MFF Announces John Waters Pick: KILLER JOE and 14 Additional Feature Films

Maryland Film Festival continues to roll out the lineup for our 17th annual festival today, which will take place May 6-10, 2015 in downtown Baltimore and include approximately 50 feature films and 12 short-film programs from around the world.

Today’s announcement includes two special events that have become annual MFF traditions: a film selected and hosted by legendary filmmaker and MFF board member John Waters, and a silent film presented with a live original score by Alloy Orchestra. Waters has selected William Friedkin’s 2011 neo-noir Killer Joe, starring Matthew McConaughey; Alloy will accompany 1926’s Son of the Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino.

In addition to these repertory-film events, Maryland Film Festival unveiled another fourteen feature films for MFF 2015, including the area premieres of an exciting array of emerging narrative, documentary, and international titles.

Lineup announcements for MFF 2015 will conclude later this week with all remaining titles, including its Opening Night Shorts and Closing Night film. The titles announced today for MFF 2015 are:

6-YEARS_Hannah-Fidell6 YEARS (Hannah Fidell) The director of MFF 2013’s A Teacher returns with the story of Mel (Taissa Farmiga), whose future becomes unsettled when her long-term boyfriend Dan (Ben Rosenfield)’s career aspirations pose a threat to the stability of their relationship. Co-starring Lindsay Burdge and Joshua Leonard, and executive-produced by Jay and Mark Duplass, this poignant drama boasts real relationship insights and resonant, true-to-life performances.

CROCODILE-GENNADIY_Steve-HooverCROCODILE GENNADIY (Steve Hoover) This intense, visually stunning, and morally complex documentary uses a remarkable central character as a window into change and tumult in contemporary Ukraine. Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko wages a one-man war against drug abuse and serves as a tough-love father figure to homeless and at-risk youth, squaring off with dealers and intervening in the lives of addicts. But is vigilante action the answer to these problems? Executive produced by Terrence Malick.

DRUNK_STONED_Douglas_TirolaDRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON (Douglas Tirola) This uproarious documentary, which premiered at Sundance, brings the history of The National Lampoon to raucous life. In 1970, a new counterculture rag spun off from the Harvard Lampoon, launching a comedy revolution impacting not just the printed word but also film, television, radio, and beyond—and giving an early platform to some of the major talents of late-20thCentury comedy.

FIELD_NIGGAS_Khalik-AllahFIELD NIGGAS (Khalik Allah) Street photographer Khalik Allah takes us into the nightlife of 125th Street and Lexington in Harlem, shattering the usual wall between documentarian and subject as he paints portraits of modern street life filled with love and humor, but also hard times and regret. An immersive documentary with a unique visual sensibility, Allah’s film comes to MFF fresh from wowing audiences at True/False and Sarasota.

FOR_THE_PLASMA_Bingham-Bryant_Kyle-Molzan_FOR THE PLASMA (Bingham Bryant and Kyle Molzan) A young woman joins a friend in a sleepy town in Maine, where they use computers and digital cameras to observe a nearby forest, collecting abstruse data used to make stock-market predictions.  This challenging, idiosyncratic piece of cinema-as-puzzle finds a film language all its own; shot on Super 16mm, it also boasts an evocative score by experimental composer Keiichi Suzuki.

FRAME_BY_FRAME_Alexandria-Bombach_Mo-ScarpelliFRAME BY FRAME (Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli) This SXSW-premiered documentary follows four photographers in contemporary Afghanistan. These members of an emerging free press risk life and limb to fill the photojournalist void left by the withdraw of international media—not to mention make up for lost time, as photography was banned under Taliban rule. Their images and stories are unforgettable.

GIRLHOOD_Celine-SciammaGIRLHOOD (Céline Sciamma) In a tough suburb of Paris, teenager Marieme navigates an often harsh, male-dominated world—her life taking a new turn when she finds a place within an initially hostile all-girl gang. From the director of Water Lilies and Tomboy comes an emotionally rich drama that wowed audiences at Cannes, Toronto, and Sundance, driven by an unforgettable lead performance from Karidja Touré.

IN_THE_BASEMENT_Ulrich-SeidlIN THE BASEMENT (Ulrich Seidl) The director of the staggering Paradise trilogy, all three films of which were presented within MFF 2013, returns to the realm of intimate documentary with this stylized, disturbing, and darkly hilarious work. The basements of Austria open up to Seidl’s camera, revealing private lives built around such underground worlds as shooting ranges, taxidermy, BDSM, and Nazi memorabilia.

JUAJA_Lisandro-AlonsoJAUJA (Lisandro Alonso) Viggo Mortensen stars as a Danish engineer who’s travelled to Patagonia with his teenage daughter to work for the Argentine army. When she disappears, he ventures out in pursuit, embarking on a journey full of crises physical, emotional, and existential. Lisandro Alonso (MFF 2010’s Liverpool) works here not only with one of contemporary cinema’s greatest performers, but also a bold new visual approach.

KILLER_JOE_William-FriedkinKILLER JOE (William Friedkin, 2011) Legendary filmmaker John Waters has selected a favorite film to host within each Maryland Film Festival since its inaugural 1999 edition. This year’s choice is William Friedkin’s Texas-set neo-noir, with Matthew McConaughey as a cop who doubles as a hitman, and Emile Hirsch as a drug dealer who summons “Killer” Joe’s services—but quickly finds himself in over his head.

LIMBO_Anna-Sofie-HartmannLIMBO (Anna Sofie Hartmann) In a small port town in Denmark, high-school student Sara (Annika Nuka Mathiassen) grows increasingly fascinated by her young professor Karen (Sofía Nolsøe Mikkelsen), and her challenging ideas about gender, art, and life. This work of patient beauty screened at Rotterdam, San Sebastian, and SXSW, and will be hosted at MFF by guest curator Matt Porterfield (the director of Hamilton, Putty Hill, and I Used to Be Darker).

THE_REAPER_Zvonimir-JuricTHE REAPER (Zvonimir Jurić) From Croatia comes this tense and moody drama about a quiet loner haunted by his criminal past—and by other residents of his small town, who won’t let him forget. When he stops one night to come to the assistance of a woman stranded by the roadside, his evening takes a strange turn, launching three intertwined plot threads that recall Haneke in their grim outlook and narrative potency.

REBELS_OF_THE_NEON_GOD_Tsao-Ming-liangREBELS OF THE NEON GOD (Tsai Ming-liang, 1992) Over the last three decades, Tsai Ming-liang has produced one of the most impressive and distinct filmographies of our time, each starring unique presence Lee Kang-sheng. This is where it all began: Tsai’s first feature film, set amidst the streets, malls, and arcades of Taipei youth culture in the early 1990s. Newly restored, and enjoying its first release on the U.S. big screen.

SON_OF_THE_SHEIK_Performed-by-Alloy_OrchestraSON OF THE SHEIK (George Fitzmaurice, 1926) MFF favorites Alloy Orchestra have introduced new generations to the wonders of silent cinema with their innovative scores for films including The Lost World, Metropolis, and Man With a Movie Camera.  Now they return to MFF to accompany screen legend Rudolph Valentino’s final film, an adventure classic from the director of Mata Hari.

TIRED_MOONLIGHT_Britni-WestTIRED MOONLIGHT (Britni West) Gorgeously shot vignettes built around a mix of local non-professionals and seasoned performers (including Girls’ Alex Karpovsky) coalesce into a rich and poetic portrait of a pit-stop town in Montana situated amidst stunning natural beauty. Tired Moonlight premiered at Slamdance 2015, where it took home the Jury Award for Narrative Feature, and went on to screen within such prestigious festivals as New Directors/New Films and the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

VENICE_Kiki-AlvarezVENICE (Kiki Álvarez) It’s payday, and three female coworkers at a hair salon in Havana head out for a night on the town, their moonlit partying encountering unexpected twists and yielding surprising personal revelations. This exciting independent Cuban/Colombian co-production not only gives us rare access to an insider’s view of Havana, it also displays a refreshingly frank and empowered take on female sexuality.

Today’s new announcements join the 20 features already announced for MFF 2015, including the world premiere of Stephen Cone’s ensemble drama HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY.

MFF Unveils Next 10 Titles of 2015 Lineup!

Maryland Film Festival continues to unveil the lineup for its 17th annual festival today, which will take place May 6-10, 2015 in downtown Baltimore and include approximately 50 feature films and 12 short-film programs from around the world.

Today’s announcement includes the area premieres of 10 more highly anticipated narrative, documentary, and international features, including Charles Poekel’s rich and emotionally resonant character study Christmas, AgainTodd Rohal’s outrageous and explosive psychotronic comedy Uncle Kent 2; and fascinating new documentary work from Bobcat Goldthwait, Amy Berg, and Alex Winter. These new titles join 10 features revealed last week, including the world premiere of Stephen Cone’s vibrant coming-of-age drama Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, bringing the total of MFF 2015 titles announced so far to twenty.

Lineup announcements will continue next week. Today’s titles announced for MFF 2015 are:

AMINA_PROFILE_Sophie-DeraspeTHE AMINA PROFILE (Sophie Deraspe) Two women, Sandra in Montreal and Amina in Syria, meet online, and begin a flirtatious relationship that quickly turns serious. When Amina begins to blog as “A Gay Girl in Damascus,” she garners international attention as an outspoken representative of a marginalized community. Then Sandra hears that Amina has been kidnapped—and, in this fascinating documentary fueled by mystery, politics, and sexuality, she must examine how much about Amina she truly knows.

BEATS_OF_THE_ANTONOV_Hajooj-KukaBEATS OF THE ANTONOV (Hajooj Kuka) War reporter and documentary filmmaker Hajooj Kuka takes viewers into the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain regions of South Sudan, where we meet displaced South Sudanese who live under the constant threat of bombardment from the Sudanese military via Antonov cargo planes. But defying familiar victim narratives, Kuka’s camera finds resilient people that summon strength and positivity from music, laughter, and a determination to maintain their culture against any odds.

CALL_ME_LUCKY_Bobcat-GoldthwaiteCALL ME LUCKY (Bobcat Goldthwait) Since the 1980s, Barry Crimmins has established himself as a comedian’s comedian, armed with a rapid-fire technique and a scathing political perspective aimed at shocking American audiences out of their complacency—even as he never quite gets the respect he deserves. Peers like Margaret Cho and Marc Maron join documentarian Bobcat Goldthwait in paying tribute to Crimmins’ many contributions to the comedy community and political activism over the decades.

CHRISTMAS_AGAIN_Charles-PoekelCHRISTMAS, AGAIN (Charles Poekel) Noel (Kentucker Audley) sells Christmas trees off a lot in New York, living a quiet and solitary life in the camper that anchors the site. As Christmas nears, a mysterious woman lands in Noel’s life, and tries to find a way into the closed-off, emotionally blocked world he’s constructed. Beautiful Super 16mm cinematography and unforgettable performances from Audley and Hannah Gross yield a moving character study of quiet, gentle humanism.

DEEP-WEB_Alex-WinterDEEP WEB (Alex Winter) With Downloaded (MFF 2013), Alex Winter established himself as an expert at illuminating complex issues at the intersection of the internet and legality—and giving audiences intimate access to the personalities at the center of his story. Deep Web excitingly confirms that status, turning its lens on the online black market Silk Road, and digging deep into the still-unfolding story of Ross Ulbricht, the man accused of being the site’s creator and moderator, “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

GOD_BLESS_THE_CHILD_Machoian_Ojeda-BeckGOD BLESS THE CHILD (Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck) Four brothers spend a day on their own in Davis, California, with their thirteen year-old sister forced to look after them as best she can in the absence of their troubled and unreliable mother. This visually stunning experimental drama, which premiered at SXSW, turns an unflinching eye on the behavior of children in the absence of adults, with results at turns hilarious, awkward, poignant, and unnerving.

PROPHETS_PREY_Amy-BergPROPHET’S PREY (Amy Berg) The director of Deliver Us From Evil and West of Memphis takes us deep into another explosive story, that of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Exploring allegations of sexual abuse, family expulsions, forced marriages, and other horrors, this Sundance-premiered documentary paints an unforgettable portrait of conformity, fear, and oppression.

TWO_SHOTS_FIRED_Martin-RejtmanTWO SHOTS FIRED (Martin Rejtman) Veteran Argentine filmmaker Martin Rejtman brings his unique deadpan sensibility to the story of a sixteen-year-old who finds a gun in his house. He shoots himself out of boredom—but, after a near-miss with death, finds that the major change in his life is an annoying whistle in his chest, sabotaging the music he makes with an amateur recorder quartet.  A disloyal dog, a strange vacation, and a bizarre cast of characters add up to a quietly anarchic comedy that channels Aki Kaurismäki and Roy Andersson’s A Swedish Love Story as it refuses to play by conventional narrative rules.

UNCLE_KENT_2_Todd-RohalUNCLE KENT 2 (Todd Rohal) Kent Osborne, the mild-mannered animator whose mundane daily routines and love life fueled Joe Swanberg’s Uncle Kent, is desperate to make a sequel—an idea that excites precisely no one else. But when Swanberg gives Osborne his blessing to take the idea elsewhere, things takes a decidedly warped turn, as MFF favorite Todd Rohal takes over at the helm, steering the film deep into the realm of psychotronic dark comedy.

WESTERN_Bill_Turner-RossWESTERN (Bill and Turner Ross) In the neighboring towns of Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, Mexico, a rugged cattleman and a populist mayor navigate changing times as the specters of cartel violence and xenophobia threaten harmonious cultural and economic exchanges between the U.S. and Mexico.  Marked by muggy days and thunderous nights, this evocative and immersive documentary from the directors of 45365 and Tchoupitoulas delivers a thrilling mix of fascinating characters, riveting narrative, and extraordinary sensory detail.

MFF Unveils the First 10 Titles of Our 2015 Lineup!

We have begun unveiling the lineup for our 17th annual festival, which will take place May 6-10 in downtown Baltimore and include approximately 50 feature films and 12 short-film programs from around the world.

The first ten feature films announced for MFF 2015 include the area premieres of highly anticipated independent narrative and documentary features, including Stanley Nelson’s riveting Black Panthers documentary, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution; Kris Swanberg’s nuanced and emotionally resonant character study, Unexpected; Olivia Wyatt’s immersive look at Moken culture, Sailing a Sinking Sea; and Eugene Kotlyarenko’s delightfully anarchic rom-com, A Wonderful Cloud. Also just announced for MFF 2015 is the world premiere of Stephen Cone’s vibrant coming-of-age drama Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party.

Lineup announcements will continue over the next 2 weeks. The first ten titles announced for MFF 2015 are:

BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION (Stanley Nelson)

THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION (Stanley Nelson)

THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION (Stanley Nelson) Master documentarian Stanley Nelson has demonstrated an unparalleled ability to bring history to life with films such as Freedom Summer; The Murder of Emmett Till; and Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple.  Here he turns his lens on the revolutionary Black Panther Party and the various cultural forces that worked to support or destroy the group, creating an essential portrait of a singular radical moment in the American experience.

BREAKING A MONSTER (Luke Meyer)

BREAKING A MONSTER (Luke Meyer)

BREAKING A MONSTER (Luke Meyer) Viral-video sensation Unlocking the Truth, a teenage metal buzz-band from Brooklyn, navigate the bizarre current state of the record industry in this fascinating, fist-pumping, and often hilarious documentary. Fresh from its premiere at SXSW, this exceptional rock doc follows the band as they sign a major-label record deal and are suddenly caught up in an adult-driven world of contracts, tours, interviews, and branding. From Luke Meyer, co-director of MFF 2006 hit Darkon.

FUNNY BUNNY (Alison Bagnall)

FUNNY BUNNY (Alison Bagnall)

FUNNY BUNNY (Alison Bagnall) The writer/director of The Dish & the Spoon returns with this offbeat, infectious mix of comedy and drama. Kentucker Audley stars as an obesity-awareness canvasser who strikes up a friendship with a wealthy, emancipated 19-year-old named Titty (Olly Alexander) and the animal-rights-activist object of Titty’s desire, Ginger (Joslyn Jensen). Co-starring Josephine Decker, Louis Cancelmi, and Anna Margaret Hollyman.

HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY (Stephen Cone)

HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY (Stephen Cone)

HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY (Stephen Cone) A pool party celebrating the seventeenth birthday of Henry Gamble (Cole Doman), the son of a megachurch preacher (Pat Healy), sets the stage for this expertly observed ensemble drama. As sunny skies fade into moonlight, director Stephen Cone (The Wise Kids, Black Box) offers a subtle and insightful portrait of a community full of pressures and secrets —exploring identity, sexuality, and organized religion in the process. World premiere.

SAILING A SINKING SEA (Olivia Wyatt)

SAILING A SINKING SEA (Olivia Wyatt)

SAILING A SINKING SEA (Olivia Wyatt) This experimental documentary, which premiered at SXSW, looks at the traditional lifestyle of the Moken people, a seafaring community of Burma and Thailand. Olivia Wyatt’s gorgeous and immersive film transports viewers deep into the turquoise sea and onto thirteen different islands, giving us intimate access to a culture where shamans, mermaids, and sea gods collide with present-day practices. Executive-produced by Will Oldham.

STINKING HEAVEN (Nathan Silver)

STINKING HEAVEN (Nathan Silver)

STINKING HEAVEN (Nathan Silver) This ultra-dark comedy looks at a communal home for sober living in 1990s suburban New Jersey, which spirals into dysfunctional decline when an outsider arrives on the scene. Director Nathan Silver’s film boasts an uncompromising visual aesthetic that goes against the grain of contemporary indie filmmaking—not to mention a fantastic cast that includes Deragh Campbell, Hannah Gross, Keith Poulson, and Eleonore Hendricks.

​TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL (Jeffrey Schwarz)

​TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL (Jeffrey Schwarz)

TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL (Jeffrey Schwarz) Top-notch documentary biographer Jeffrey Schwarz has captivated MFF audiences with definitive looks at iconic personalities William Castle, Vito Russo, and Divine. Now he delivers the warm and intimate story of 1950s Hollywood heartthrob Tab Hunter, who simultaneously balanced a stratospheric career on the silver screen with a secret life as a gay man. From his rise to stardom to his reinvention as a cult-film star with John Waters—and a number of fascinating surprises—it’s all here.

UNEXPECTED (Kris Swanberg)

UNEXPECTED (Kris Swanberg)

UNEXPECTED (Kris Swanberg) High-school science teacher Samantha (Cobie Smulders), already dealing with stress and uncertainty as her low-income school prepares to close, finds out she’s pregnant. When she discovers her favorite student Jasmine (Gail Bean) is also with child, the two form a tight and unconventional bond. From Kris Swanberg (whose earlier features Empire Builder and It was great, but I was ready to come home. both screened within MFF) comes this refreshing character study that mines honest emotions and the quiet battlefields of love and friendship for real beauty and insight.

WELCOME TO LEITH (Michael Beach Nichols, Christopher K. Walker)

WELCOME TO LEITH (Michael Beach Nichols, Christopher K. Walker)

WELCOME TO LEITH (Michael Beach Nichols, Christopher K. Walker) This edge-of-your-seat documentary follows the arrival of notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb to a small town in North Dakota, where he promptly buys up land for like-minded collaborators and disrupts town council meetings, leading to fears that he plans a neo-Nazi takeover. As his behavior escalates further into the outrageous and threatens to get violent, a once-placid community must decide how to react.

A WONDERFUL CLOUD (Eugene Kotlyarenko)

A WONDERFUL CLOUD (Eugene Kotlyarenko)

A WONDERFUL CLOUD (Eugene Kotlyarenko) When his ex-girlfriend visits him in Los Angeles to resolve some lingering business entanglements, Eugene seeks to revisit old feelings, and introduces her to an LA populated by a wild cast of artists, scenesters, and eccentrics. Variety called this gleefully anarchic romantic comedy “a raucous, wholly improvised 21st-century Annie Hall.” Starring director Kotlyarenko (whose 0s & 1s had its world premiere at MFF 2010) and Kate Lyn Sheil (Sun Don’t Shine, House of Cards).

The MFF/WYPR Spotlight Series Presents BRASSLANDS with Filmmaker Bryan Chang on Tuesday 4/21!

BRASSLANDSposterThe MFF/WYPR Spotlight Series will present the award-winning music documentary BRASSLANDS on Tuesday 4/21 at 7:30pm at the MICA Brown Center!

The film will be presented by Bryan Chang, a member-owner of the Meerkat Media Collective. WYPR’s Tom Hall will conduct a 10 minute interview with Chang immediately following the screening for later airing on WYPR as part of the MFF/ WYPR Spotlight Series.

EVENT INFO:
The MFF/WYPR Spotlight Series presents BRASSLANDS
Tuesday 4/21
7:30pm
MICA Brown Center
$10/Free for Friends of the Festival and MICA students and faculty with ID

BRASSLANDS Synopsis
A tiny Serbian village explodes with brass cacophony and riotous celebration as more than half a million music fans descend upon Guča, the world’s largest trumpet competition. Amidst a cast of defending Serbian champions and struggling Roma Gypsies, an unlikely brass band from New York City, Zlatne Uste, voyages to represent the United States only a decade after NATO bombs rocked Belgrade. They will be the first Americans ever to compete at Guča. BRASSLANDS offers an intimate and sometimes unsettling portrait of how the hopes and fears of this diverse group of characters collide in their search for common ground and musical ecstasy.

Join the MFF 2015 Street Team!

IMG_3793The 17th annual Maryland Film Festival is coming up May 6-10, and we need your help to get the word out!  Join the MFF Street Team and help us distribute posters, postcards and yard signs in your area.

Here’s how to be a part of the 2015 Street Team:

  • Fill out this form indicating what neighborhoods in the Baltimore metropolitan area you will be able to cover.
  • Pick up the following materials from the Maryland Film Festival office. Volunteers must sign in their name when they pick up these materials:
    • yard signs
    • posters
    • postcards
  • Post these materials throughout the Baltimore metropolitan area.
    • IMPORTANT: Yard signs can only be posted on private property with permission. If yard signs are posted on public property (parks, medians, etc.) the film festival may be fined.
    • Please keep in mind that the posters are not waterproof. Please choose indoor locations if possible.
  • The volunteer coordinator will follow-up periodically to the team with an electronic survey where you can note the general locations you have placed materials (you don’t have to have precise addresses). We encourage you to take pictures of what/where you’ve posted and send them along via email as well!

Where & when to pick up materials:

Maryland Film Festival Main Office
107 E. Read Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

Monday-Friday – 10:30AM-6:00PM

Benefits & additional notes on being a part of the street team:

  • Volunteers will receive one voucher for materials placed in 20 locations (note: 20 postcards placed in one location does not earn one voucher. Likewise, multiple posters in a single building only count as one location.)
  • Only volunteers who have submitted the follow-up survey can receive vouchers at the festival.  Vouchers can be picked up at the beginning of the festival at the volunteer headquarters.

Please note: we have posters to distribute in the office now, and post cards and yard signs will be arriving soon!  Stay tuned for more information.

RESCHEDULED! MFF 2014’s EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL with Filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe 3/30!

evolution_of_a_criminal-01

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED!  Maryland Film Festival is proud to bring back to Baltimore one of MFF 2014’s most provocative, insightful, personal, and inspiring films, EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL! Director Darius Clark Monroe will be with us to introduce his work and answer your questions after the film!  This screening will take place on Monday, March 30th at 7:30pm at the MICA Brown Center.

Spotlight-Bubble_v2_600pxThis film will be part of the MFF/WYPR Spotlight Series and WYPR’s Sheilah Kast will conduct a 10 minute interview with Darius Clark Monroe following the screening. Click here for a listing of previous Spotlight Series podcasts: http://programs.wypr.org/podcast/maryland-film-festival/wypr-spotlight-series

Event Info:
Monday, March 30
7:30pm
MICA Brown Center
1301 W. Mt. Royal Avenue
$10/free for Friends of the Festival

How does a 16-year-old go from honors student to bank robber? Filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe explores the financial desperation that led him to turn to crime as a teenager in Texas, and returns to the scene of the crime to interview family members, close friends, and mentors to reflect on the aftermath.

Vital, thoughtful, and deeply personal, first-timer Darius Clark Monroe’s autobiographical doc stands as a testament to the power of movies to stir empathy.
— Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice

Its images, its shape, its tone, and its implications make it a terrific movie, as well as the birth of an artist.
— Richard Brody, The New Yorker

MFF 2014’s program notes:
Darius Clark Monroe’s EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL brings something new to the world of film. In examining a bank robbery committed by Texas high-school students, Monroe’s film interweaves suspenseful reenactment footage with candid interviews from people involved in every angle of the crime. We hear from participants, victims, family members, and law-enforcement officials, all very open in discussing how the crime impacted them at the time, and how they relate to it now. The twist? The filmmaker himself was one of the men involved in the robbery.

With an unflinching eye, Monroe dissects the various factors that drove him from a lighthearted childhood to this extreme act, giving us first-person access to both the facts and the emotional weight embedded in the planning, the crime, and its aftermath. In the process, he not only reconnects with the people with whom he robbed the bank, but also reaches out to people on the receiving end of the crime.

Executive-produced by Spike Lee and a hit at its SXSW 2014 premiere, EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL is a unique project delivered with great skill, confidence, and insight. Occupying its own niche at the intersection of documentary, true crime, and personal essay, it’s both a gripping viewing experience and a conversation-starter—about race, class, education, and the prison system, just for starters—of the highest order. (Eric Allen Hatch)

A Brief Interview with Filmmaker Jessica Oreck

JessicaOreck

Jessica Oreck (photo credit: IMDB)

Maryland Film Festival recently caught up with filmmaker and MFF alum Jessica Oreck whose film THE VANQUISHING OF THE WITCH BABA YAGA screens Tuesday 2/17 at the MICA Brown Center at 7:30pm.

Jessica’s earlier features include BEETLE QUEEN CONQUERS TOKYO (MFF 2009) and AATSINKI: THE STORY OF ARCTIC COWBOYS (MFF 2013).

What inspired you to create THE VANQUISHING OF THE WITCH BABA YAGA?

When I started this project more than six years ago, it was very specifically about the common practice of mushroom collecting in Eastern Europe. In my head it was a familiar investigation of a cultural phenomenon much like my first film Beetle Queen. But after I had spent nearly a year researching, the author Andrei Codrescu put me in touch with a bunch of his poet friends in Romania. I spent the first couple weeks of production with them in Transylvania, collecting mushrooms, wandering through forest, cooking, and talking about history, literature, art, censorship, and social dissidents. It was from these early conversations that the focus of the film was carved.

What is the biggest challenge you faced making this film?

There are always difficulties. Our camera started having speed and registration issues about halfway through production. And everyday we would pack a five-person crew into a crushed and cramped car in extreme heat, bumping over nearly non-existent roads. We would get stopped at borders, lose equipment in the mud, get food poisoning, get lost. But overall, I think those things sort of blur in my memory, and I am left with a misty, romantic nostalgia for that place and time.

Who inspires you with regard to filmmaking?

Oh, it runs the gamut: Claire Denis, Jean Painleve, Bert Haanstra, Werner Herzog, David Attenborough, Jan Svankmajer, old Hollywood Westerns, Pixar…

What are you listening to music-wise right now?

Always XTC. And my friend Paul Grimstad (who also composed most of the music for the film) makes the wildest pop music – so I am always bouncing around in his world too. But I’ve been on this Classic Country kick of late.

What is next for you?

I’m sort of taking a break from feature filmmaking for the time being.
But I am currently in production on some short educational content for the web. I really love making shorts and series. The return/investment ratio is so much more satisfying. And these days, the educational aspect is really what gets me up in the morning.

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THE VANQUISHING OF THE WITCH BABA YAGA screens on Tuesday 2/17 at 7:30pm at the MICA Brown Center. Jessica will be there to introduce the film and do a Q & A afterwards. Tickets will be sold at the door and are $10/free for MFF members and MICA students and faculty (with ID).

MFF Presents 3 Not-To-Miss Films!

babayaga

THE VANQUISHING OF THE WITCH BABA YAGA

Maryland Film Festival is pleased to reprise three incredible films from our 2014 festival in February and March: THE VANQUISHING OF THE WITCH BABA YAGA with filmmaker Jessica Oreck (2/17); EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL with filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe (3/3) and APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR with filmmaker Desiree Akhavan (3/30).  The filmmakers will be present to introduce each of the films and answer your questions afterwards!

These screenings will take place at the MICA Brown Center at 7:30pm and will be $10/free for current Friends of the Festival and MICA students/faculty (with ID).  In case you missed them at our festival last year, here’s a another chance to check out these three incredible films you won’t find in theaters:

Baba1-759x506Tuesday 2/17, 7:30pm
MFF 2014 Festival Reprise: THE VANQUISHING OF THE WITCH BABA YAGA with filmmaker Jessica Oreck
MICA Brown Center
Mystery/Experimental (2014). Filmmaker Jessica Oreck explores Eastern Europe’s haunted woodlands.
evolution_of_a_criminal-01Tuesday 3/3, 7:30pm
The MFF/WYPR Spotlight Series/2014 Festival Reprise: EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL with filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe
MICA Brown Center
Documentary (2014). After 10 years, filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe returns to his hometown to examine how his robbery of a bank affected his family, friends and other victims. Interview between WYPR’s Tom Hall and Darius Clark Monroe follows the screening for MFF/WYPR Spotlight Series.
appropriate-behaviorMonday 3/30, 7:30pm
MFF 2014 Festival Reprise: APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR with filmmaker Desiree Akhavan
7:30pm
MICA Brown Center
Drama/Romance (2014). Shirin struggles to become an ideal Persian daughter, a politically correct bisexual, and a hip young woman from Brooklyn.
Tickets for these screenings will go on sale at the MICA Brown Center on the day of the event starting at 6:30pm.  Plenty of seating is available and no reservations are required.  Current Friends of the Festival can check in with their names at the MFF table and get 2 free tickets to the screening on the night of the show. To join or renew your Friends of the Festival membership, click here.

MFF Alum Michael Tully presents PING PONG SUMMER at Stevenson University on Thursday 2/5!

Michael Tully

Michael Tully. Source: Getty Images.

We’re pleased to announce that MFF alum Michael Tully has been named Stevenson University Department of Film/Video’s Artist-in-Residence for Spring 2015!

Michael Tully grew up in Maryland and attended UMBC. All of Tully’s films have had their regional premiere at MFF, including his directorial debut COCAINE ANGEL (MFF 2006), SILVER JEW (MFF 2007), SEPTIEN (MFF 2011), and PING PONG SUMMER (MFF 2014).

Tully will be on the Stevenson campus Wednesday 2/4 – Friday 2/6 visiting classes and talking about his work. There will be a free screening of PING PONG SUMMER at the Stevenson University Soundstage on Thursday 2/5 at 7pm with a reception prior to the screening and a Q&A with Mr. Tully afterwards. Both the reception and the screening are free and open to the general public.

Click here for more information on the Stevenson University blog.

MFF 2015 All-Access Passes On Sale Now! Early Bird Discount Til 2/13!

All-AccessPasses2015EarlyBird_edited-1

We’re excited to announce that our popular MFF 2015 All-Access passes are now on sale to the general public at the discounted rate of $350 (regular price $375)! The early bird discount ends Friday 2/13. 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 and Alloy 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!
PRE-SALE DISCOUNT TO GENERAL PUBLIC (2/2-2/13): $350
ALL-ACCESS PASSES AFTER 2/13: $375

(Limited supply; get yours while supplies last!)

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!


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