Festival Programming Highlights #1: VITO and PILGRIM SONG

As we roll out the Baltimore premieres of over 100 new movies within MFF 2012 this weekend, we know it can be hard to make your final selections. Each day this week, MFF director of programming Eric Hatch will be highlighting a few titles he thinks you’re going to love.

Today’s programmer picks are the documentary VITO and the narrative PILGRIM SONG. Both have Friday daytime first screenings (to which our Friends of the Festival have FREE access!), and second screenings on Saturday.

VITO – A documentary about the inspiring story of gay-rights activist and Celluloid Closet author Vito Russo.

VITO is an incredibly moving documentary about Vito Russo, a lifelong film lover and activist who wrote The Celluloid Closet and co-founded ACT-UP. Courageous, full of personality, and unapologetically his own person, Vito was a true inspiration. Everyone I know who has seen this film has been blown away; file this one alongside The Times of Harvey Milk as an absolutely crucial documentary about gay activism in the United States. MFF regulars will remember director Jeffrey Schwarz from his William Castle documentary Spine Tingler! Head’s up: his next project is a documentary about Baltimore icon Divine!  VITO plays Friday 5/4 at 1:30pm and Saturday 5/5 at 2:30pm at the Charles Theater.  Click here for tickets.

PILGRIM SONG is an atmospheric, sensory-rich mix of comedy and drama by Martha Stephens.

PILGRIM SONG is an exquisitely shot drama with plenty of laughter along the way. Director Martha Stephens tells the story of a laid-off teacher in a sagging relationship who sets off on a solitary hike along a Kentucky trail. Along the way, he meets a cast of characters both poignant and humorous, worthy of comparison to the films of Kelly Reichardt (especially Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy) and Jim Jarmusch. Fresh from its world premiere at SXSW 2012, Pilgrim Song is a true gem of American indie filmmaking.  PILGRIM SONG plays Friday 5/4 at 2:30pm and Saturday 5/5 at 4:30pm at the Charles Theater.  Click here for tickets.

-Eric Hatch, Director of Programming


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