Dear Maryland Film Festival Supporter:
After nine years as Programming Manager for the Maryland Film Festival, Skizz Cyzyk has decided to step back from his day-to-day duties so that he can devote more time to his other career, filmmaking. He took some extra time off last year to see if he could combine both, but the amount of work here didn’t leave enough time to focus on filmmaking. While Skizz does plan to stay involved in MFF in a smaller capacity, the time has come to devote his primary attention to filmmaking, and his talents and expertise will be missed here.
From the very beginning of Maryland Film Festival, as a volunteer member of our Programming Advisory Board, Skizz brought his personal artistic focus to our mission of celebrating movies in the broadest possible way. The founder of MicroCineFest, a cherished underground film festival in Baltimore that ran from 1997 to 2006, Skizz always had an eye out for movies that were never likely to play in the mainstream but that had special audience appeal. He brought a unique sensibility and great passion to his MFF programming, introducing our audiences to cult favorites such as Guy Maddin, John Paizs (Big Crimewave, Top of the Food Chain), and Cory McAbee (American Astronaut, Stingray Sam), among others. Further, Skizz helped the Maryland Film Festival become a particular advocate for short films, each year coordinating the selections for our signature Opening Night Shorts Program and programming our annual “Shorts in a Tent” program at Artscape.
Along with programming, Skizz handled all things technical — which, in a time of ever-changing digital formats, was a task that demanded imagination, wisdom, and expertise. In addition, Skizz has handled all print trafficking (separate, dedicated staffs do this at other film festivals) and, of course, wrote countless program notes for our festival guide and introduced countless filmmakers at MFF screenings. In addition to all these MFF duties over these nine years, Skizz has also been involved with a number of other film festivals, helping with film selection, jury duty, and projection at, among others, Slamdance, Atlanta, Sidewalk, Bend, and IndieMemphis.
Anyone who has had the pleasure of working alongside Skizz notices his preternatural ability to stay calm in the midst of the most intense chaos. He has always focused on getting things done, solving problems one at a time. He infused everyone who worked with him with the feeling that we would not just get the work done, but also make great things happen.
While doing all this, Skizz also managed to complete a number of music videos and short films, one of which was shot in my office. But now is the time for Skizz to focus on filmmaking. He has several exciting film projects in various stages of completion. And anyone who has seen any of his films — from the outrageous Manager’s Corner, to the poignant Little Castles, to the lyrical music video “You Came to Me” for the duo Beach House – will join all of us here in anticipation of Skizz’s next film. We can’t wait.
Director, Maryland Film Festival