Posts Tagged 'Joe Berlinger'

Announcing International Titles, Rare Classics, and More

Maryland Film Festival (May 3-6 in downtown Baltimore) continues to roll out its 2012 line-up with films from Argentina, Turkey, Colombia, South Africa, and Iceland, our vintage silent and 3D titles, as well as a dozen more new narrative and documentary features by some of the most exciting names in American independent film.

We’ve got a few titles yet to unveil, including our Opening Night and Closing Night films, 8 jam-packed shorts programs, and a few very exciting, late-breaking additions. But following on the heels of two dozen already-announced features, this announcement of 18 more features from around the world reveals the bulk of Maryland Film Festival’s 2012 line-up.

Keep checking www.mdfilmfest.com for breaking news and our final round of exciting announcements.

THE NEWLY ANNOUNCED TITLES ARE:

THE BLACK BALLOON (Josh and Benny Safdie)
This comedic and touching journey of a balloon through present-day New York City comes to us courtesy of the inimitable Safdie brothers (of MFF 2010’s DADDY LONGLEGS). The Safdies have paired their latest short with classic titles THE RED BALLOON, THE BALLOONATIC, and THE PINCUSHION MAN for a charming feature-length program of balloon-themed shorts.

ETHEL (Rory Kennedy)
Rory Kennedy’s intimate documentary about her mother Ethel combines rich archival footage with unprecedented private access to deliver a film that is both personal homage and vital historical document all at once.

FRANCINE (Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky)
Melissa Leo stars in this riveting, artful drama about a woman just released from prison, having difficulty finding work and positive human relationships in the outside world. As interacting with humans becomes more difficult, she turns to animals for solace. From the directors of the documentary THE PATRON SAINTS, also screening within MFF 2012.

FROM MORNING TILL MIDNIGHT (directed by Karl Heinz Martin; presented by Alloy Orchestra)
Festival favorites Alloy Orchestra return with their new score to this rediscovered treasure of 1920s German Expressionist cinema.

THE INTERNATIONAL SIGN FOR CHOKING (Zach Weintraub)
Two 20-something travelers in neighboring rooms of the same boarding house in Buenos Aires discover they’re both Americans, sparking an unusual relationship. This quiet, exquisitely shot film stars Sophia Takal (MFF 2011’s GREEN).

JEFF (Chris James Thompson)
This experimental hybrid of narrative and documentary forms mixes sequences of quiet moments in the life of a fictional Jeffrey Dahmer with revelatory real-life interviews. Three lives forever changed by “Jeff” speak out: the older neighbor who trusted him, the medical examiner who identified the victims, and the interrogator who got the killer’s confession.

LOVE FREE OR DIE (Macky Alston)
Gene Robinson became the first openly gay bishop when elected by the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire in June 2003, beginning a long journey for acceptance and respect. This heartfelt and moving documentary tells his real-life story.

ONCE UPON A TIME IN ANATOLIA (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
The master director of THREE MONKEYS, CLIMATES, and DISTANT (winner of the grand jury prize at Cannes in 2003) takes his aesthetic to the next level with this film about a group of men driving through rural Turkey in search of a corpse. Notes of noir, drama, thriller, and social satire blend into an exquisite film not soon forgotten.

PORFIRIO (Alejandro Landes)
In this visionary film from Colombia, a wheelchair-bound man who made international headlines stars as himself in a bold retelling of his real-life story. Paralyzed from the waist down by a policeman’s bullet, we meet Porfirio as he ekes out a modest living reselling cell-phone minutes, relying on his son and neighbor for day-to-day care. Slowly, it becomes clear that Porfirio has been planning a drastic move to better his lot in life.

RECONVERGENCE (Edward Tyndall)
This experimental documentary juxtaposes the philosophies of four very different thinkers whose life and work explores the nature of identity, history, and memory: a neuroscientist, a poet, a naturalist, and museum curator. Visually splendid and intricately edited, an intriguing web of connected ideas emerges.

SEE YOU SOON AGAIN (Lukas Stepanik, Bernadette Wegenstein)
For fifty years, Holocaust survivor Leo Bretholz has shared his story with students and community groups throughout the Baltimore area and beyond. How do students today receive his message—and what impact does continually retelling such an incredibly painful and personal story have on a person?

SUPPORTING CHARACTERS (Daniel Schechter)
This sharp ensemble film mixes comedy, drama, and romance as it introduces us to Nick (Alex Karpovsky) and Darryl (Tarik Lowe), a team of film editors in New York City with complicated personal lives. Co-stars include Sophia Takal, Melonie Diaz, Kevin Corrigan, and Lena Dunham.

TCHOUPITOULAS (Bill and Turner Ross)
In this visionary documentary, three young boys venture into the New Orleans night, showing us all the sounds, colors, and evocative hidden corners of that culture-rich city with fresh young eyes. From the directors of the remarkable 45365.

THOSE REDHEADS FROM SEATTLE (Lewis R. Foster; presented in two-projector 3D!)
Maryland Film Festival is dedicated to presenting a different vintage 3D film each festival, and our tradition lives on with this 1953 musical starring Rhonda Fleming, Gene Barry, and Agnes Moorehead.

UNDER AFRICAN SKIES (Joe Berlinger)
From the co-director of METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER and the PARADISE LOST series comes this documentary look at the making of Paul Simon’s classic Graceland album—a story sometimes contentious, but frequently ecstatic.

V/H/S (omnibus)
A group of burglars seek out a cache of disturbing VHS tapes they plan to resell. But the contents of the tapes are even more unsettling than they expected. This omnibus horror film contains new work from, among others Joe Swanberg and Ti West.

VERY EXTREMELY DANGEROUS (Paul Duane)
Jerry McGill’s life has been that of a rock-and-roll outlaw, performing with rock and country royalty and having more than his share of brushes with the law. Now in his 70s, he’s fighting to stay on top of his health and get back in the studio. This riveting documentary takes an unflinching look at a man who refuses to be tamed.

VOLCANO (Rúnar Rúnarsson)
With masterful assurance, Rúnar Rúnarsson’s feature debut Volcano offers a character study of a curmudgeonly Reykjavik retiree that probes life’s banal indignities for dark comedy, drama, and, ultimately, cosmic truth. Fans of Mike Leigh and the Dardenne Brothers take note.

Note for press: Festival artwork and images for these titles are available for download here:

http://mdfilmfest.com/press_images.cfm

Academy Award Nods to MFF Documentary Alums Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky, Marshall Curry

PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY by MFF Alums Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky

After over 20 years of painstaking work, MFF Alums Joe Berliner and Bruce Sinofsky have received a Best Documentary Academy Award nomination for their film PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY, the conclusion of the award-winning trilogy on the West Memphis Three, a trio of Arkansas teenagers who were found guilty of a triple homicide despite questionable evidence.

MFF Alums Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger

Arriving on the scene just days after the 1993 arrests, the filmmakers initially assumed they were making a documentary about guilty teenagers. But, after embedding themselves in the community prior to the 1994 trials, they came to question the guilt of the West Memphis 3 and, by the time the trials were over, they were convinced that Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were the victims of a modern-day witch hunt.

Also receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary is MFF alum Marshall Curry for his film IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT.

In December 2005, Daniel McGowan was arrested by Federal agents in a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the Earth Liberation Front– a group the FBI has called America’s “number one domestic terrorism threat.”

For years, the ELF—operating in separate anonymous cells without any central leadership—had launched spectacular arsons against dozens of businesses they accused of destroying the environment: timber companies, SUV dealerships, wild horse slaughterhouses, and a $12 million ski lodge at Vail, Colorado.

IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of this ELF cell, by focusing on the transformation and radicalization of one of its members.

IN DARKNESS by Agnieszka Holland

Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland (director of several films, among which include WASHINGTON SQUARE and two episodes of The Wire, shot in Baltimore) has received a Foreign Language Film Academy Award nomination for her new film, IN DARKNESS.

During World War II, numerous Jews hid from Nazis in the underground sewer systems of major cities. This veritable labyrinth of underground passages, full of rats and waste, provided a safe haven as the Nazis starved and ultimately liquidated the ghettos.  Based on a true story, IN DARKNESS portrays this subterranean life through the experiences of Lvov sewer worker Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz) and the people he meets on his rounds.

Sundance Update: WEST OF MEMPHIS Builds on Legacy of MFF Alums Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky

Jed was in attendance for the high profile 2012 Sundance documentary screening of WEST OF MEMPHIS, the fourth film made about the infamous West Memphis Three murder trial.  This story was first chronicled in the acclaimed HBO documentary series PARADISE LOST made by MFF alums Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky.

With the help of filmmaker Peter Jackson, the investigation of the West Memphis Three was able to continue, and investigators brought DNA information to light that proved the men who had been convicted of the crimes (Jessie Misskelley Jr., Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols) were wrongly imprisoned for the last 17 years.

After the screening, Jed got this picture of the crew (from left to right): film director Amy Berg, followed by the great Peter Jackson in the checked shirt, followed by his longtime partner Fran Walsh (producer, writer, composer, and wife) who is holding the hand of Lorri Davis, a principal in the film and advocate for the West Memphis Three. To Lorri’s left is Damien Echols, the one member of the West Memphis Three who was sentenced to death. He was on death row for 17 years, ending last August when the State of Arkansas released them.

The three great PARADISE LOST films were made over 17 years and are available On Demand now.

From Left to Right: Amy Berg (director), Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Lori Davis, Damien Echols



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