Sundance Update #4 – I USED TO BE DARKER and FRUITVALE

Film still from Baltimore native Matt Porterfield's I USED TO BE DARKER. 2013, 90 minutes, color, U.S.A., Feature.

Film still from Baltimore native Matt Porterfield’s I USED TO BE DARKER. 2013, 90 minutes, color, U.S.A., Feature.

The Baltimore presence has been exceptionally strong in Park City this year. Baltimore pride was strongly felt at Matt Porterfield‘s 2013 Sundance debut of I USED TO BE DARKER, a wonderful film about the repercussions of rips in the family fabric as people find each other and let each other go.  Shot in Maryland, cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier beautifully portrays the unfolding revelations of this film against a suburban Baltimore landscape.

Musician and cast member Kim Taylor performing at the I USED TO BE DARKER party.

Kim Taylor at the I USED TO BE DARKER after-party.

This picture (right) is of musician and cast member Kim Taylor performing at the I USED TO BE DARKER after-party.  Ned Oldham, cast member and former Roland Park Public School faculty member,  also performed.

Another classic Baltimore moment happened when I ran into Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck coming out of a screening.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

There was lots of chatter from him and his group (or “entourage,” as they say in  Sundance-speak) about my Baltimore Ravens hat. I guess Joe Flacco couldn’t be here because he’s still working.

Then, another Baltimore moment: while waiting in line for a screening of the amazing FRUITVALE with critics Elvis Mitchell, Todd McCarthy and Scott Foundas, I ran into Tom Rothman and his daughter. Tom is a long-time Sundance Board Member and is on the Dramatic Jury this year.   Tom was also one of the honorees at our very first MFF Open Conversation fundraiser, alongside his father Donald and brother John. The event “The Rothmans: An Insider’s Look at the Movie Business” took place in October 2007.

Film still from FRUITVALE. 013, 90 minutes, color, U.S.A., U.S. Dramatic.

Film still from FRUITVALE. 2013, 90 minutes, color, U.S.A., Drama.

FRUITVALE is a film by first-time feature filmmaker Ryan Coogler and it dramatizes a tragic incident on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. The script was developed at the 2012 Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab and the remarkable cast features Octavia Spencer (Oscar winner for THE HELP), Michael B. Jordan (Wallace from the first season of TV’s The Wire), Melonie Diaz, Ahna O’Reilly, Kevin Durand and Chad Michael Murray.

Tony Forman, an early supporter of FRUITVALE, kicked the party up several notches with bottles of champagne and Bordeaux from his personal collection. Creative Capitals creator and chief Ruby Lerner (a Goucher alum) was there, as well as JHU student Clair Richardson, there on her second JHU/Sundance trek, and her parents. Her dad, Paul, is CEO of Sundance Cinemas. Marcus Hu from Strand Releasing was also there and had already been in touch with John Waters about Matt‘s film.

– Jed Dietz, MFF Director


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