The Maryland Film Festival has exclusively shared with Indiewire its first ten film selections for its 18th annual festival taking place from May 4-8 in Baltimore’s Station North Arts and Entertainment District. This first section of the lineup includes a number of festival favorites from around the world, including Athina Rachel Tsangari’s “Chevalier” and Anna Rose Holmer’s “The Fits.” Other standouts include Craig Atkinson’s documentary “Do Not Resist” and Ben Wheatley’s “High-Rise.”
This year’s festival will also present a vintage silent film with live musical accompaniment performed and composed by the renowned Alloy Orchestra. This year’s selection is the recently restored print of “L’inhumaine,” “a groundbreaking and controversial French science fiction film with some of the most avant-garde European artists of the time.”
This year’s festival includes 120 feature-length and short films of all genres that “demonstrate the possibilities of cinema. Check out the first ten titles below, with all synopses provided by the festival.
“Chevalier” (Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece) When a group of men gather on a luxury yacht, a spontaneous mind game expands into an internecine struggle fueled by domination and shame —a darkly comedic look at competition and male ego.
“Collective: Unconscious” (Lily Baldwin, Frances Bodomo, Daniel Patrick Carbone, Josephine Decker, Lauren Wolkstein) Five independent filmmakers take a dream by another member of the collective and bring it to vivid life as a short film interwoven into a hypnotic and compelling new whole (Fresh from its premiere at SXSW 2016).
“Do Not Resist” (Craig Atkinson) Recent protests in Ferguson, Baltimore, and many other cities around the country have brought into focus a startling phenomenon: the flow of military equipment and weaponry to local police forces. This jaw-dropping documentary probes a disturbing nationwide trend—one with high financial stakes and powerful interests at its core.
“The Fits” (Anna Rose Holmer) An 11-year-old boxer finds a new passion when she joins a dance drill squad—but as her new teammates start experiencing bizarre fainting episodes, her life takes a mysterious turn (Premiered at Venice and screened in Sundance 2016’s NEXT FEST).
“High-Rise” (Ben Wheatley, UK) The residents of a new luxury apartment tower develop their own social pecking order—one that quickly takes a precipitous dive into class warfare and chaos. Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, and Elisabeth Moss star in this adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s novel, from the director of “Kill List” and “A Field in England.”
“How Heavy This Hammer” (Kazik Radwanski, Canada): On the surface, married father-of-two Erwin looks like a functioning member of society. But the deeper we look into his life, from his obsessive marathon sessions of computer fantasy games, to the extreme irritation with which he experiences most real-world interactions, we see a troubled man-child who’s barely getting by.
“Nuts” (Penny Lane) This inventive documentary tells the true story of John Romulus Brinkley, a Kansas doctor who tried to treat impotence by transplanting goat testicles into men and went on to become a player in state politics and the early days of radio. The director of “Our Nixon” returns with another fresh approach to a unique narrative.
“Salero” (Mike Plunkett) This sumptuous, meditative documentary transports viewers to Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. There we meet a traditional salt gatherer whose generations-deep lifestyle is on the brink of change, with the discovery of a precious mineral bringing international attention and big-money interests to the remote region.
“Shu-De!” (Michael R. Faulkner) When Baltimore-based beatboxer and vocal percussionist Shodekeh meets the Alash Ensemble, masters of the art of Tuvan throat singing, his life and art take on an exciting new dimension. This joyous, exploratory documentary follows him on his travels to Kyzyl, Tuva, to study their music and culture, and participate in a prestigious music festival.
“Slash” (Clay Liford) Two high-school students—shy and awkward Neil (Michael Johnston) and brash, confident Julia (Hannah Marks)—form a unlikely bond when they find they both publish work in an adult forum for erotic fan fiction. But their relationship becomes more complex once they both come to the attention of the site’s moderator, Denis (Michael Ian Black).
Tickets go on sale in April and can be purchased online, by phone or on-site at the festival box office. All-access passes to the Maryland Film Festival are on sale now for $375 and can be purchased by calling 410-752-8083.