Posts Tagged '2012 Maryland Film Festival'

Festival Programming Highlights #5: THE BLACK BALLOON; PORFIRIO; OSLO, AUGUST 31st

For today’s programming picks, I wanted to highlight three exceptional titles that are only screening once during MFF 2012. If you’re intrigued by these films, be sure to flag their single screenings as must-sees on your schedule!



If I could sit and watch one program during the festival (instead of running around like a chicken with its head cut off), it would probably be this one. 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 (aka Balloon Land) for a charming feature-length program of balloon-themed shorts. This is something really different, and I’m so glad it came together.  THE BLACK BALLOON plays Sunday 5/6 at 4:30pm at the Charles Theater.



A paralyzed Bogota man, upset that his government benefits aren’t forthcoming, methodically plots a drastic action. Amazingly, not only is this dramatic film based on a true story, but also the real-life protagonist plays himself (as do many of his friends and relatives). I don’t like throwing around the phrase “brave performance” lightly, but this one more than qualifies. This film, alongside Yorgos Lanthimos-starring ATTENBERG, deserves a DOGTOOTH alert, as that film’s cinematographer also shot this one. I’d also recommend it to anyone who responded to past MFF international titles as different as Argentina’s LIVERPOOL and Thailand’s MUNDANE HISTORY, films that manage to be quiet, patient, subversive, and beautiful all at once.  PORFIRIO plays Saturday 5/5 at 5:00pm.



I loved REPRISE, the debut film by Joachim Trier, a barbed drama about a pair of aspiring authors harboring misogynistic hang-ups. Based upon the same novel as Louis Malle’s classic THE FIRE WITHIN, OSLO follows a recovering addict on his first day-leave from a rehab facility. Astonishing lead Anders Danielsen Lie’s deeply expressive face fills the screen with feeling, equal parts bemused and pained by the new ways family and old friends react to him. Nelson Kim sums it up beautifully for ace film blog Hammer to Nail: “Though the film is all about disappointment and failure, as a work of art, it’s a triumphant success. Trier has the rare gift of creating cinematic scenes and sequences that are like perfectly achieved pop songs; certain passages in OSLO…are condensations of style and story and emotion that linger in your consciousness like rooms you’ve lived in and people you once loved.”  OSLO, AUGUST 31st plays Saturday 5/5 at 10:00pm at the Charles Theater.

– Eric Hatch, Director of Programming

Festival Programming Highlights #4: WILD IN THE STREETS; COME BACK, AFRICA; and SUN DON’T SHINE

As the 2012 Maryland Film Festival starts tonight (gulp), let’s step up our programmer’s picks. Here’s not two, but three new picks from MFF Director of Programming Eric Hatch.

WILD IN THE STREETS directed by Peter Baxter

Those who know me know that I wouldn’t be recommending a sports documentary unless it was something special. WILD IN THE STREETS is something special. Since medieval times, hundreds of people in the small UK town of Ashbourne have played a game. Anything goes for days, as massive swarms of people huddle a ball to goals miles away. Meanwhile, the game fights for survival as suburban homogenization creeps into the area. This very cool documentary is, on some level, about an all-consuming passion for sport, and appealing so, but the larger issues of community and tradition hold a universal appeal.  WILD IN THE STREETS plays on Friday 5/4 at 7:00pm at the WindUp Space and again on Saturday 5/5 at 1:30pm at the Charles Theater.

SUN DON'T SHINE directed by Amy Seimetz

If you share my fascination with ’60s and ’70s renegade filmmaking, well… this one’s for us. Director Amy Seimetz (who co-starred in MFF 2011’s SMALL POND, among many other credits in front of the camera) cites inspirations like A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE and TWO-LANE BLACKTOP, and it shows. This sweaty, grimy, swampy underground thriller is Florida-set and 16mm-shot, and would, not incidentally, pair very well with John Waters’ MFF 2012 pick, Barbara Loden’s 1970 feature, WANDA.  SUN DON’T SHINE plays on Friday 5/4 at 5:00pm and again on Saturday 5/5 at 7:30pm at the Charles Theater.

COME BACK, AFRICA directed by Lionel Rogosin

Those who caught ON THE BOWERY, the 1950s docu-fiction piece that played recently as part of the ever-excellent Revival Series at the Charles Theater, might be amazed that COME BACK, AFRICA comes from the same director. But Lionel Rogosin helmed this South African film, perhaps best-known for its break-out musical performances by Miriam Makeba, just three years after his stark New York-set drama. Both films were shot on location with a mixture of professional and amateur performers, with beautiful results. We’re very proud to be showcasing a beautifully restored 35mm print of this anti-Apartheid classic, to be presented by our friends Amy Heller and Dennis Doros of Milestone Films, who also brought us 2007’s restored print of KILLER OF SHEEP.

– Eric Hatch, Director of Programming

Where to Grab a Bite to Eat at the 2012 Maryland Film Festival!


The 2012 Maryland Film Festival opens TOMORROW NIGHT!!  We want you to make sure you have a fantastic time with us this weekend, and that your belly is full and happy! Here are some suggestions for food options for your dining pleasure with us this weekend:

Tapas Teatro, located next to the Charles Theater at 1711 N. Charles Street, will open at noon on Friday and Saturday and will be offering special seating under the tent for film festival attendees.

Sophie’s Crepes, located next to the Charles Theater, will be offering delicious sweet and savory crepes to festival goers during the Maryland Film Festival.

Bohemian Cafe, located one block north of the Charles Theater at 1821 N. Charles Street will be offering a 10% discount to festival attendees – just show your badge or a ticket stub to get the deal!

Metro Gallery will be offering drink specials for Friends of the Festival and Festival Badge Holders from 6-8pm on Friday and Saturday of the Film Festival.

Look for more information about deals for festival attendees in the Tent Village at the Festival this weekend!

Also, check out the Baltimore Sun‘s coverage of the 2012 Maryland Film Festival – including this excellent dining guide for this weekend’s film goers!

Click here for the Baltimore Sun‘s 2012 Film Fest Dining Guide!

Click here for the Baltimore Sun’s list of Station North Restaurants!

Festival Programming Highlights #3: THE SOURCE and VOLCANO

Here are another pair of programmer’s picks from MFF Director of Programming Eric Hatch.

Both titles screen Friday day (screenings to which our Friends of the Festival have FREE access!), and have second screenings later in the festival.


THE SOURCE, directed by Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos

Here’s a documentary full of humor, tragedy, and life. Our subject is The Source Family, a commune (some, being less kind, would say “cult”) that thrived during L.A.’s late ‘60s/early ‘70s hippie era. Formed around vegetarian restaurateur Father Yod, The Source Family counted major celebrities among their friends, self-released enduring psychedelic rock albums, and developed their own brand of spirituality (still practiced by some today). But along the way, they also became increasingly cut off from mainstream society in ways that had serious negative consequences. And for Father Yod, there was a major twist coming. Even knowing some of the Source Family’s story headed into the theater, I found this documentary endlessly entertaining and moving.  THE SOURCE plays Friday 5/4 at 2pm and Saturday 5/5 at 6:30pm at the Charles Theater.


VOLCANO directed by Rúnar Rúnarsson

I’ve been recommending this Icelandic drama, certainly one of my favorite foreign films in our line-up, to fans of Mike Leigh (NAKED, SECRETS & LIES, ANOTHER YEAR); as with Leigh’s work, it expertly offers one part serious drama, one part satiric character study. VOLCANO follows a recent retiree, Hannes, who begins losing the respect of his adult children when his post-employment life proves listless and unproductive—yet his domineering treatment of his doting wife continues unabated. When she takes ill, everyone’s life enters a new state of crisis. Can Hannes rise to the occasion? As a bonus, this screening will also include the Icelandic short film REVOLUTION REYKJAVIK, fresh from the renowned New Directors/New Films festival.  VOLCANO and REVOLUTION REYKJAVIK play on Friday 5/4 at 11:30am and Sunday 5/6 at 11:00am at the Charles Theater.

– Eric Hatch, Director of Programming

2012 Maryland Film Festival Coverage Media Frenzy this Week!!

Illustration by Alex Fine, courtesy of City Paper.

The upcoming 2012 Maryland Film Festival has been all over the press this week with festival previews on the web, in the papers, on the air waves!

Baltimore magazine just released its 2012 Festival coverage in an a

rticle titled “The MFF: The Most Cinematastic Time of the Year!” with

Max Weiss‘ reviews for 2012 MDFF selections PILGRIM SONG; COME BACK, AFRICA; and VITO! 

Click here to read the full article in Baltimore magazine!

The City Paper‘s guide to the 2012 Maryland Film Fest, “Film Fest Frenzy,” was released online today, and will hit the streets in hardcopy tomorrow!

Here’s a taste of what the City Paper‘s 2012 Festival Guide has to say about our line up:

“The think pieces are flying regarding the future of film. Filmmakers and other cinephiles are shaking their heads about the fate of actual film stock-the digital revolution has finally overtaken 35 mm, bringing with it affordability and versatility and the prospect for easier distribution, but whisking away that almost alchemical magic of capturing light on chemical-coated celluloid and later projecting light through it. Meanwhile, the forces that forever altered the music business in the ’00s are starting to have the same game-changing effects on the movie biz, leaving the old system of blockbusters, wily indies, theatrical distribution, and back-end home-video profits gasping and scrambling to adapt. Depending on which pieces you read, the prognosis isn’t often rosy…”

Click here for the full City Paper article!

Bernadette Wegenstein

This Thursday, Maryland Film Festival Director Jed Dietz will be interviewed by Marty Bass for WJZ’s “Coffee With” program, along with Austrian linguist and filmmaker Bernadette Wegenstein.  Parts of the interview will air on news segments throughout the day, and the full interview will be posted on the “Coffee With” website.

On Friday, Jed Dietz and former Baltimore Sun film critic Michael Sragow will hit the radio waves with their monthly movie mash up on WYPR 88.1 FM’s Maryland Morning.  You won’t want to miss Friday’s show, which will focus on Jed and Michael’s picks for the upcoming 2012 Festival!

Tune in to 88.1FM from 9am to 10am on Friday, May 4th for the insider scoop on industry news, movies, and entertainment, and the must-see movies of the 2012 Maryland Film Festival!  If you miss the show, the podcast will be available on the Maryland Morning website.

Advance Online Tickets for Opening Night End TOMORROW (Wednesday 5/2) at 11:30pm!!

Ticket-buying tip: advance online tickets for MFF 2012’s Opening Night end *tomorrow* (Wednesday) at 11:30pm. Advance online tickets for all other MFF 2012 screenings will end Thursday at 11:30pm. More tickets to all events will be available at our box office, but we do suggest advance tickets for all shows!

Festival Programming Highlights #2: ATTENBERG and THE PATRON SAINTS

Each day leading up to the festival, director of programming Eric Hatch is highlighting a pair of titles in our line-up for your consideration.

Ariane Labed and Evangelia Randou star in ATTENBERG.

ATTENBERG – One of the biggest surprise hits in MFF history was 2010’s Greek dark comedy DOGTOOTH, which went on to an Academy Award nomination for best foreign picture and had one of its best theatrical runs in the country right here in Baltimore. Much of that team (including DOGTOOTH director Yorgos Lanthimos, who co-stars here) is back for Athina Rachel Tsangari’s ATTENBERG, an appropriately offbeat drama about a woman with a lot of distance between herself and “normal” social behavior. As she sits with her dying father, trading philosophies and plotting to fulfill his dying wish, she begins to reconsider the ways she’s approached friendship and romance. Citing inspirations as quirky as Monty Python and nature documentaries, we think we detect some notes of early Fassbinder here as well.

THE PATRON SAINTS gives us a poignant look into the daily lives of residents of a home for the aged and disabled.

THE PATRON SAINTS – This one won’t be for everyone, but many of you will absolutely love it; it’s unquestionably among the very best and most provocative two or three films I saw at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival in 2011—and I watched 30 movies there, so that’s saying something. A documentary that looks at residents of a nursing home—most, but not all, elderly—the film becomes an essay of sorts on the human mind, and the strange, wonderful, horrible things that it produces when it’s in an unfettered and compromised state. It’s a sad and unnerving film at moments, humorous at others, but with a very compassionate tone running underneath it all from start to finish. The directing duo behind this film have had a busy year, and will also be presenting FRANCINE, their brand new Melissa Leo-starring drama, for a single screening within MFF 2012.

– Eric Hatch, Director of Programming

Maryland Film Festival 2012 Announces Todd Solondz’s DARK HORSE For Closing Night!

Maryland Film Festival (May 3-6 in beautiful downtown Baltimore) is thrilled to announce DARK HORSE, the latest “sad comedy” by master filmmaker Todd Solondz, as its 2012 Closing Night selection. The film, starring Jordan Gelber, will be presented the evening of Sunday, May 6th in the historic Charles Theater, with Solondz and members of his cast presenting.

“With two back-to-back masterpieces, Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) and Happiness (1998), Todd Solondz established himself as the new standard-bearer for American dark comedies-or, as he calls them, sad comedies,” writes MFF director of programming Eric Allen Hatch in the festival’s closing-night program notes. “With DARK HORSE, Solondz has delivered not only his greatest film since those twin ’90s classics, but his most accessible work yet.”

Co-starring Selma Blair, Justin Bartha, Mia Farrow, and Christopher Walken, and coming on the heels of such provocative Solondz features as STORYTELLING, PALINDROMES, and LIFE DURING WARTIME, DARK HORSE is a groundbreaking, all-star work by a major American director.

Also announced for Maryland Film Festival 2012 is its Opening Night program, which each year since 2004 the festival has dedicated to a program of short films. The MFF 2012 Opening Night Shorts will take place the evening of Thursday, May 3rd in the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Brown Center, with each film presented by its director.

The MFF 2012 Opening Night Shorts are:
I Am John Wayne (Christina Choe)
The Kook (Nat Livingston Johnson and Gregory Mitnick)
Modern Man (Kerri Lendo and John Merriman)
Cork’s Cattlebaron (Eric Steele)
Fishing Without Nets (Cutter Hodierne)

This announcement of DARK HORSE and the five Opening Night Short Films come in addition to over 100 films already announced for MFF 2012: 40+ new feature films and 70+ new short films from around the world; a favorite film (Barbara Loden‘s WANDA) presented by legendary filmmaker and MFF board member John Waters; and vintage 3D and silent titles.

All of these MFF 2012 titles and tickets can be found here:

For more information, please contact Megan Downey ( )

Check out Podcast of MDFF Director Jed Dietz’ Festival Preview on Marc Steiner Show!

On April 17th, MDFF director Jed Dietz joined Marc Steiner to preview MDFF 2012 on The Marc Steiner Show on WEAA, 88.9FM.

Joining Marc and Jed were filmmakers Sheldon Candis, whose feature, LUV, premiered at Sundance and will be part of MDFF 2012, and stars Common, Danny Glover, Dennis Haysbert, and Charles Dutton; and short filmmaker Angel Kristi Williams, whose short film,  THE CHRISTMAS TREE, will also screen during MDFF 2012.

In case you missed the live broadcast, you can listen to a podcast of the show here.


ADVANCE ONLINE TICKET SALES FOR MFF 2012 NOW ACTIVATED! Browse our Film Guide and Film Schedule and buy tickets for almost all MFF 2012 titles, including John Waters‘ presentation of Barbara Loden’s underground classic WANDA (pictured)!