fuel Fund of Maryland, Paula Carmody, Maryland Office of People's Counsel

Writer: Barbara Pash

Feds Recommended Baltimore IT Company For International Work

The US government has recommended that the detection technology of Baltimore's StormCenter Communications be adopted worldwide.
StormCenter CEO says federal agencies have asked the company to expand its collaboration testing to volcanic ash centers around the world. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration representatives for the International Volcanic Ash Task Force recommended the company.

The International Civil Aviation Organization created the task force after the 2010 Icelandic volcano eruption forced airports in Europe to close and disrupted commercial air traffic. The task force is charged with devising a risk management plan to determine safe levels of operation. 
Founded in 2001, StormCenter became a tenant at the UMBC Research & Technology Park three years ago. It has since added three employees and now employs eight. This year, the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development and TEDCO named it the Incubator Company of the Year in the cyber and homeland security categories. 
The company provides real-time collaboration and data-sharing technology to improve situation awareness and decision-making. The company uses multiple data sources – federal, state and local – that have a geographic component.
“You can have 50 to 100 people at one time sharing data and visualization on a virtual globe like Google Earth,” says Jones. The technology can be used “for anything you want to share in real time with people who are separated by distance.”

StormCenter currently receives almost $4 million in funding from different government agencies. Its clients include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency, NASA, the National Weather Service and state emergency agencies in Maryland, Kansas, Missouri and Alaska.
Jones says that he expects to add additional staff within the next year or two, particularly in customer service. “I envision 24/7 situational awareness customer support,” he says.
Source: Dave Jones, StormCenter Communications
Writer: Barbara Pash

State Spends $37M On Upgrades To Benefit The Bay

Maryland is spending more than $37 million on technology improvements to septic systems and wastewater treatment plants around the state, including two plants in Baltimore City. The funding is intended to enhance the plants’ efficiency and create jobs, says Jay Apperson, spokesperson for the Maryland Department of the Environment.
The state’s Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Project has designated 67 major plants for improvement. To date, 25 plants been upgraded, with another 16 plants scheduled to be completed by 2013. The goals of the long-term and ongoing project are to reduce pollution and to improve water quality of the Chesapeake Bay.
Apperson says that water quality-related projects in the current fiscal year account for about 5,000 jobs. Water quality-related refers to wastewater treatment plant and septic system improvements and to drinking water projects.

The latest funding is part of a series of grants from the Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Project.

The current funding goes to the following:
• $13 million to Back River Plant, Baltimore City, which has previously received $20 million from the project and other state sources;
• $3.7 million to Patapsco Plant, Baltimore City, which has previously received about $139 million from the project and other state sources;
• $2 million to New Windsor Plant, Carroll County, to help pay off a previous $3.8 million loan; and,
• $3.7 million to Emmitsburg Plant, Frederick County, in addition to a previous $1.7 million grant.

In addition, $14.8 million has been allocated to counties throughout the state for septic system upgrades.
The Baltimore City plants are two of the largest in the state. Improvements at Back River would reduce nitrogen discharge by 67 percent at Back River and by 83 percent at Patapsco that ultimately goes into the Chesapeake Bay, according to Apperson.
Source: Jay Apperson, Maryland Department of the Environment
Writer: Barbara Pash

Biotech Firm PathSensors Hiring As It Expands Product

Baltimore biotech company PathSensors Inc. is hiring a dozen employees in the next 18 months as the company rolls out a new product.

The 12-person company wants to hire new staff who have a biology background and are familiar with lab practices, PathSensors President Ted Olsen says. He says he is also looking for personnel in quality assurance and shipping.

Last year, the company received $200,000 from the Maryland Biotechnology Center to develop a new product that detects harmful bacteria in food products. The environmental and food testing company is working on a product to detect Campylocacter, a genus of bacteria that can cause intestinal infections in humans. It has already developed a product that can detect and test for Salmonella.

Olsen says the company’s agri-food division will expand its products to the food processing industry, with more tests to identify contamination in pork and beef products, for example. The company’s biosecurity division offers products that detect biological threats such as mail screening for Anthrax. “Major high-profile government buildings use our products on a daily basis,” he says.

“In our market segments of food processing, there is a high level of interest in our technology,” Olsen says. He expects the Campylocactor test to be developed this year and available in 2013.
Campylocacter is most commonly found in poultry and beef products. Salmonella, another type of bacteria, can cause food poisoning in humans and also is found in poultry products.
PathSensors was founded two years ago as an offshoot of Innovative Biosensors, a Rockville company whose focus is clinical diagnostics. Olsen moved PathSensors to the University of Maryland BioPark in Baltimore because of the availability of office and laboratory space and qualified employees who are trained at Baltimore City Community College and the BioTechnical Institute of Maryland.
The company’s products are sold to systems that do the collecting and testing, and the products can deliver results in minutes, versus hours for competitors' tests, says Olsen.
In its three years, the Maryland Biotechnology Center has awarded $4.5 million to Maryland biotech companies. For the 2012 awards, 90 companies applied; seven, including PathSensors, were chosen.
Source: Ted Olsen, PathSensors, Inc.
Writer: Barbara Pash

NASA Awards Sinai Hospital Grant to Study Astronauts' Health

Sinai Hospital of Baltimore is investigating the effects of spaceflight on astronauts, thanks to a $1 million grant from the National Space Biomedical Research Institute and NASA’s Human Research Program. Sinai Hospital received one of 29 grants awarded for a three-year study of astronaut health and performance on future deep space exploration missions.
The major emphasis of the grants is to address the recently identified issue of visual impairment of astronauts during and after space exploration, according to a NASA statement.
Dr. Michael A. Williams, medical director of The Sandra and Malcolm Brain & Spine Institute, will lead the investigation at Sinai Hospital, part of LifeBridge Health, a provider of health services in northwest Baltimore.
"We are one of eight centers working on intercranial pressure and visual impairment. The others are academic centers," Williams says. Williams will collaborate with Dr. Aaron Dentinger of General Electric Co., and Dr. Gary Strangman of Harvard Medical School-Massachusetts General Hospital on the research team looking at smart medical systems and technology.
In his research, Williams will gauge the accuracy of two non-invasive methods of measuring spinal fluid pressure. Neither is currently considered accurate enough to make diagnostic and therapeutic decisions for astronauts in spaceflight.
Beyond its value for spaceflight, Williams says the research applies to civilian life. "The NASA research builds on a program in which we routinely use invasive testing to monitor spinal fluid. For our hospital and patients, if we can demonstrate the validity of non-invasive clinical routine, it will be a boon to the patients who see us." 
Says Williams, "I never imagined that in my career I have would have a role with NASA. It is a great honor."

Source: Dr. Michael A. Williams, Sinai Hospital of Baltimore
Writer: Barbara Pash

Digital Marketing Firm Moving to Bigger Digs in Columbia

Digital marketing firm WebMechanix  is moving from its current headquarters to a larger office next month, and expects to hire additional staff. 

The three-year-old company is leaving a 1,200-square foot townhouse in Ellicott City and moving to a 2,500-square-foot office in Howard County's Columbia, Partner Josh Mechanic says. He runs the company with his brother Chris Mechanic and cousin Arsham Mirshah, who founded the company in 2009; Josh joined a year later.

"We started out at a kitchen table," Mechanic says. Mirshah's father owned the townhouse and Chris and Arsham lived in it until the company began hiring employees and it was turned into the company headquarters in 2010.

 "We've been growing steadily and we have the financial stability to move to larger quarters," Mechanic says. "Our initial focus was on small businesses. But as we got more referrals, we started selling to bigger companies."

Mechanic says he had been looking for awhile for a suitable new home and found a "great deal" on a "great space." The company has a sublease until October 2014 on its new office. In fact, the relatively short sublease was one of its appeals. "We are not locked into a space for three to five years. We're not sure where we will be when the lease is up so this gives us flexibilty to move in the future," he says of a relocation that will cost WebMechanix $35,000 to $40,000.

Mechanic says the company’s sales have doubled every year since its founding, and projects more than $2 million in revenue this year. It has 40 clients for whom it does mobile, web, search, conversion and analytics as well as design development for new websites.
The company is also rolling out a new product, a digital marketing package that improves a company's website performance. It is priced so it's affordable to small businesses, from $800 to $2,250 per month, depending on the amount of work required. He says it usually takes three months to optimize the website, which is typically followed by ongoing marketing.

The company currently has 14 full-time employees plus four to five interns. It is moving into an office that accommodates about 25 full-time employees and within the next few months, is looking to fill a sales position, web developer and search engine optimization specialist and add five more interns.
He says the company constantly gets inquiries from college graduates about jobs. In response, it has a policy of taking on unpaid interns for 90 days, after which time they may be hired if the work is satisfactory.  
Source: Josh Mechanic, WebMechanix
Writer: Barbara Pash

O'Malley Could Lead Trade Mission To Israel and Jordan

Gov. Martin O’Malley may lead a trade mission to Israel and Jordan at the end of this year to encourage trade between Maryland and the Middle Eastern nations.

While in Israel, O’Malley would split his time between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where he would likely meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Minister of Trade and Industry and other officials, according to the Maryland/Israel Development Center (MIDC). He would also tour leading businesses such as Israel Aerospace Industries, whose subsidiary, ELTA North America, opened its American headquarters in Howard County in April. O'Malley could spend three business days each in Israel and in Jordan from Nov. 24 to Dec. 3, MIDC Executive Director Barry Bogage says. 

Gov. O'Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory says the trip is "being considered" and his participation is not yet confirmed.  

The Maryland/Israel Development Center, the Baltimore Jewish Council, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington and the Maryland Department of Economic and Business Development would organize the trip. The first two are both agencies of the Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

MIDC Executive Director Barry Bogage is arranging the agenda and recruiting interested Maryland entrepreneurs and executives who want to join the trip at their own cost. He is working with Israeli government officials and business leaders and with the U.S. Embassy to coordinate the Israeli trip while the Baltimore Jewish Council is working with Jordanian officials for that portion.

In Jordan, O’Malley's home base would be Amman, a two hours’ drive from Jerusalem.

Bogage is also arranging “personalized” business tracks. He is working with the U.S. Department of Commerce to assure that the entrepreneurs and business people who would accompany the governor can meet with their counterparts in their field in Israel.

“We want them to fulfill the goals of their going on the trip,” Bogage says.
Source: Barry Bogage, Maryland/Israel Development Center
Writer: Barbara Pash

IT Consulting Firm SITEC Moves Out of UMBC Incubator

IT firm SITEC Consulting relocated from the cybersecurity incubator at [email protected] Research & Technology Park to an office in Anne Arundel County last month.

The minority-owned company moved to Annapolis Junction, a business park, because of its proximity to customers at Fort Meade.
SITEC Consulting was founded in 2007 and was acquired in February of 2012 by Kevin Coby, who is president. Since then, he has made changes in management and location "to better serve our customers,” according to Lubna Sher, SITEC’s chief of staff.
SITEC Consulting is a business process automation consulting and IT firm for both federal and commercial markets.
Since its founding, SITEC Consulting has had a corporate office in Cambridge, a federally Historically Underutilized Business Zone, aka HUBZone, an incentive for federal contractors. Last year, it joined the UMBC incubator and has since grown its staff from 26 to 31, Sher says.
Sher says the company is maintaining its Cambridge office, and the two offices will share the staff. She says the company is in a “growth mode” and is looking to increase the number of employees as work progresses. Sher says additional staff would be in IT-related fields like software engineering, visualization, engineering services, and business analytics and support, its core competencies.
Source: Lubna Sher, SITEC Consulting
Writer: Barbara Pash

National Premium Beer Seeks New Markets

National Brewing Company is expanding production and moving into new markets for its craft beer National Premium after reviving the legendary Baltimore brand last year. 

Eastern Shore real estate agent Tim Miller founded the Easton company last year after buying the rights to the name and locating the recipe for the original beer. After going through several test batches, the beer went on sale in Maryland during Memorial Day weekend.
The company currently sells 2,000 cases per month in 500 liquor stores and bars in Maryland, says Miller, who is National Brewing's president. Miller's goal is to increase sales to 100,000 cases per year by the end of 2014 and to expand into restaurants as well. Next month, the beer is being introduced in Washington, D.C.
National Brewing Company has contracted with Coastal Brewery in Delaware to make the beer to its specifications. Coastal bottles and packages the beer for distribution. Because it does not have its own facility that requires investing in brewing space, equipment and warehouse that would be required, the company was privately financed for under $100,000, says Miller.
Matt Oczkowski, communications director of the four-person staff, says the company currently sells out its production. 
The company has a permit to sell beer in D.C. and is applying for permits to sell its product in Virginia, which it expects to obtain within the next three to five months, and in Delaware, within the next 12 to 15 months.
Oczkowski says the company intends to open its own brewery someday, possibly in Easton, although he did not have a timeframe for doing so. It also intends to broaden the variety of beer it makes beyond its current European-style pilsner.
“There is a boom in the craft beer industry. As fast as we are brewing it, we are selling out,” he says.
Sources: Tim Miller, Matt Oczkowski, National Brewing Company
Writer: Barbara Pash

Minorities Sought For Careers In Environment, Marine Science

The Living Marine Resources Cooperative Science Center  is recruiting minority students for careers in marine and environmental science. Scholarships are available for college graduate students this fall for the 2012-2013 school year. In addition, applications for paid internships for high school and college students are available beginning in January.
A consortium of college and universities are involved in the program. The University of Maryland Eastern Shore leads the consortium, which partners with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency on the recruitment program.
“We are the pipeline to the program,” says Rose Jagus, associate professor at the Institute of Marine and Enviromental Technology (IMET) at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in downtown Baltimore. Jagus is also director of IMET's marine resources center.
The mariner resource center's paid summer internships are 10-week-long projects for recent high school and college graduates. The focus is on fisheries, from habitat to aquaculture. The number of interns depends on funding. This summer, there were eight interns, some of whom are engaged in testing the water at the Inner Harbor.

Faculty members oversee interns’ research projects from June to August. Internships are eligible for college credit and applications can be accessed online. There is also one master’s degree student and four doctoral students who are receiving scholarships and stipends. Of these students, four are enrolled in the University System of Maryland although there are other university options.
The recruitment program began about 10 years ago, and is intended for African-American, Hispanic and Native American students. Funding is awarded competitively every five years. The institute's marine center's currently gets $2.7 million per year. Since the minority recruitment program began, three doctorates and four master’s degrees have been awarded and more than 100 paid internships have been funded.
Source: Rose Jagus, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Writer: Barbara Pash

Tactical Network Solutions Adding Staff

Tactical Network Solutions, a cyber intelligence company in Columbia, recently added three people to its staff of 12, and will hire at least four employees over the next year.

John Harmon, a partner with Terry Dunlap, says the firm is in a “growth stage,” constantly bidding on contracts and looking for experts in low-level coding languages, embedded software engineers, web engineers and vulnerability researchers.
Founded in 2007 by a group of ex-National Security Agency (NSA) staffers and NSA contractors, the firm focuses on cyber intelligence, specifically services and training, product development and R&D. Tactical Network Solutions aims to provide quick-response solutions to technical challenges. Last year, it published an open source version of its proprietary software.
Harmon says Tactical Network Solutions has contracts with NSA, Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. He could not discuss details of the classified contracts. The privately-owned, self-financed firm does $4 to $5 million in annual sales. Besides government contracts, he says the firm is pursuing contracts in the law enforcement community.
Last year, the firm graduated from the Howard Technology Council incubator program and moved into a business park in Columbia. This year, it won the Howard County Technology Council’s award for New/Emerging Company of the Year.
“This is an exciting time for cybersecurity in general,” he says, pointing to the relocation of the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Army Cyber Command to Fort Meade within the past year.
Harmon says that a “cyber corridor” of companies in that field is developing along Rt. I-95 from Columbia to the outskirts of Washington, D.C. “We’re right in the middle of it,” he says.
Source: John Harmon, Tactical Network Solutions
Writer: Barbara Pash

Green Energy Firm Hiring 12

GreeNEWit, an energy efficiency and implementation company, expects to hire at least a dozen employees within the year. It is looking for retrofit service providers, engineers and software developers, says Co-founder Jason Jannati.
The company is also working on a new product that it expects to roll out next year. The product is a proprietary software program to measure and assess energy efficiency measures that was originally developed for internal company use.
Jannati co-founded the company in 2008 with Josh Notes and Matej Harangozo, who were all classmates at Oakland Mills High School, in Columbia, where greeNEWit has its office. The company is a member of the Howard Technology Council but is not a tenant in its incubator. GreeNEWit won the council’s annual technology award for 2012 Green Company of the Year.
The company now employs 35 people and expects to have $4 million to $7 million in sales for FY 2012. It subcontracts with utilities BGE and Pepco to evaluate and install energy-efficient measures in individual residences, multi-family units and businesses. Jannati says greeNEWit is the leader in multi-family properties, having seen over 15,000 apartment units in under a year, from August 2011 to July 2012.
The company also works with property managers and property owners on an apartment complex’s common areas like pools and parking lots, focusing on storm water run-off and rain water capture.
Depending on the situation it encounters, Jannati says the company may do something as simple as installing energy-efficient light bulbs and timers so power is off when not needed to replacing heating and ventilation systems.
He mentions that the state of Maryland recently announced Empower Maryland, a program whose goal is to cut energy consumption by 15 percent by 2015. “It’s all about building sustainable communities,” he says.
Source: Jason Jannati, greeNEWit
Writer: Barbara Pash

Chesapeake Regional Tech Council Relocates

The Chesapeake Regional Tech Council relocated its headquarters this month to a commercial building that it says will help it better reach its members.

The council left its space in the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp., a county agency, to 839 Bestgate Road in Annapolis.
Chris Valerio, the council’s executive director, says the move was made to better reflect the council’s growing, regional membership and the fact that it is an independent agency and not a government entity. The council’s new office is located in one of its recent members, Annapolis Offices at Bestgate, a flex-office facility. Flex space is a former industrial building that has been converted to office space. 
The council has been situated in the county economic development office, a long-time sponsor, because it provided in-kind space and office help. “We have an independent board but there was confusion. People assumed we were a government entity,” Valerio says. “We are proud of that independent, entrepreneurial spirit.”
The council was founded in 1992 as the Anne Arundel High Technology Council. In 2008, the name was changed to Chesapeake Regional Tech Council because, at the time, 40 percent of its members were from outside Anne Arundel County.
Since then, half of its 280-company members are in Anne Arundel County or do business in the county, typically at the U.S. Army’s Fort Meade, and the other half are located in Baltimore County and City, Howard County, the Washington, D.C., area and the Eastern Shore.
Valerio, who runs the council with two full-time employees, says the move also allows her more mobility in meeting with member companies. They range from startups to large, established businesses. Most are in information technology rather than biotechnology, but members also include service providers like law firms and accountants. In the IT field, many are government contractors but there are also commercial firms.
Source: Chris Valerio, Chesapeake Regional Tech Council
Writer: Barbara Pash

Filmmakers Wanted for Movie Contest

The 29 Days Later Film Project is accepting entries through Wed. July 11 for its Baltimore-based filmmakers' competition. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners, whose films will be screened on August 21 and 22 at the Creative Alliance. The screenings are open to the public for this fourth annual event.

Anyone can enter, amateur or professional. The fee is $75 per team. Dean Storm, who cofounded the project with Dawn Campbell, says 27 teams, ranging from one person to a dozen people, have entered to date. Teams are mostly from Maryland, and especially Baltimore, but a few are from Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

The kickoff for the project will be held July 11 at the Creative Alliance in Patterson Park. The teams then have 29 days, to August 9, to shoot and edit a four-to-eight-minute-long film on any topic of their choice. The one proviso is that they use a prop that will be given out at the kickoff event. Storm says that even he does not know what the prop is until that night. Everyone gets the same prop that, in past years, have included a pinwheel and a kitchen timer.

The films can be dramas, comedies, documenaries or animation. A panel of three judges will decide the winners. The winner of each day's screening will receive $150. There is also a grand prize of $500. Filmmakers retain the rights to their films.

Source: Dean Storm, 29 Days Later Film Project
Writer: Barbara Pash

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