Keynote Speaker/Opening General Session

  • Bookmark and Share

Sunday, July 15 / 9-10:15 a.m.
Baltimore Convention Center

Keynote Speaker: John Waters

film director, screenwriter, author, actor, stand-up comedian, journalist, and Baltimore native

John Waters has written and directed sixteen movies including Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Hairspray, Cry Baby, Serial Mom, and A Dirty Shame. He is a photographer whose work has been shown in galleries all over the world and the author of eight books: Shock Value, Crackpot, Pink Flamingos and Other Trash, Hairspray, Female Trouble and Multiple Maniacs, Art: A Sex Book (co-written with Bruce Hainley), Role Models, and Carsick. The gift book, Make Trouble, published by Algonquin Books, features the text, with illustrations, of Waters' commencement speech delivered at the 2015 Rhode Island School of Design graduation ceremony.

Waters is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Additionally, he is a past member of the boards of The Andy Warhol Foundation and Printed Matter, a former member of the Wexner Center International Arts Advisory Council, and was selected as a juror for the 2011 Venice Biennale. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Maryland Film Festival and has been a key participant in the Provincetown International Film Festival since it began in 1999, the same year Waters was honored as the first recipient of PIFF's "Filmmaker on the Edge" award.  

In September, 2014, Film Society of Lincoln Center honored Waters' fifty years in filmmaking with a 10-day celebration entitled "Fifty Years of John Waters: How Much Can You Take?" featuring a complete retrospective of his film work. In May, 2015, Waters was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and the same by the Maryland Institute College of Arts (MICA) in May, 2016. In the Fall of 2015, the British Film Institute also honored Waters' fifty-year contribution to cinema with their own program called "The Complete Films of John Waters…Every Goddam One of Them." Most recently, The French Minister of Culture bestowed the rank of Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters to Mr. Waters. In February, 2017, Waters was honored with the Writers Guild of America, East's Ian McLellan Hunter Award honoring his body of work as a writer in motion pictures.