Director Cutter Hodierne (left) on the set of his film “Fishing Without Nets.” (John Hibey/Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival)

Salon film critic (and all-around great festival hang) Andrew O’Hehir will introduce “Fishing Without Nets,” along with “I Am John Wayne,” ”The Kook,” “Modern Man” and “Cork’s Cattlebaron.” The Maryland Film Festival has pioneered the practice of opening every edition with a program of shorts — too often relegated to afterthoughts at other festivals.

Founded in 1999 by Jed Dietz, the festival has carved out a singular niche on the circuit — intimate, daring, diverse and, most of all, fun. As he is every year, John Waters will be on hand with one of his favorite obscure films (this year’s entry: Barbara Loden’s 1970 classic “Wanda”). The Alloy Orchestra will provide live accompaniment to a silent movie (the 1920 German film “From Morning Till Midnight”) and the Baltimore Sun’s Chris Kaltenbach will present a vintage 3-D spectacle (“Those Redheads From Seattle”).

Some films I’ve seen and recommend: Athina Rachel Tsangari’s “Attenberg,” Julia Murat’s “Found Memories” and Jafar Panahi’s “This Is Not a Film.” The ones I don’t want to miss: Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s “Detropia,” “Come Back, Africa” from Milestone Films, “Compliance” (a controversial selection at Sundance) and Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia.” Among many, many more.

The Maryland Film Festival continues through May 6. Visit or call 410-752-8083 for more information.