Archive for the 'Sundance Film Festival' Category

Jed’s Sundance Updates #5: Bobcat Goldthwait’s CALL ME LUCKY


L to R: Bob Crimmins and Bobcat Goldthwait. Photo credit: Jed Dietz.

Long-time MFF alum Bobcat Goldthwait’s new documentary CALL ME LUCKY honors the career and life of comedian Bob Crimmins, a sort of below-the-radar-for most of us Lenny Bruce for our time. He’s funny and insightful and flares a kind of rage that one sees in stand up comedy from time to time. But then the story kicks in.  An emotionally powerful film, beautifully shot and structured, Goldthwait continues to grow and startle as a filmmaker.


Bobcat and Crimmins receive a standing ovation at Sundance 2015. Photo credit: Jed Dietz.

Goldthwait has presented films at several of our past festivals. His found footage horror film WILLOW CREEK played within MFF 2013, GOD BLESS AMERICA played within MFF 2011, and WORLD’S GREATEST DAD starring Robin Williams played within MFF 2009.  His film SLEEPING DOGS LIE was the John Waters pick for MFF 2007.

Stay tuned for more updates from Sundance 2015 on the MFF blog!


Based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright’s expose of the highly controlled world of Scientology, Alex Gibney’s new documentary GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF is an extraordinary chronicle.


The film features interviews with eight former members of the Church of Scientology, some of whom are pictured above.  This photo was taken at the Q & A following the screening.


Above is Lawrence Wright who wrote the book this documentary is based on, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief.


Pictured above is Oscar-winning director and MFF alum Alex Gibney taking questions after the screening of his film. Gibney is an MFF alum for multiple films including MAGIC TRIP, ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOMGONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON, and CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY.  He also guest-presented Serbian film director Dušan Makavejev’s WR: MYSTERIES OF THE ORGANISM (1971) within the 2008 Maryland Film Festival.

Stay tuned for more updates from Sundance 2015 on the MFF blog!

Jed’s Sundance Updates #3: Kris Swanberg and Rodrigo Garcia

Sundance 2015 is now in full swing and Jed Dietz has been checking out the latest film offerings from MFF filmmaker alums like Kris Swanberg whose film UNEXPECTED just had its world premiere, and Rodrigo Garcia whose film LAST DAYS IN THE DESERT just opened at Sundance.

Here are his updates:


Pictured above, MFF alum Kris Swanberg (far left) and cast members on stage for Q & A after the successful premiere of UNEXPECTED, her beautifully wrought film about two women dealing with their first pregnancy. Amazing.

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Pictured above, MFF alum and winner of the Maryland Filmmaker Fellowship Rodrigo Garcia (right) takes questions with Ewan McGregor (center) who plays both Jesus and Satan in LAST DAYS IN THE DESERT, a remarkable, improbable, beautiful and profoundly spiritual film about the time late in his life that Jesus spent in the dessert facing temptation and confronting his responsibilities.

Stay tuned for more updates from Sundance 2015 on the MFF blog!

Jed’s Sundance Updates #2!

Jed reports back from Sundance 2015 where he has been taking in films and catching up with MFF alums, filmmakers and other folks in attendance at the festival.


Pictured above, acclaimed filmmaker and MFF alum Ramin Bahrani (whose film CHOP SHOP played within MFF 2008) discusses his current film 99 HOMES, a horrifying portrayal of the retail real estate business at its most unfettered. The film stars Mike Shannon and Andrew Garfield.


Pictured above is Donald Margulies, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and adapter of David Lipsky‘s 2008 memoir Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, about the five unforgettable days the Rolling Stone editor spent with iconic writer David Foster Wallace after the publication of Infinite Jest. This photo was taken after the Q&A for THE END OF THE TOUR starring Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace and Jesse Eisenberg as David Lipsky.

Though CenterStage has staged some of Marguiles’ work, Jed hadn’t seen the playwright since his days as a student in a theater group Jed ran at John Dewey High School in Brooklyn.

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Above is a photo from the Q & A after the screening of THE END OF THE TOUR, where the film’s director James Ponsoldt (THE SPECTACULAR NOW) answers questions. L to R: Jesse Eisenberg, Donald Margulies, Jason Segel, James Ponsoldt.

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Pictured above is THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL writer/director Marielle Heller, winner of the 2012 Maryland Filmmaker Fellowship for her script for this film, gathering her cast for Q & A. Marielle is holding the mic and Kristen Wiig, remarkable newcomer Bel Powley (who plays Minnie in the film) and Alexander Skarsgård are to Marielle’s left.

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Pictured above, filmmakers Amy Ziering, far left, and MFF alum Kirby Dick, far right, taking questions with some of the subjects of their infuriating documentary THE HUNTING GROUND about sexual assault on college campuses and the institutional resistance to dealing with it. Three of the students who are using Title IX to change the campuses are between them. Senators Boxer and Gillibrand were in the audience for the screening and Jed reports that “the whole room was ready to engage.” Kirby Dick was the recipient of the 1998 Maryland Filmmakers Fellowship for BEYOND THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE.

Stay tuned for more updates from Sundance 2015 on the MFF blog!

Jed’s Sundance Updates #1 – Robert Redford and Liz Garbus on Opening Night of Sundance 2015


Robert Redford. Photo by Jed Dietz.

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival is now in full swing, and MFF director Jed Dietz is onsite in Park City, UT reporting back to us. Pictured above, Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford introduces MFF alum Liz Garbus‘ new documentary on Nina Simone, WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? which played after Bryan Buckley‘s comedy THE BRONZE on Opening Night of the Sundance Film Festival.

Liz Garbus.

Liz Garbus. Photo by Jed Dietz.

Liz Garbus is an Emmy Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated director and producer. Her gripping death penalty documentary THE EXECUTION OF WANDA JEAN played within MFF 2002. Garbus is also co-founder of Moxie Firecracker Films with fellow MFF alum Rory Kennedy.

After the Sundance 2015 Opening Night screening of WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? music star John Legend made an unannounced appearance and covered 3 of Nina Simone’s songs.

Stay tuned to the MFF blog for more photos and updates from Jed’s trip to Sundance 2015!