MFF Pleased to Announce Shorts Filmmakers in Attendance for Artscape 2014!

L to R: Filmmakers Skizz Cyzyk (ALFRED JARRY AND 'PATAPHYSICS) and Margaret Rorison (PULL/DRIFT) at MFF 2014.

L to R: Filmmakers Skizz Cyzyk (ALFRED JARRY AND ‘PATAPHYSICS) and Margaret Rorison (PULL/DRIFT) at MFF 2014.

Maryland Film Festival is thrilled to present another year of FREE SHORT FILMS at Artscape with filmmakers in attendance!  Click here for MFF’s 2014 Artscape Film Lineup.  Artscape runs July 18-20 in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District in downtown Baltimore.  Maryland Film Festival’s FREE SHORT FILMS program will take place in the Charles Theater located at 1711 North Charles Street.

Directors in attendance for MFF’s FREE SHORT FILMS at Artscape 2014 include Margaret Rorison (Opening Night Movement Shorts: PULL/DRIFT), Skizz Cyzyk (Animated Shorts: ALFRED JARRY AND ‘PATAPHYSICS), Jason Giampietro (Narrative Shorts: WHIFFED OUT; Character Study Shorts: I WILL PAINT YOUR SPIRIT), Scott Norwood (Documentary Shorts: CINEMA TIME CAPSULE) and cinematographer/editor Nathan Duncan (Narrative Shorts: SKUNK; Opening Night Movement Shorts: NIGHT AT THE DANCE).

Join MFF for an Artscape 2014 Kickoff Party Tuesday 7/15 at By Degrees Cafe!

By Degrees Cafe

By Degrees Cafe located at 415 South Central Avenue

Maryland Film Festival is throwing an Artscape 2014 Kickoff Party at By Degrees Cafe on Tuesday 7/15 and you are invited!

Doors are at 8pm — experience delicious passed hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine and specialty cocktails provided by By Degrees Cafe, followed by a sneak preview of MFF’s Animated Shorts program that will be playing during Artscape 2014 at 9pm! You won’t want to miss this exciting Artscape kickoff event at one of Baltimore’s newest and most chic cafes!

Join us for craft cocktails, delicious food and Animated Shorts hosted by MFF!

cocktails

Join us for craft cocktails and Animated Shorts on Tuesday 7/15!

MFF Artscape 2014 Kickoff Party!
Tuesday, July 15th
Hors d’Oeuvres and Cocktails from 8pm-9pm
Animated Shorts at 9pm
By Degrees Cafe
415 South Central Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21202

http://bydegreescafe.com/

$10 general, $5 Friends of the Festival
Space is limited; RSVP to tickets@mdfilmfest.com with your name to reserve a spot!
Click here for Facebook invite.

Parking is available in the By Degrees Cafe parking lot, as well as short term curb-side parking. The Cafe is also located across the street from a municipal parking garage.

All guests who attend will be entered to win a limited-edition MFF 2014 t-shirt!

Artscape 2014 runs July 18-20 and Maryland Film Festival will be showing Free Short Films all weekend at the Charles Theater with filmmakers in attendance. Click here for the complete Artscape film schedule.

MFF Presents FREE SHORT FILMS at Artscape, July 18-20!

Artscape2014Maryland Film Festival is thrilled to once again present Free Short Films at Artscape, coming up July 18-20, 2014!
Artscape is America’s largest FREE arts festival, attracting 350,000+ attendees over three days.  Maryland Film Festival’s Free Short Films will be held in the Charles Theater with filmmakers in attendance throughout the weekend.  Be sure to come by and experience our special collection of short films curated by our film programmers, and stay tuned for more announcements about filmmakers and special guests in attendance, coming soon!
MFF 2014 Artscape Film Program:
FRIDAY JULY 18TH @ 7PM
MOVEMENT SHORTS – 68 MINUTES
A Collection of Dance and Movement related shorts culled from the last 5 years of Maryland Film Festival’s shorts programs, reflecting Artscape’s “Join the Movement” theme for this year. An exciting and eclectic mix of styles and genres are showcased, including animation, experimental, documentary, narrative, and more. Several of the filmmakers will be present to discuss their work with the audience!
Warning: Program contains ADULT LANGUAGE, MILD VIOLENCE, ANATOMICALLY FRANK IMAGERY OF HORSES, ADULT THEMES

THE CHAPERONE – Directed by Fraser Munden, Neil Rathbone
EAGER – Directed by Allison Schulnik
FLOW – Directed by Christina Choe
MELT – Directed by Noémie Lafrance
NIGHT AT THE DANCE – Directed by Annie Silverstein
PULL/DRIFT – Directed by Margaret Rorison
THAT B.E.A.T. – Directed by Abteen Bagheri

SATURDAY JULY 19th & SUNDAY JULY 20th Noon-6PM
MFF 2014 SHORTS
Saturday and Sunday programs are comprised of titles curated by the Maryland Film Festival, all of them from MFF 2014. These programs begin each hour on the hour, and run between 30 and 40 minutes apiece. One or more filmmakers are expected to be in attendance at each screening to answer questions from the audience and discuss their work. Program content may be subject to last-minute changes.

Programs may contain material not appropriate for all ages. Please refer to content warnings for each program below.

SCHEDULE:

SATURDAY JULY 19th
Noon – ANIMATED SHORTS
1pm – COMEDY SHORTS
2pm – CHARACTER STUDY SHORTS
3pm – NARRATIVE SHORTS
4pm – DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
5pm – ANIMATED SHORTS

SUNDAY JULY 20th
Noon – COMEDY SHORTS
1pm – CHARACTER STUDY SHORTS
2pm – NARRATIVE SHORTS
3pm – DOCUMENTARY SHORTS
4pm – ANIMATED SHORTS
5pm – COMEDY SHORTS

ANIMATED SHORTS – 37 minutes
Warning: Program contains CARTOON VIOLENCE, ADULT THEMES, and ADULT LANGUAGE
ALFRED JARRY & ‘PATAPHYSICS – Directed by Skizz Cyzyk
CAVEIRÃO (aka THE MASTER’S VOICE) – Directed by Guilherme Marcondes
THE CHAPERONE- Directed by Fraser Munden, Neil Rathbone
THE ORPHAN AND POLAR BEAR – Directed by Neil Christopher
YEARBOOK – Directed by Bernardo Britto

COMEDY SHORTS – 31 minutes
Warning: Program contains ADULT LANGUAGE and ADULT THEMES
CRUISING ELECTRIC (1980) – Directed by Brumby Boylston
FUNNEL – Directed by Andre Hyland
THE NOVICE CLAIRALIENT – Directed by Tom Borax
PEEPERS – Directed by Ken Lam
VERBATIM – Directed by Brett Weiner

NARRATIVE SHORTS – 38 minutes
Warning: Program contains ADULT THEMES and ADULT LANGUAGE
I WAS A TEENAGE GIRL – Directed by Augustine Frizzell
LA HIJA (THE DAUGHTER) – Directed by Jazmín Rada
SKUNK – Directed by Annie Silverstein
WHIFFED OUT – Directed by Jason Giampietro

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS – 33 minutes
Warning: Program contains BRIEF NUDITY, ADULT LANGUAGE, and ADULT THEMES
CINEMA TIME CAPSULE – Directed by Scott Norwood
DAVID HOCKNEY IN THE NOW (in six minutes) – Directed by Lucy Walker
THE SILLY BASTARD NEXT TO BED – Directed by Scott Calonico
THE HIGH FIVE – Directed by Michael Jacobs

CHARACTER STUDY SHORTS – 34 minutes
Warning: Program contains ADULT THEMES and ADULT LANGUAGE
THE IMMACULATE RECEPTION – Directed by Charlotte Glynn
I WILL PAINT YOUR SPIRIT – Directed by Jason Giampietro
EASY – Directed by Daniel Laabs

MFF Programmer Scott Braid reports on the 16th Annual Provincetown Film Festival

Sunday a week ago marked the wrap of the 16th annual Provincetown International Film Festival, a delightful and thoughtfully programmed festival centered in Cape Cod’s most charming and friendly town. PIFF pulled out all the stops this year in bringing world-class film and filmmakers to town. Their formidable line-up included a number of fantastic films and several wonderful special events.

Among the films in the PIFF line-up, a dozen or so appeared within MFF 2014 back in May. One of the notable overlaps in programming was Desiree Akhavan’s hilarious and heartfelt, APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR which was very warmly received by Ptown audiences and took home the fest’s Tangerine Entertainment Juice Fund award, a cash prize given at several different festivals in support of outstanding female filmmakers.

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Desiree Akhavan with Tangerine Entertainment’s Anne Hubbell

 

MFF 2014’s FORT TILDEN (SXSW Grand Jury prize winner), the uproarious satirical dark comedy that offers a withering critique of a certain kind of vapid Brooklynite also made its way to the Cape, making a big splash with Ptown audiences in its 3 screenings there.

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Directors Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers host a lively Q&A after screening their film FORT TILDEN at the Art House.

 

Other MFF 2014 narrative titles that made their way to PIFF included Gillian Robespierre’s breakout Sundance hit OBVIOUS CHILD, Joe Swanberg’s HAPPY CHRISTMAS, and Joel Potrykus’ BUZZARD. Meanwhile the documentary section included such MFF standouts as Marshall Curry’s POINT AND SHOOT, Joe Berlinger’s WHITEY, Ben Cotner and Ryan White’s THE CASE AGAINST 8, and Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman’s ART AND CRAFT.

As with any Maryland Film Festival, no Ptown Film Fest would be complete without the participation of the great John Waters. Here John was doing double duty reprising his MFF presentation of Catherine Breillat’s ABUSE OF WEAKNESS for Ptown audiences and acting as host/interviewer for legendary cult director David Cronenberg, who was being honored with the PIFF Filmmaker On The Edge award. Waters conducted a fascinating interview in which Cronenberg recalled turning down the chance to direct THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, watching Tom Cruise get passed over at an audition with Dino De Laurentiis, and a plethora of other fascinating stories about his nearly 50 years as a filmmaker. The same event saw a fun conversation between film critic B. Ruby Rich and PIFF Career Achievement honoree Debra Winger.

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Cronenberg and Waters, seen here with PIFF’s Career Achievement Award-winner Debra Winger (photo from hollywoodreporter.com)

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Cronenberg talks about his career in conversation with John Waters at Provincetown’s Town Hall

Of course I didn’t travel all the way to the tip of Cape Cod just to watch and talk about movies I’ve already seen during the programming period for MFF. The main reason for me to go to any festival is to discover wonderful films I haven’t seen and Ptown did not disappoint in this department.

My two favorites films that I had yet to see at PIFF both came out of their documentary section. Nancy Kates’ REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG was an unexpectedly artful and fascinating look into the life of the late writer, filmmaker, political activist, etc. Constructed over the course of 8 years, the film goes to great lengths to create an atmosphere that reflects Sontag’s (and of course the filmmaker’s own) aesthetic sensibilities while offering an interesting and insightful appraisal of her life and work.

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Director Nancy Kates discusses REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG, after PIFF screening at the Schoolhouse Gallery

 

The documentary that really knocked me out however, was Jesse Moss’ THE OVERNIGHTERS, an intense and powerful doc about the small town of Williston, North Dakota that is overwhelmed by its near overnight transformation into a fracking boom town. Thousands of men and women seeking employment in the oil fields or in ancillary industries springing up around them, overwhelming the towns resources, real estate and many folks nerves. At the center of the story is a local Lutheran pastor who is devoted to helping and housing the many desperate unemployed who come to town. At times his devotion to the plight of the “overnighters” as they’re called, puts him at odds with the town and even his own congregation. A fascinating insight into human nature, small town politics and the brutal reality of searching for employment during lean times, THE OVERNIGHTERS provides a riveting viewing experience throughout building to a mind-blowing crescendo, leaving the viewer much to ponder upon leaving the theater.

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Still from Jesse Moss’ THE OVERNIGHTERS

 

In the narrative department, Ira Sachs’ haunting and heartfelt LOVE IS STRANGE provided a very satisfying viewing experience. The film stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a senior-age gay couple who finally are able to marry after 39 years together, only to be forced out of their Manhattan apartment shortly thereafter by rising real estate prices. As they try to find a new home the couple has to separate for the first time in decades, staying with friends and relatives, putting a strain on both their relationship and those they’re staying with. Excellent performances are the key here and Molina and Lithgow deliver as does the supporting cast which includes Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei.

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Director Ira Sachs discusses his latest film, LOVE IS STRANGE at Provincetown’s Town Hall

 

To close out the weekend, PIFF brought in acclaimed filmmaker Jonathan Demme to present his latest work A MASTER BUILDER. A film which finds Demme collaborating with the legendary Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, the duo perhaps most famous in cinematic circles for their 1981 collaboration with Louis Malle, MY DINNER WITH ANDRE. Their latest outing, A MASTER BUILDER is an ambitious adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder Solness. The two elder statesman of stage and screen (Gregory and Shawn also star in the film) were in attendance and with Demme hosted a rousing Q&A following the screening. The three greats discussed their excitement to have had the opportunity to work on this project together and the challenges of shooting such a project on a limited budget in just over a week. Reminding the audience that even legendary film artists often have to struggle to fund a project that they wish to complete on their own terms. It was a fitting and fun way to close out such a fine year for PIFF. The fun and festive closing party and awards ceremony made the evening all the more delightful. I look forward to visiting both Provincetown and its film festival again in June 2015!

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From l to r: Wallace Shawn, Andre Gregory and Jonathan Demme, discussing their collaboration on A MASTER BUILDER

(All photos by Scott Braid unless otherwise noted.)

MFF 2014’s FREEDOM SUMMER Premieres on PBS’ American Experience TONIGHT at 9pm!

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A demonstration in Atlantic City, the site of the 1964 Democratic Convention. FREEDOM SUMMER airs on PBS tonight. Photo credit: George Ballis/Take Stock.

MFF 2014’s FREEDOM SUMMER directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Stanley Nelson airs TONIGHT (6/24) on PBS’ American Experience at 9pm.

“…it’s hard to imagine two hours better spent in front of a screen.”
-Mike HaleThe New York Times, 6/23/14.  Click here for the complete review.
Film Synopsis from the MFF 2014 Program Book:
In 1962, only 6% of eligible African Americans in Mississippi were registered to vote, the lowest percentage of any state in the country. The tools used to block blacks from registering included ludicrous poll tests, violence, and other forms of sanctioned intimidation. Several Civil Rights groups determined to correct this, and, led by an extraordinary young man, Robert Moses they went to work. By 1964, they had recruited hundreds of college students from as far away as Yale and Stanford, along with religious leaders and other volunteers. They joined forces with brave local sharecroppers like Fannie Lou Hamer with the goal of educating and registering enough people to begin to challenge Mississippi and wake up the national Democratic Party leadership. Mississippi resisted with all its might, beating, arresting, and killing anyone advocating change.
The story has been told in multiple forms, but this riveting film by one of our most important filmmakers has an unusual power. Assembling incredible archival footage and insightful contemporary interviews with some people who participated in Freedom Summer, the film takes you deep into the world of institutional racism in 1964 Mississippi, and shockingly underscores the timidity of President Johnson and the Democratic Party.
Approaching the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer, and in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to reverse field in the area of voting rights, this is a story that needs to be understood—and never forgotten.

John Waters’ “Carsick” to be Released Tomorrow! Book Signing and Release Party at Atomic Books 6/12, 7pm!

JW Book SigningLegendary director and MFF Board Member John Waters will be releasing his seventh book tomorrow, “Carsick” (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, $26), which chronicles his cross-country hitchhiking adventure from Baltimore to San Francisco.  Click here to pre-purchase your very own copy from Atomic Books – signed by John Waters!

Also, be sure to check out the “Carsick” book release party and signing at Atomic Books (located at 3620 Falls Road in Hampden) on Thursday, June 12th at 7pm!  Click here for event information.

Carsick“Carsick” Synopsis:
A cross-country hitchhiking journey with America’s most beloved weirdo.

John Waters is putting his life on the line. Armed with wit, a pencil-thin mustache, and a cardboard sign that reads “I’m Not Psycho,” he hitchhikes across America from Baltimore to San Francisco, braving lonely roads and treacherous drivers. But who should we be more worried about, the delicate film director with genteel manners or the unsuspecting travelers transporting the Pope of Trash?

Before he leaves for this bizarre adventure, Waters fantasizes about the best and worst possible scenarios: a friendly drug dealer hands over piles of cash to finance films with no questions asked, a demolition-derby driver makes a filthy sexual request in the middle of a race, a gun-toting drunk terrorizes and holds him hostage, and a Kansas vice squad entraps and throws him in jail. So what really happens when this cult legend sticks out his thumb and faces the open road? His real-life rides include a gentle eighty-one-year-old farmer who is convinced Waters is a hobo, an indie band on tour, and the perverse filmmaker’s unexpected hero: a young, sandy-haired Republican in a Corvette.

Laced with subversive humor and warm intelligence, “Carsick” is an unforgettable vacation with a wickedly funny companion-and a celebration of America’s weird, astonishing, and generous citizenry.

“In the director John Waters’s amusing “Carsick”…he tells us up front and quite candidly that his idea to hitchhike from one of his homes in Baltimore to another of his homes in San Francisco was dreamed up as a stunt. What else would we expect from the creator of HAIRSPRAY? Of course, you have to be John Waters to pull this off. The celebrity hanging around rain-sodden truck stops sticking out his thumb is simultaneously the premise, the joke and the tale. So be it….In the end, “Carsick” becomes a portrait not just of America’s desolate freeway nodes – though they’re brilliantly evoked – but of American fame itself.”
-Lawrence OsborneThe New York Times, 5/30/14 (click here for the complete review)
“If you saw a disheveled, clearly despondent 66-year-old man hitchhiking, would you pick him up?Would you pick him up if you realized he was John Waters?

Two springs ago, Baltimore’s most unrepentant degenerate set out on a mission of discovery. Beginning on Charles Street, not far from his home, Waters would hitchhike all the way to his San Francisco condo, following Interstate 70 most of way. There would be little in the way of advance planning; he’d be relying totally on his thumb and the kindness of strangers.”

-Chris KaltenbachBaltimore Sun, 5/30/14 (click here for the complete review and interview with John Waters)

MFF 2014’s SKUNK Wins Top Cinéfondation Prize at Cannes!

Director Annie Silverstein, left, and producer Monique Walton, right, at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Skunk/Facebook

Director Annie Silverstein, left, and producer Monique Walton, right, at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Photo courtesy of Skunk/Facebook

We’re thrilled for MFF alum Annie Silverstein, whose short film SKUNK (one of MFF 2014’s Dramatic Shorts) has won first prize at this year’s Cinéfondation Selection at Cannes.

Annie Silverstein was in attendance at this year’s film festival with her producer Monique Walton and the two teenaged leads of the film.  We have also programmed work by Annie in 2012 and 2013; her previous shorts include SPARK and NIGHT AT THE DANCE.

Annie’s prize comes with a cash award of €15,000 and the guarantee that her first feature film will be presented at Cannes.

Click here to read more.

Save the Date: MFF 2014’s PING PONG SUMMER Returns to Baltimore 6/7 with Director Michael Tully!

PING PONG SUMMER

PING PONG SUMMER

We’re pleased to announce that MFF 2014’s incredibly popular PING PONG SUMMER starring Susan Sarandon, Marcello Conte, John Hannah, Lea Thompson, Amy Sedaris, Robert Longstreet, Myles Massey and Judah Friedlander will return to Baltimore for two screenings on Saturday 6/7 at the Charles Theater at 1pm and 9pm. This film was a big hit at this year’s Sundance and SXSW festivals and was one of the biggest hits of MFF 2014 – in case you missed it at our festival this year or would like to see it again – here is your chance!

Director Michael Tully will be in town to introduce the film and do a Q & A after the 1pm and 9pm screenings, and will also be throwing out the first pitch at the Orioles game on Saturday 6/7 at Camden Yards!

SCREENING INFO:
PING PONG SUMMER
Saturday, June 7th
1pm and 9pm
The Charles Theater
1711 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD
Click here for more information on the Charles Theater website.

PING PONG SUMMER SYNOPSIS:
(from the MFF 2014 Program Book)
Ocean City, Maryland is not just any beach resort. It has a very specific feel – exuberant, raucously commercial, and totally unpretentious. In 1985, it must have meant everything to the young Michael Tully, because as he began to form his artistic vision as a filmmaker, he never forgot it. The place and time of this loving, often hilarious film are defined with the deep understanding and precision that is essential to great moviemaking. But, in the spirit of this time and place, Ping Pong Summer tells a story with a clear eye and zero pretension. There are beautiful and therefore unattainable girls and mentoring neighbors, but there are also racist bullies and clueless adults. Mostly, there are arcade games and ping pong, and lots of music.

All of this is seen through the 13 year old eyes of Radford “Rad” Miracle, effortlessly portrayed by newcomer Marcello Conte. Rad is hoping for some way to prove himself, and that’s where ping pong and hip hop come in. The cast is full of seasoned performers like Amy Sedaris, Susan Sarandon, Lea Thompson, and Robert Longstreet–who fit in as though they’ve been going “downy ocean” for years. And the music, the music! The perfect complement to a movie that feels as though it was actually made in 1985, the tunes will have you clicking your fingers and humming along.

Just Announced: FREE Screening of VEEP Producer Stephanie Laing’s Comedy Short TROUBLE AND THE SHADOWY DEATHBLOW!

TATSDB_PosterWe’re thrilled to announce another not-to-be-missed FREE event in our Tent Village during MFF 2014: join us for a screening of Stephanie Laing‘s comedy short TROUBLE AND THE SHADOWY DEATHBLOW starring Tony Hale (VEEP, Arrested Development) and presented by director Stephanie Laing (producer, VEEP) on Friday 5/9 from 1:00pm-2:00pm!
Screening Info:
Friday, May 9th
1:00pm-2:00pm
Tent Village Panels Tent
with director Stephanie Laing in attendance!
Film Synopsis:
No man is an island-but there are always exceptions. Meet Jim Funkle. A once promising food scientist, his career came to an end with one catastrophic failed experiment. Ostracized, unemployed, and middle aged, Jim Funkle was American mediocrity at its best… until he was given the chance to choose otherwise.
Film website: http://troubleandtheshadowydeathblow.com/

Still Seeking Volunteers for MFF 2014!

VOLUNTEERbannerMaryland Film Festival is still seeking enthusiastic volunteers to help us put on our upcoming Festival next week!  Volunteering with Maryland Film Festival is a fun and exciting opportunity, and it is the friendliness, energy and outstanding service of our volunteers that helps make the Maryland Film Festival an event so many fans and filmmakers look forward to.
If you would like to offer your time to us in exchange for great perks, click here for more information about volunteering, and scroll down to the bottom of the page to fill out a volunteer application.  It’s not too late to sign up!  
The festival has expanded this year to new venues and corners of our community. This means we need your service more than ever!
Volunteers receive a special limited-edition volunteer t-shirt in exchange for their service, along with a screening voucher for each completed shift.  It’s a fun way to contribute to this amazing event in exchange for great perks and meet other wonderful film lovers along the way!
We will be having our final volunteer orientation SATURDAY, May 3rd (TOMORROW) at the MICA Lazarus Studio Center (131 W. North Avenue) at 10am.  Come to the orientation to meet the MFF staff and find out more about volunteer opportunities for the festival!


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