Jed’s Sundance Updates #5: Bobcat Goldthwait’s CALL ME LUCKY

image1

L to R: Bob Crimmins and Bobcat Goldthwait. Photo credit: Jed Dietz.

Long-time MFF alum Bobcat Goldthwait’s new documentary CALL ME LUCKY honors the career and life of comedian Bob Crimmins, a sort of below-the-radar-for most of us Lenny Bruce for our time. He’s funny and insightful and flares a kind of rage that one sees in stand up comedy from time to time. But then the story kicks in.  An emotionally powerful film, beautifully shot and structured, Goldthwait continues to grow and startle as a filmmaker.

image2

Bobcat and Crimmins receive a standing ovation at Sundance 2015. Photo credit: Jed Dietz.

Goldthwait has presented films at several of our past festivals. His found footage horror film WILLOW CREEK played within MFF 2013, GOD BLESS AMERICA played within MFF 2011, and WORLD’S GREATEST DAD starring Robin Williams played within MFF 2009.  His film SLEEPING DOGS LIE was the John Waters pick for MFF 2007.

Stay tuned for more updates from Sundance 2015 on the MFF blog!

Jed’s Sundance Updates #4: GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF

Based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright’s expose of the highly controlled world of Scientology, Alex Gibney’s new documentary GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF is an extraordinary chronicle.

IMG_0368

The film features interviews with eight former members of the Church of Scientology, some of whom are pictured above.  This photo was taken at the Q & A following the screening.

IMG_0367

Above is Lawrence Wright who wrote the book this documentary is based on, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.

IMG_0365

Pictured above is Oscar-winning director and MFF alum Alex Gibney taking questions after the screening of his film. Gibney is an MFF alum for multiple films including MAGIC TRIP, ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOMGONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON, and CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY.  He also guest-presented Serbian film director Dušan Makavejev’s WR: MYSTERIES OF THE ORGANISM (1971) within the 2008 Maryland Film Festival.

Stay tuned for more updates from Sundance 2015 on the MFF blog!

Jed’s Sundance Updates #3: Kris Swanberg and Rodrigo Garcia

Sundance 2015 is now in full swing and Jed Dietz has been checking out the latest film offerings from MFF filmmaker alums like Kris Swanberg whose film UNEXPECTED just had its world premiere, and Rodrigo Garcia whose film LAST DAYS IN THE DESERT just opened at Sundance.

Here are his updates:

Jed-Sundance-Swanberg

Pictured above, MFF alum Kris Swanberg (far left) and cast members on stage for Q & A after the successful premiere of UNEXPECTED, her beautifully wrought film about two women dealing with their first pregnancy. Amazing.

FullSizeRender (4)

Pictured above, MFF alum and winner of the Maryland Filmmaker Fellowship Rodrigo Garcia (right) takes questions with Ewan McGregor (center) who plays both Jesus and Satan in LAST DAYS IN THE DESERT, a remarkable, improbable, beautiful and profoundly spiritual film about the time late in his life that Jesus spent in the dessert facing temptation and confronting his responsibilities.

Stay tuned for more updates from Sundance 2015 on the MFF blog!

Jed’s Sundance Updates #2!

Jed reports back from Sundance 2015 where he has been taking in films and catching up with MFF alums, filmmakers and other folks in attendance at the festival.

FullSizeRender

Pictured above, acclaimed filmmaker and MFF alum Ramin Bahrani (whose film CHOP SHOP played within MFF 2008) discusses his current film 99 HOMES, a horrifying portrayal of the retail real estate business at its most unfettered. The film stars Mike Shannon and Andrew Garfield.

JedSundance2015-4

Pictured above is Donald Margulies, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and adapter of David Lipsky‘s 2008 memoir Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, about the five unforgettable days the Rolling Stone editor spent with iconic writer David Foster Wallace after the publication of Infinite Jest. This photo was taken after the Q&A for THE END OF THE TOUR starring Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as David Lipsky.

Though CenterStage has staged some of Marguiles’ work, Jed hadn’t seen the playwright since his days as a student in a theater group Jed ran at John Dewey High School in Brooklyn.

FullSizeRender (1)

Above is a photo from the Q & A after the screening of THE END OF THE TOUR, where the film’s director James Ponsoldt (THE SPECTACULAR NOW) answers questions. L to R: Jesse Eisenberg, Donald Margulies, Jason Segel, James Ponsoldt.

FullSizeRender (3)

Pictured above is THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL writer/director Marielle Heller, winner of the 2012 Maryland Filmmaker Fellowship for her script for this film, gathering her cast for Q & A. Marielle is holding the mic and Kristen Wiig, remarkable newcomer Bel Powley (who plays Minnie in the film) and Alexander Skarsgård are to Marielle’s left.

FullSizeRender (2)

Pictured above, filmmakers Amy Ziering, far left, and MFF alum Kirby Dick, far right, taking questions with some of the subjects of their infuriating documentary THE HUNTING GROUND about sexual assault on college campuses and the institutional resistance to dealing with it. Three of the students who are using Title IX to change the campuses are between them. Senators Boxer and Gillibrand were in the audience for the screening and Jed reports that “the whole room was ready to engage.” Kirby Dick was the recipient of the 1998 Maryland Filmmakers Fellowship for BEYOND THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE.

Stay tuned for more updates from Sundance 2015 on the MFF blog!

Jed’s Sundance Updates #1 – Robert Redford and Liz Garbus on Opening Night of Sundance 2015

JedSundance2015-2

Robert Redford. Photo by Jed Dietz.

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival is now in full swing, and MFF director Jed Dietz is onsite in Park City, UT reporting back to us. Pictured above, Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford introduces MFF alum Liz Garbus‘ new documentary on Nina Simone, WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? which played after Bryan Buckley‘s comedy THE BRONZE on Opening Night of the Sundance Film Festival.

Liz Garbus.

Liz Garbus. Photo by Jed Dietz.

Liz Garbus is an Emmy Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated director and producer. Her gripping death penalty documentary THE EXECUTION OF WANDA JEAN played within MFF 2002. Garbus is also co-founder of Moxie Firecracker Films with fellow MFF alum Rory Kennedy.

After the Sundance 2015 Opening Night screening of WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? music star John Legend made an unannounced appearance and covered 3 of Nina Simone’s songs.

Stay tuned to the MFF blog for more photos and updates from Jed’s trip to Sundance 2015!

Jed Reports Back from the 2015 Arthouse Convergence!

Audience attending Keynote Speech at Arthouse Convergence 2015. Photo by Jed Dietz.

Audience attending Keynote Speech at Arthouse Convergence 2015. Photo by Jed Dietz.

MFF Director Jed Dietz is currently on the ground in Midway, UT attending the Arthouse Convergence, an annual gathering of independent, community-based, mission-driven film exhibitors that immediately precedes the Sundance Film Festival. This is a photo from the Convergence where Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood gave the keynote speech and mentioned Maryland Film Festival.

Members Only Sale on 2015 All-Access Passes Now Through January 30th!

All-AccessPasses2015-1_edited-1We’re excited to announce that the extremely popular MFF 2015 All-Access passesare now on sale for members only at the discounted rate of $325 (regular price $375)! Passes go on sale to the general public 2/2. Call our office at 410-752-8083 to order your All-Access pass today; this offer is not available online.

Maryland Film Festival returns to the Station North Arts District this May 6-10 for five days of incredible film, filmmakers, workshops, parties, and more, and the All-Access pass is the best way to experience everything Maryland Film Festival has to offer!

Pass holders get:
  • Priority seating at all screenings (including the John Waters andAlloy Orchestra screenings) without a ticket and ahead of regular ticket holders;
  • Access to our Opening Night Shorts Program and Gala at the MICA Brown Center, Closing Night Screening and Party, and the Filmmakers Lounge!
  • DUE TO LIMITED SUPPLY, WE SELL OUT EVERY YEAR!  CALL NOW TO ORDER YOURS TODAY!

FRIENDS OF THE FESTIVAL EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT PRICE (1/20-1/30): $325*

(*2 weeks only! Must be purchased by January 30th*)

PRE-SALE DISCOUNT TO GENERAL PUBLIC (2/2-2/6): $350**
(**All-Access Passes go on sale to the general public on 2/2**.)

ALL-ACCESS PASSES ON SALE TO GENERAL PUBLIC (AFTER 2/9): $375

(Limited supply; get yours while supplies last!)

Click here to join Friends of the Festival and take advantage of this special early bird discount, plus get access to FREE movies all year-round, invitations to special events, and many more great benefits!

Call us at 410-752-8083 M-F, 10am-6pm to order yours today!  Don’t miss this rare opportunity!

All-Access Passes are NOT available online. Supplies are limited, so act now!

Several MFF Alums Featured in Sundance 2015 Lineup!

sundance-618x400Sundance Film Festival has recently announced its 2015 lineup and we’ve spotted several MFF alums who will be presenting films in the competition.  Sundance takes place January 22-February 1, 2015 in Park City, Utah. MFF Director Jed Dietz will be in attendance once again this year; stay tuned for updates from him on the MFF blog! In the meantime, here is a list so far of MFF alums presenting films at Sundance (film descriptions taken from the Sundance website):

In the U.S. Dramatic Competition:

Marielle Heller, one of the recipients of our 2012 Maryland Filmmakers Fellowship, will present THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Marielle Heller) – Minnie Goetze is a 15-year-old aspiring comic-book artist, coming of age in the haze of the 1970s in San Francisco. Insatiably curious about the world around her, Minnie is a pretty typical teenage girl. Oh, except that she’s sleeping with her mother’s boyfriend. Cast: Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgård, Christopher Meloni, Kristen Wiig.
Andrew Bujalski, who directed MFF 2013’s COMPUTER CHESS, will present RESULTS / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Andrew Bujalski) – Two mismatched personal trainers’ lives are upended by the actions of a new, wealthy client. Cast: Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Kevin Corrigan, Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Michael Hall, Brooklyn Decker.

Long time MFF alum Kris Swanberg will present her new film UNEXPECTED / U.S.A. (Director: Kris Swanberg, Screenwriters: Kris Swanberg, Megan Mercier) – When Samantha Abbott begins her final semester teaching science at a Chicago high school, she faces some unexpected news: she’s pregnant. Soon after, Samantha learns that one of her favorite students, Jasmine, has landed in a similar situation. Unexpected follows the two women as they embark on an unlikely friendship. Cast: Cobie Smulders, Anders Holm, Gail Bean, Elizabeth McGovern.

Craig Zobel, who directed MFF 2012’s COMPLIANCE, will present Z FOR ZACHARIAH / U.S.A. (Director: Craig Zobel, Screenwriter: Nissar Modi) – In a post-apocalyptic world, a young woman who believes she is the last human on Earth meets a dying scientist searching for survivors. Their relationship becomes tenuous when another survivor appears. As the two men compete for the woman’s affection, their primal urges begin to reveal their true nature. Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, Chris Pine.

In the U.S. Documentary Competition:

Bobcat Goldthwait, who directed MFF 2013’s WILLOW CREEK, MFF 2011’s GOD BLESS AMERICA and MFF 2007’s John Waters pick SLEEPING DOGS LIE, will present his documentary debut CALL ME LUCKY / U.S.A. (Director: Bobcat Goldthwait) – Barry Crimmins was a volatile but brilliant bar comic who became an honored peace activist and influential political satirist. Famous comedians and others build a picture of a man who underwent an incredible transformation.

Daniel Junge, who co-directed MFF 2014’s FIGHT CHURCH, will be presenting his film BEING EVEL / U.S.A. (Director: Daniel Junge) – A candid portrait of American icon Robert “Evel” Knievel and his legacy.

E. Chai Vasarhelyi, who directed MFF 2009’s YOUSSOU NDOUR: I BRING WHAT I LOVE will be presenting MERU / U.S.A. (Directors: Jimmy Chin, E. Chai Vasarhelyi) – Three elite mountain climbers sacrifice everything but their friendship as they attempt the never-before-completed Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru, the most coveted first ascent in the dangerous game of Himalayan big wall climbing.

The Ross brothers (Bill Ross and Turner Ross), who directed MFF 2012’s TCHOUPITOULAS, will present WESTERN / U.S.A., Mexico (Directors: Bill Ross, Turner Ross) – For generations, all that distinguished Eagle Pass, Texas, from Piedras Negras, Mexico, was the Rio Grande. But when darkness descends upon these harmonious border towns, a cowboy and lawman face a new reality that threatens their way of life.

In the NEXT <=> Lineup:

Diego Ongaro, whose short BOB AND THE TREES screened within MFF 2012, will be presenting his feature BOB AND THE TREES / U.S.A., France (Director: Diego Ongaro) – Bob, a 50-year-old logger in rural Massachusetts with a soft spot for golf and gangsta rap, is struggling to make ends meet in a changed economy. When his beloved cow is wounded and a job goes awry, Bob begins to heed the instincts of his ever-darkening self. Cast: Bob Tarasuk, Matt Gallagher, Polly MacIntyre, Winthrop Barrett, Nathaniel Gregory.

Charles Poekel, who was a producer on MFF 2011’s FAKE IT SO REAL, and Hannah Gross and Kentucker Audley, who are alums for multiple prior MFF films, are part of
CHRISTMAS, AGAIN / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Charles Poekel) – A heartbroken Christmas tree salesman returns to New York, hoping to put the past year behind him. He spends the season living in a trailer and working the night shift, until a mysterious woman and some colorful customers rescue him from self-destruction. Cast: Kentucker Audley, Hannah Gross, Jason Shelton, Oona Roche.

Rick Alverson, who directed MFF 2012’s THE COMEDY, will present ENTERTAINMENT / U.S.A. (Director: Rick Alverson, Screenwriters: Rick Alverson, Gregg Turkington, Tim Heidecker) – En route to meeting with his estranged daughter, in an attempt to revive his dwindling career, a broken, aging comedian plays a string of dead-end shows in the Mojave Desert. Cast: Gregg Turkington, John C. Reilly, Tye Sheridan, Michael Cera, Amy Seimetz, Lotte Verbeek.

Click here for the complete list of released titles for Sundance 2015!

John Waters’ Top Films of 2014!

JohnWatersChristmas510x210John Waters has revealed his top 10 films of 2014, and we are pleased to announce that MFF 2014’s documentary WHO TOOK JOHNNY? has made the list!  Click here for the complete article in Artforum.

Here is the list of John Waters’ top 10 films of 2014 (with his comments):

1 MAPS TO THE STARS (David Cronenberg) Hilariously funny and, dare I say it, yes, pernicious. I love this film more than I love my own mustache.

2 CHARLIE VICTOR ROMEO (Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels, and Karlyn Michelson) A nail-biting, fear-of-flying 3-D experimental movie where you are locked in six separate cockpits with the flight crew as they reenact black-box dialogue from actual aviation mishaps and crashes. The scariest airplane movie ever.

3 THE KIDNAPPING OF MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ (Guillaume Nicloux) My favorite writer is now a movie star, and he’s great playing himself in a literary whodunit that revisits his supposedly factual but still vague and unexplained book-tour kidnapping. Did it really happen, or was Houellebecq just drunk? Who knows? Who cares? I do, a lot.

4 THE SMELL OF US (Larry Clark) When the director, playing a wino savant named Rockstar, actually sucks the toes of his French teen male star on-screen (with subtitles yet!), you’ll know you’re beyond Odorama. The smell here may be ripe, but Larry Clark is back in top form. Oh, yeah . . . it’s a great musical.

5 GLORIA (Sebastián Lelio) A feel-bad date movie for old people who love their lives but hate romantic comedies.

WHO TOOK JOHNNY (David Beilinson, Michael Galinsky, and Suki Hawley) An amazing, lunatic head-scratcher of a documentary about missing children with plot twists that will leave you creeped out, surprised, and excited. As good as Capturing the Friedmans.

LI’L QUINQUIN (Bruno Dumont) Yes, there is such a thing as hillbillies in France. A comic barnyard mystery that asks the nagging question: Who is killing people in the countryside, cutting up their bodies, and stuffing the pieces up cows’ asses?

NYMPHOMANIAC: VOLUME I and VOLUME II (Lars von Trier) I, a Woman meets Salò. I thank the director for every hideous second of this comic masterpiece.

VIOLETTE (Martin Provost) An upbeat biopic about one of my longtime literary idols, Violette Leduc (aka the “female Genet”), a doubly miserable bisexual who only fell in love with gay men or heterosexual women yet found salvation through writing. The fact that she doesn’t commit suicide seems like a happy ending.

10 THE FILMS OF JOANNA HOGG (Unrelated [2007]; Archipelago [2010]; and Exhibition [2013]) As the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s miniretrospective last summer made clear, this British director’s perfectly framed scenes of simmering family resentments and embarrassed silences will thrill you in a severely modest way, and that should be enough. More than enough.

Support Maryland Film Festival this #GivingTuesday (12-2-14)!

GivingTuesdayWebsiteBanner_edited-2xxxSince 1999, Maryland Film Festival has been enhancing the cultural landscape of Baltimore by providing top-notch film programming and uniting filmmakers with audiences.  Thanks to your support, we have been able to enrich the lives of Charm City and inspire audiences through film.  But in order to continue to grow and provide this much-needed art form to our city, we are calling on you, the film lovers of Baltimore, to help us get there. Please support the work of Maryland Film Festival by making your donation today!

As the holidays draw near, we’re excited to join forces with #MarylandGivesMore, a state-wide campaign to declare Maryland the “Most Generous State” in America by raising $12.2 million for nonprofits on 12/2/14, #GivingTuesday. Maryland Film Festival is working to raise at least $5,000 on #GivingTuesday to help contribute to this effort.  Click here to find out more!

- $25 will help us feed a filmmaker for a day at Artscape;

- $50 will help us purchase supplies for our Filmmakers Conference, the unique gathering run by filmmakers that takes place each year during our festival;
- $200 will help pay for a local high school or university student to attend our festival;

- $1,000 will open the door for us to bring in an international filmmaker to present her work;

- $2,500 will help sustain our partnership with the Sundance Labs through the Maryland Filmmakers Fellowship;

- $5,000 will get you a Screening Sponsorship, providing exclusive festival access and great branding exposure opportunities for your company; contact us for details!
Every little bit counts and all donations are tax-deductible! Every gift over $50 will receive a complimentary year-long Friends of the Festival membership, offering access to dozens of screenings and sneak previews throughout the year, as well as special access at our 2015 festival!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,202 other followers