Posts Tagged 'Anna Kendrick'

Maryland Film Festival Announces Complete 2015 Lineup, Including Opening Night Shorts and Closing Night Film THE WOLFPACK

Maryland Film Festival (May 6-10 in downtown Baltimore) proudly announces our complete 2015 lineup today, unveiling our Closing Night film, the titles for our annual Opening Night Shorts Program, and a few late-breaking features.  Our Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday schedule grids are also now live and available for download on our website.

Maryland Film Festival’s Closing Night film will be Crystal Moselle’s The Wolfpack, the mind-blowing buzz documentary that took home the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. MFF also announced 5 additional emerging features for its lineup, including new work from Joe Swanberg, Rick Alverson, and Andrew Bujalski; and two repertory screenings guest-curated by key figures in Baltimore’s cultural scene: musician Abdu Ali introducing Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, and Wham City’s Alan Resnick and Dina Kelberman introducing Paul Verhoeven’s Showgirls.

Maryland Film Festival first devoted our Opening Night to celebrating shorts filmmakers in 2002, and we have done so each year since 2004. Opening Night will take place in the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Falvey Hall the evening ofWednesday, May 6th. Each Opening Night short will be hosted by its filmmaker.

MFF 2015’s Opening Night shorts are:

BAD BOY OF BOWLING (Bryan Storkel) From the co-director of Fight Church, a high-octane portrait of a bowling star with a plus-sized personality.

CHARLOTTE (Angel Kristi Williams) A coming-of-age story from the director of MFF 2012’s The Christmas Tree, a Baltimore native.

MELVILLE (James M. Johnston) A rapper struggling with personal pain finds release in music. Directed by the producer of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.

PINK GRAPEFRUIT (Michael Mohan) A couple sets up two friends for a romantic weekend. Winner of the narrative shorts jury award at SXSW.

SHARE (Pippa Bianco) A young woman returns to high school after being shamed by an explicit video. Winner of a special jury prize at SXSW.

Feature films announced for MFF 2015 today:

BEST_OF_ENEMIES_Robert-Gordon_Morgan-NevilleBest of Enemies (Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville) In 1968, a ratings-starved ABC coordinated a series of debates between conservative journalist William F. Buckley, Jr. and liberal novelist and thinker Gore Vidal. The network garnered huge audiences—and perhaps a bit more than they bargained for, as high-level political discourse collided with name-calling and meltdowns. This Sundance-premiered documentary comes courtesy of Twenty Feet From Stardom director Morgan Neville, and author/filmmaker Robert Gordon (of MFF 2012’s Very Extremely Dangerous).

DIGGING_FOR_FIRE_Joe-SwanbergDigging For Fire (Joe Swanberg) When young parents Tim (Jake Johnson) and Lee (Rosemarie DeWitt) agree to house-sit for a wealthy acquaintance, Tim finds something suspicious on the grounds—and an initial spark of intrigue becomes a consuming obsession. Joe Swanberg continues to take his unique working methods to the next level, with an amazing cast that includes Orlando Bloom, Brie Larson, Sam Rockwell, Anna Kendrick, Jane Adams, Sam Elliott, and Mike Birbiglia, all working together to deliver an infectious mix of comedy, drama, romance, and thrills.

DO_THE_RIGHT_THING_SPIKE-LEEDo the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989) Spike Lee’s modern classic, detailing racial tensions and police brutality on the hottest day of summer in Bedford-Stuyvesant, has never been more crucial and relevant.  With the sounds of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” blasting from boomboxes, this seminal film boasts cinematography from Ernest Dickerson, and an Academy Award-nominated screenplay (not to mention an iconic performance) from Lee; his phenomenal ensemble cast includes Ossie Davis, Danny Aiello, Ruby Dee, Rosie Perez, Joie Lee, Bill Nunn, John Turturro, and Samuel L. Jackson. Selected and guest-hosted by musician, DJ, and curator Abdu Ali.

ENTERTAINMENT_Rick-AlversonEntertainment (Rick Alverson) Gregg Turkington, perhaps best known for his persona Neil Hamburger, stars as The Comedian, a beleaguered, Hamburger-ian performer who endlessly tours Grade-Z clubs and non-venues across America, shocking and dismaying audiences with his lewd and convoluted punchlines. At turns bleak, poignant, disturbing, and darkly hilarious, this fascinating and beautifully composed provocation from the director of The Comedy also features Amy Seimetz, John C. Reilly, Tye Sheridan, Lotte Verbeek, and Michael Cera.

PEOPLES_PLACES_THINGS_Jim-StrousePeople, Places, Things (Jim Strouse) In this thoughtful and hilarious rom-com, Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords and What We Do in the Shadows stars as a graphic novelist whose comfortable life is shaken after walking in on his wife with another man. Downgraded to a tiny apartment and weekends-only status with his twin daughters, a bright spot appears when a student in a college art course he teaches challenges him to be more social and adventurous.

RESULTS_Andrew-BujalskiResults (Andrew Bujalski) High-octane personal trainer Kat (Cobie Smulders) works for her friend, fitness guru and entrepreneur Trevor (Guy Pearce)—both of whom have their lives turned upside-down when nouveau-riche couch potato Danny (Kevin Corrigan) arrives at their gym. The director of MFF 2013’s Computer Chess follows up that highly experimental work with something different: a romantic comedy with a stellar cast and a massive heart.

SHOWGIRLS_Paul-VerhoevenShowgirls (Paul Verhoeven, 1995) Intentional camp? Brilliant social commentary? A noble failure? Irredeemable trash? Books have been written exploring what Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop, Starship Troopers, The Fourth Man) was going for with this follow-up to mega-hit Basic Instinct. Starring Elizabeth Berkley, Kyle MacLachlan, and Gina Gershon, this seedy, Vegas-set film was derided upon its release but has lived on as a midnight movie and cult favorite. Selected and guest-hosted by Alan Resnick and Dina Kelberman of Wham City.

WOLFPACK_THE_Crystal-MoselleThe Wolfpack (Crystal Moselle) CLOSING NIGHT This extraordinary documentary brings us into the lives of the Angulo brothers, who grew up homeschooled and in extreme isolation from the outside world in a Lower East Side apartment. Home video became their only window into the outside world, and they took to recreating their favorite scenes and styling themselves after films such as Reservoir Dogs. But when one of the brothers escapes the confines of their apartment, all of their lives are forever changed. A sensation at Sundance, where it won the U.S. Documentary Grand Jury Prize, this is a documentary that delivers on the buzz, built on amazing access to a truly incredible story and unforgettable characters.

Previously Announced Feature Films for Maryland Film Festival 2015:

6 YEARS (Hannah Fidell)
BEATS OF THE ANTONOV (Hajooj Kuka)
THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION (Stanley Nelson)
BREAKING A MONSTER (Luke Meyer)
CALL ME LUCKY (Bobcat Goldthwait)
CHRISTMAS, AGAIN (Charles Poekel)
CROCODILE GENNADIY (Steve Hoover)
DEEP WEB (Alex Winter)
DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON (Douglas Tirola)
FIELD NIGGAS (Khalik Allah)
FOR THE PLASMA (Bingham Bryant and Kyle Molzan)
FRAME BY FRAME (Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli)
FUNNY BUNNY (Alison Bagnall)
A GAY GIRL IN DAMASCUS: THE AMINA PROFILE (Sophie Deraspe)
GIRLHOOD (Céline Sciamma)
GOD BLESS THE CHILD (Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck)
HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY (Stephen Cone) World premiere.
IN THE BASEMENT (Ulrich Seidl)
JAUJA (Lisandro Alonso)
KILLER JOE (William Friedkin, 2011) Hosted by John Waters.
LIMBO (Anna Sofie Hartmann) Hosted by Matthew Porterfield.
PROPHET’S PREY (Amy Berg)
THE REAPER (Zvonimir Juric)
REBELS OF THE NEON GOD (Tsai Ming-liang, 1992)
SAILING A SINKING SEA (Olivia Wyatt)
SON OF THE SHEIK (George Fitzmaurice, 1926) With a live original score by Alloy Orchestra.
STINKING HEAVEN (Nathan Silver)
TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL (Jeffrey Schwarz)
TIRED MOONLIGHT (Britni West)
TWO SHOTS FIRED (Martin Rejtman)
UNCLE KENT 2 (Todd Rohal)
UNEXPECTED (Kris Swanberg)
VENICE (Kiki Álvarez)
WELCOME TO LEITH (Michael Beach Nichols, Christopher K. Walker)
WESTERN (Bill and Turner Ross)
A WONDERFUL CLOUD (Eugene Kotlyarenko)

SXSW Update #2 – DRINKING BUDDIES, COMPUTER CHESS

drinking_buddies_review_sxsw

Photo still from Joe Swanberg’s DRINKING BUDDIES.

Within their 2013 festival, SXSW Film has found a clever method to remind each audience of the many ways film festivals discover and nurture talent. In celebration of their 20th anniversary, SXSW has been rolling archival festival bumpers before each screening. Bumpers are those short pieces (typically running between 30 and 60 seconds) that thank festival sponsors, audiences, filmmakers, and volunteers for their support. Since SXSW has a great tradition of inviting festival alumni to create these bumpers and give them some narrative heft, they’re now able to draw from two decades of what are essentially little-seen short films by major directors that have emerged on the festival circuit.

One of the most striking bumpers is by frequent MFF alum David Lowery (director of MFF 2011 Opening Night Short Pioneer), whose forthcoming Ain’t Them Bodies Saints was one of the breakthrough films of Sundance 2013, and stars Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, and Keith Carradine. This 2010 SXSW bumper entitled “Soundstage” is an artful encapsulation of the dreamlike aesthetic he brings to his work:

Another bumper, 2007’s “McGriddles,” was directed by Joe Swanberg and stars Andrew Bujalski, a nice distillation of the sharp humor and charm the two brought to Swanberg’s feature Hannah Takes The Stairs.

It’s an intriguing moment to revisit the early work of these pioneers of handcrafted digital cinema, as both have exceptional new features in the SXSW 2013 line-up that seem to mark bold new phases in their careers. Swanberg’s Drinking Buddies is perhaps the film audiences expected from him after 2009’s Noah Baumbach-produced Alexander the Last, which was his most conventionally polished and accessible film to date. Instead, for several years Swanberg turned inward for a series of deeply personal micro-budget films such as Silver Bullets and Art History (both MFF 2011). Drinking Buddies, set in and around a craft-beer brewery in Chicago, is shot by Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Ben Richardson, and brings in a winning cast of familiar faces such as Anna Kendrick, Olivia Wilde, Ron Livingston, and Jake Johnson. As with Lynn Shelton’s recent work, the film depends on these established actors embracing the conversational tone and spontaneous working methods that distinguish most of Swanberg’s filmography; and as with Shelton’s recent films, the cast more than responds to the challenge, yielding results that are warm, hilarious, and emotionally resonant. Drinking Buddies wowed a packed house in the historic, 1200-seat Paramount Theater, a triumphant moment in a fascinating and still-evolving film career. It would seem to mark not so much a move to the mainstream as the mainstream moving toward Swanberg.

Photo still from Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess.

Photo still from Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess.

Bujalski’s Computer Chess, on the other hand, is a masterpiece with no obvious creative precedent. Set circa 1980 and, in a challenging but brilliant move, shot on period-specific analog video, the film takes us inside a subculture of offbeat personalities who camp out in a hotel conference hall, attempting to create the first computer system capable of beating human chess masters. But as the film builds into a Robert Altman-worthy ensemble comedy, it also takes on unexpected surreal and even hallucinatory notes, largely thanks to the rich subplot of a self-help event simultaneously taking place in the hotel. Computer Chess is funny, daring, and utterly unpredictable; each creative risk—and there are many—pays off brilliantly. Simply put, if I see a more original film this year, I’ll be quite surprised.

Lowery, Swanberg, and Bujalski all have the biggest films of their respective careers poised to emerge in 2013. In so many ways, SXSW 2013 has been a great reminder that well-curated, forward-looking film festivals like SXSW and MFF offer unique opportunities for audiences to share in the early discovery of major film artists, and to continue to follow them as they grow and evolve.

Eric Allen Hatch, MFF Director of Programming

OSCARS: Baltimore & Beyond

MFF 2009 Closing Night: THE HURT LOCKER

Screenwriter Mark Boal, Director Kathryn Bigelow,  & Washington Post Film Critic Ann Hornaday

Unbelievably, defying all odds, MFF 2009 Closing Night film, THE HURT LOCKER, was nominated for NINE (!!!!!!)  Oscars, sharing the Most Nominated title with the Biggest Movie in History, James Cameron’s AVATAR. THE HURT LOCKER was nominated in many major categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, etc. If Kathryn wins Best Director she will be the first female director to do so. She’s already broken one glass (titanium ?) ceiling- she’s the first female to win the Directors Guild Best Director, which is a pretty good predictor of Oscar favor.


Also, MICA professor and MFF Alum Patrick Wright’s new film,  MUSIC BY PRUDENCE, for which he produced and edited was the co-producer and  assistant editor, was nominated in the Best Documentary Short Category. Maybe, like KING GIMP, he’ll bring another Oscar back to Baltimore in this category.

Other Bmore related Oscars: Anna Kendrick, nominated for Best Supporting Actress was at our event for CAMP, and is the female lead of ROCKET SCIENCE, a filmed in Baltimore movie that was MFF 2007 Closing Night. She’s up against another Marylander, Mo’Nique.

-JED

**CORRECTION**: MUSIC BY PRUDENCE was  produced by Elinor Burkett and Roger Williams – and edited by Geeta Gandbhir. We apologize to the filmmakers for the mistake.