MFF Alum Laura Poitras’ New Documentary CITIZENFOUR Opens Friday in Select Cities!

William Binney and Laura Poitras

L to R: Former NSA Official William Binney and Filmmaker Laura Poitras at the 10/22 sneak preview of CITIZENFOUR in Washington, DC.

MFF Director Jed Dietz was in attendance at last night’s sneak preview of CITIZENFOUR, the new documentary from Academy Award-nominated director Laura Poitras about governmental surveillance and Edward Snowden. Poitras is a 2012 MacArthur Genius Fellowship recipient and two-time MFF Alum, screening both Oscar-nominated MY COUNTRY MY COUNTRY (MFF 2006) and THE OATH (MFF 2010).  She was in attendance for the screening, along with several people featured in the film, including former NSA official William Binney.

Poitras’ new documentary is a real life thriller, unfolding by the minute, giving audiences unprecedented access to the filmmaker and journalist Glenn Greenwald’s encounters with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, as he hands over classified documents providing evidence of mass indiscriminate and illegal invasions of privacy by the National Security Agency (NSA).

“The film is so tense and surprising as you go through it.  It’s as good as any of the Bourne movies, but better because it’s real.  It’s amazing storytelling,” Dietz said.

CITIZENFOUR places you in the room with Poitras, Greenwald, and Snowden as they attempt to manage the media storm raging outside, forced to make quick decisions that will impact their lives and all of those around them. The film not only shows you the dangers of governmental surveillance—it makes you feel them. After seeing the film, you may never think the same way about your phone, email, credit card, web browser, or profile, ever again.

CITIZENFOUR opens in select cities this Friday and will tentatively open in Baltimore at the Charles Theatre on Friday 10/31.  See the Charles’ website for more details.

CITIZENFOUR Trailer

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Makes $5 Million Naming Gift for Parkway Theater!

Artist's Conception of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Film Center. (Rendering courtesy of Ziger/Snead Architects)

Artist’s Conception of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Film Center. (Rendering courtesy of Ziger/Snead Architects)

We are thrilled to announce that the Stavros Niarchos Foundation has committed $5 million to Johns Hopkins University, enabling Maryland Film Festival, JHU, and the Maryland Institute College of Art to transform Baltimore’s historic Parkway Theater into a center for the study, production, and exhibition of film.

The new Stavros Niarchos Foundation Film Center will be a cinema showplace with three screens, 600 seats and live performance space. Scheduled to open in late 2016, it will help to anchor the Station North neighborhood’s developing role as a Baltimore arts destination, supporting cultural and economic growth in the area.
“With the new state-of-the-art Stavros Niarchos Foundation Film Center, the Maryland Film Festival will greatly expand its reach,” said MFF director Jed Dietz. “The center will enable us to bring more great films and filmmakers to Baltimore, host a broad range of arts programs, serve as a cultural anchor for the film community, and continue to market Baltimore as a leading location for film and TV production.  The center will be a thriving hub for film culture and creative film-making on the East Coast.”

“This is a once-in-a-generation moment for Johns Hopkins and our partners at MICA and the Maryland Film Festival to reclaim a part of Baltimore’s storied cultural history and transform it into the heart of our community’s vibrant, dynamic future,” Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels said.  “With the visionary support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, we are seeding artistic and economic opportunities for our students, our neighbors, and our city.”

The 420-seat Parkway Theater, built in 1915 near the corner of Charles Street and North Avenue, was a classic American movie palace patterned after the West End Theater in London and the Strand in New York. It closed in the urban decline of the 1970s, but in recent years the corner of Charles and North has become a key component in planning for the Station North Arts and Entertainment District.

Maryland was one of the first states to create arts and entertainment districts as an economic model and Station North was Baltimore’s first, generating significant economic development, tax revenue and employment since its inception in 2002.

“The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is firmly committed to supporting community development such as that at the Station North Arts and Entertainment District and excited to partner with this unique alliance of academic and cultural institutions in Baltimore,” said Andreas Dracopoulos, co-president of the board of directors of the foundation. “We believe the combination of universities and arts organizations is a great untapped resource for improving our cities, and seek to provide support for the best initiatives such coalitions develop. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Film Center will be one of these.”

MFF Alum Rory Kennedy’s LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM Opens Today at the Charles Theater!

LDVMFF Alum Rory Kennedy‘s new award-winning documentary about the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM, opens in Baltimore today at the Charles Theater.  Click here to purchase tickets.  LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Perhaps the most striking thing about LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM, Rory Kennedy’s eye-opening documentary about the 1975 evacuation of the American Embassy in Saigon, is how calmly it surveys what was once among the angriest topics in American political life. The story is full of emotion and danger, heroism and treachery, but it is told in a mood of rueful retrospect rather than simmering partisan rage. Ms. Kennedy, whose uncle John F. Kennedy expanded American involvement in Vietnam and whose father, Robert F. Kennedy, became one of the ensuing war’s most passionate critics, explores its final episode with an open mind and lively curiosity. There are old clips that have never been widely seen and pieces of information that may surprise many viewers.
The New York Times, 9/4/14
Rory Kennedy’s award-winning documentary ETHEL screened within the 2012 Maryland Film Festival and again as part of the MFF/WYPR Spotlight Series. 

Film Synopsis
During the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance crumbles. The United States has only a skeleton crew of diplomats and military operatives still in the country. As Communist victory becomes inevitable and the U.S. readies to withdraw, some Americans begin to consider the certain imprisonment and possible death of their South Vietnamese allies, co-workers, and friends. Meanwhile, the prospect of an official evacuation of South Vietnamese becomes terminally delayed by Congressional gridlock and the inexplicably optimistic U.S. Ambassador. With the clock ticking and the city under fire, a number of heroic Americans take matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in a desperate effort to save as many South Vietnamese lives as possible.

Sweaty Eyeballs Animation Invitational Returns Friday 10/17!

SWEATYEYEBALLSMaryland Film Festival is proud to be a sponsor of the 3rd Annual Sweaty Eyeballs Animation Invitational, which returns to the MICA Brown Center on Friday 10/17 at 7:30pm with a mind-blowing array of international, independent short animations. Curated by Phil Davis (Towson University) and Max Porter (Maryland Institute College of Art); including narrative, experimental, and music video work made with a variety of techniques ranging from stop motion, hand drawn, to CGI. Come on out for a night of weird and beautiful animation and cast your vote for the audience choice award!

3rd Annual Sweaty Eyeballs Animation Invitational Screening
Friday October 17, 2014
7:30 PM
Falvey Hall Auditorium – MICA Brown Center
1300 W. Mount Royal Ave. Baltimore, MD
$5 general admission;
FREE for Friends of the Festival, students (with valid student ID), and University faculty/staff

MFF Named “Best Film Festival/Series” in City Paper’s “Best of Baltimore” Reader’s Poll!

bcp-best-of-baltimore-2014-intro-20140912-001Thank you, Baltimore! We’re very happy to announce that MFF has once again been named Best Film Festival/Series in the City Paper‘s 2014 “Best of Baltimore” Reader’s Poll!

Issues hit newsstands today — be sure to pick one up or click here to check it out online!

Also honored in this year’s “Best of Baltimore” issue is MFF alum Chris LaMartina who won for Best Filmmaker. LaMartina’s film CALL GIRL OF CTHULHU had its premiere at MFF 2014.

Also receiving a shout out is MFF’s own Operations & Development Manager, Rahne Alexander, whose band The Degenerettes was part of Ladyfest, which received the honor of Best Music Festival in this year’s awards.

We’re thrilled to be part of what makes the Charm City art scene so vibrant and look forward to bringing you another amazing film festival next year!

MFF 2014’s HELLION with Kat Candler at Stevenson University on Thursday 9/25!

Kat Candler

Kat Candler

We’re please to announce that MFF alum Kat Candler has been named Stevenson University’s Department of Film/Video Artist-in-Residence for Fall 2014. Click here for more information on the Stevenson University website.

From Wednesday 9/24 through Friday 9/26, Stevenson University will host Candler where she will visit classrooms and talk about her work as a filmmaker and her success at adapting her Sundance-screened short film HELLION into the feature length film that played at MFF 2014.
Stevenson University will hold a free screening of HELLION on Thursday, September 25 at 8pm in the Stevenson University Soundstage (located in the School of Design building at 11200-A Gundry Lane, Owings Mills, MD).
There will be reception prior to the screening at 7pm in the School of Design lobby and a Q&A with Ms. Candler afterwards. Both the reception and the screening are free and open to the general public but space is limited; please RSVP to Chris Reed at chrisreed@stevenson.edu reserve a spot. 
EVENT INFO:
HELLION Screening with Kat Candler
Thursday 9/25
7pm Reception; 8pm Screening
Stevenson University Soundstage
School of Design
11200-A Gundry Lane
Owings Mills, MD

Kat Candler’s short films HELLION (2012) and BLACK METAL (2013), both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and screened within MFF. Her previous films have screened at such festivals as Los Angeles Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, SXSW, and Slamdance. She is a two-time IFP participant and was recently awarded the San Francisco Film Society/Kenneth Rainin Foundation filmmaking grant. Candler is also a lecturer on film at the University of Texas in Austin.

The 2015 Maryland Film Festival Call For Submissions Is Now Open!

unnamedAttention, filmmakers: the 2015 Maryland Film Festival Call For Submissions is now open!  Please help us spread the word!  The deadline to submit a film is December 15th — and while we’ll be accepting submissions until then, sending your films and videos to us well before the deadline is a great way to call attention to your work. Act now, don’t wait!

We are looking for high-quality films and videos of all types: feature length and shorts; narratives and documentaries; domestic and foreign; genre work and the unclassifiable. And while we are a general-audience festival, we do consider animation, experimental, underground, music video, and other forms overlooked or marginalized by some festivals.

Stronger consideration is given to films that have NOT had significant prior exposure in the Baltimore market. Screenings in the Baltimore area prior to Maryland Film Festival may result in a film’s rejection, as may certain forms of television, cable, internet, and/or home-video availability/exposure prior to the festival. Feature films that have already screened in Baltimore prior to our festival dates may be disqualified.

Please note that the Maryland Film Festival is a general-interest festival located in Maryland that screens film and video work from all over the world, and NOT solely devoted to films made in Maryland. That said, we do encourage local filmmakers to enter, and have screened some made-in-Maryland films each year.

We are actively working to increase the presence of international films at the festival, and encourage filmmakers from all over the world to send us their work.

The Maryland Film Festival has showcased short films in many unique ways, including devoting our Opening Night to a short-film program, and offering potential screening opportunities beyond the festival.

We are open to films of all varieties and lengths; unique voices and viewpoints are always a plus, as are humor, innovation, and psychotronic content.

Maryland Film Festival is a non-competition festival.

Due to the number of entries we receive, we require that all Maryland Film Festival entries be processed through Withoutabox. This enables us to keep accurate, complete information on all films submitted to us.

For more information, please visit mdfilmfest/submissions.

John Waters Retrospective “Fifty Years of John Waters: How Much Can You Take?” Runs 9/5-9/14 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center!

John Waters in 1964. New York Times/Dudley Gray.

John Waters in 1964. New York Times/Dudley Gray.

Legendary filmmaker and MFF Board Member John Waters is being honored with a 50 year retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. “Fifty Years of John Waters: How Much Can You Take” runs Friday, September 5th – Sunday, September 14th.

Waters was interviewed in today’s edition of The New York Times about his retrospective:

“It’s like being alive at your funeral. I’m not going to get anything better.”
-John Waters (click here for the complete interview).

The retrospective includes screenings of his 12 feature films; early, little-seen shorts, including “Hag in a Black Leather Jacket”; and a selection of films he says he envies, like Roger Michell’s “The Mother,” about an affair between a grandmother and a pre-Bond Daniel Craig.

Click here for the complete schedule on the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s website.

MFF 2013’s AFTER TILLER to Broadcast on PBS this Monday 9/1!

AFTER TILLER

AFTER TILLER

We are thrilled to announce that MFF 2013’s award-winning documentary AFTER TILLER will have its broadcast premiere on PBS’s acclaimed POV documentary series this Monday, September 1st!

Directed by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson, AFTER TILLER intimately explores the highly controversial subject of third-trimester abortions in the wake of the 2009 assassination of practitioner Dr. George Tiller. The procedure is now performed by only four doctors in the United States, all former colleagues of Dr. Tiller, who risk their lives every day in the name of their unwavering commitment toward their patients.
martha-shane300

Martha Shane

Martha Shane is a Baltimore County native and was co-host of this year’s Filmmakers Taking Charge conference at the 2014 Maryland Film Festival. Click here to listen to the MFF/WYPR Spotlight Seriespodcast of Martha Shane discussing AFTER TILLER with Sheilah Kast on WYPR’s Maryland Morning.

AFTER TILLER does viewers the great service of providing light where there’s usually only heat, giving a human face and heart to what previously might have been an abstract issue or quickly scanned news item.

Ann HornadayThe Washington Post

Click here to find your local broadcast times, learn how to host a special event screening, and download educational resources related to the film.  AFTER TILLER is also available for download on iTunes.
Click here to view the trailer for AFTER TILLER.

Maryland Film Festival and BALTIMORE IN BLACK AND WHITE Make Baltimore Magazine’s “Best of Baltimore” List!

BOBWe are happy to announce that Maryland Film Festival has made Baltimore Magazine‘s 2014 “Best of Baltimore” list!  Also honored is MFF 2014’s documentary BALTIMORE IN BLACK AND WHITE, which was named “Best Film.”  Click here for the complete “Best of Baltimore” arts listing on Baltimore Magazine‘s website.
Alongside all the visiting filmmakers, MFF spotlights a wide range of locals. The documentary BALTIMORE IN BLACK AND WHITE (“Best Film”) screened in May, and past years have included work by the likes of Ramona Diaz, Doug Sadler, and Jimmy Joe Roche. Matt Porterfield premiered his work here. As an added bonus, celebs such as John Waters, Marin Alsop, and Sen. Barbara Mikulski present favorite films during the festival.
-Baltimore Magazine
BALTIMORE IN BLACK AND WHITE had its world premiere at the 2014 Maryland Film Festival with filmmakers Emily Topper and Mary Posatko in attendance. Congratulations to the filmmakers, and thanks to audiences who attended this year’s festival and made BALTIMORE IN BLACK AND WHITE part of their MFF 2014 experience!

Baltimore 11x17 - screenings.inddBALTIMORE IN BLACK AND WHITE description from the MFF 2014 Program Book:

BALTIMORE IN BLACK AND WHITE is an utterly fascinating new work from filmmakers Emily Topper and Mary Posatko.  Topper and Posatko co-directed this tale of a family lost after its patriarch was taken away in a senseless crime.

In Baltimore 1972, on his way to a community meeting, Henry Selhorst, the father of thirteen children, was murdered blocks from where he lived in Edmondson Village.  Decades later, his granddaughter Emily, born and raised in Baltimore, now a filmmaker, sets out to understand what happened.

The film documents her search as she meets and talks to many people involved with the crime- from the patrol officer who was first on the scene of the murder, to various community members as well as her search for  the accused suspects themselves, now men in their fifties.

Spun like a mystery, the film deftly balances honest, often contradictory, unfiltered memories from the family side by side with a raw, candid oral history of Edmondson Village at a time of racial change. The family and societal portrait that emerges can be said as one achingly specific to Baltimore, but recognizable anywhere in America.  (-MFF Screening Committee Member Dankwa Brooks)



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