Posts Tagged 'Detropia'

MFF Announces First Round of 2012 Titles!

Here’s a sneak peek at our first press release of MFF 2012 feature-length films. More soon! Thanks to everyone who came out to our Friends of the Festival MFF 2012 preview event last night. MFF 2012 begins in just three weeks – see you at the movies!

***

The fourteenth annual Maryland Film Festival takes place May 3-6 in downtown Baltimore, and the festival is thrilled to announce its first round of 2012 titles.

As with every year, the MFF 2012 full line-up will include 40+ new feature films and 75+ new shorts from around the world, as well as a vintage 3-D filma silent film with live music by Alloy Orchestra, and a favorite film selected by legendary filmmaker and MFF board member John Waters.

All U.S.-made feature films will be presented by their filmmakers.
The first 12 announced titles are:

THE ATOMIC STATES OF AMERICA (Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce)
The documentary team who explored museum politics in THE ART OF THE STEAL and hard-rock hard living in LAST DAYS HERE return with this shocking expose of the flawed logic and outdated infrastructure behind the U.S.’s atomic-energy program.

COME BACK, AFRICA (directed by Lionel Rogosin, presented by Milestone Films)
This 1960 feature, shot without permits in Johannesburg, illustrates the challenges and hardships of black migrant workers in the harsh days of apartheid. To be screened from a beautifully restored 35mm print.

COMPLIANCE (Craig Zobel)
Perhaps the most controversial film from Sundance 2012 lands in Baltimore. Craig Zobel’s narrative feature, inspired by true events, looks at the dark happenings that unfold after a figure of authority calls a fast-food restaurant and accuses an employee of theft.

DETROPIA (Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady)
From the co-directors of THE BOYS OF BARAKA and JESUS CAMP comes this documentary about the people and places that populate a collapsed metropolis trying to get back up on its feet.

GOD BLESS AMERICA (Bobcat Goldthwait)
MFF favorite Bobcat Goldthwait unleashes this angry, high-octane dark comedy about an unlikely modern-day Bonnie and Clyde who lash out at a vacuous, pop-culture obsessed America.

LOVELY MOLLY (Eduardo Sanchez)
The co-director of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT returns to his roots with this heady blend of horror and psychological thrills about a young woman returning to her childhood home.

SAVE THE DATE (Michael Mohan)
This warm mix of drama, comedy, and romance, co-written by acclaimed graphic-novel author Jeffrey Brown, follows a group of tangled friends and lovers in the music and arts scenes of present-day L.A. Stars include Lizzy Caplan (CLOVERFIELD), Martin Starr (FREAKS AND GEEKS), and Mark Webber.

SUN DON’T SHINE (Amy Seimetz)
A grimy, gritty story of two people pushed to the brink in the sweaty landscape of central Florida. Evocatively shot on Super 16mm, and starring festival favorites Kentucker Audley and Kate Lyn Sheil.

 

THIS IS NOT A FILM (Mojtaba Mirtahmasb and Jafar Panahi)
From Iran comes this documentary about, and made in conjunction with, Jafar Panahi (THE CIRCLE, CRIMSON GOLD, OFFSIDE), who was placed under house arrest and banned from filmmaking in December 2010.

THE TURIN HORSE (Béla Tarr)
Hungarian master Béla Tarr’s self-proclaimed final film is a cinematographic tour de force, every bit as stark and provocative as earlier dark epics DAMNATION and SATANTANGO.

 

VITO (Jeffrey Schwarz)
The inspiring story of gay-rights activist and Celluloid Closet author Vito Russo, as told by the documentarian behind SPINE TINGLER: THE WILLIAM CASTLE STORY and the forthcoming I AM DIVINE.

 

WANDA (directed by Barbara Loden; presented by John Waters)
John Waters, who has presented a favorite film in each Maryland Film Festival since its launch in 1999, selects this renegade slice of ‘70s filmmaking by Barbara Loden, to be screened from a beautifully restored 35mm print.

Sundance: A Gathering of the Tribe

Sightings from Sundance 2012: a festivalgoer looking for tickets.

In addition to being an invaluable marketing tool for independent (and not-so-independent) film and also new products of all sorts (cars, Brita filters, coconut water, et al), Sundance is also a gathering of the tribe, like any convention. Few examples:

I ran in to SXSW‘s head, Janet Pierson, while re-filling my water bottle at the Library Center Theater. She’s been to MFF a couple of times and it’s always fun catching up with her. She introduced me to Sarah Green, a terrific producer whose work I’ve admired (TREE OF LIFE, TAKE SHELTER, Mamet’s works, etc. ) but had never met.

Walking into a screening, I noticed an MFF bag and saw it was on Marcus Hu‘s shoulder, the head of Strand Releasing, one of the great art house distributors. He introduced me to Carl Spence, Artistic Director of the Seattle International Film Festival, a wonderful 25-day extravaganza that contends with Toronto for title of Biggest Film Festival in North America.

At another screening, I sat next to filmmaker Michael Tully (director of SEPTIEN) and a few seats down from writer/director Lynn Shelton (director of YOUR SISTER’S SISTER and Sundance jury this year), both MFF alums, and then, coming out of DETROPIA I hear a woman introduce herself to one of the film’s directors, MFF Board member Rachel Grady, and it is Laura Bennett, the new Artistic Director of the Chesapeake Film Festival in Easton whom I’d never met despite some emailing .

I drop by the temporary WireImage studio to see its CEO, and Baltimore native, Jeff Vespa, and run in to Mark Duplass who is an MFF alum and is in two movies here and produced several. Oscar-nominated Laura Poitras was at the screening of Eugene Jarecki‘s new film about the disastrous drug war, THE HOUSE I LIVE IN,  (he did WHY WE FIGHT and last year’s fascinating documentary on Ronald Reagan) and the new film features excellent interviews with David Simon. Well, you get the picture.

-Jed Dietz, Thursday 1/26

Sundance Update: DETROPIA by MFF Board Member Rachel Grady is “Film Poetry”

Film still from DETROPIA, playing at Sundance 2012

At 8:30 this morning, I learned that Detroit was once the fastest growing city in America and is now the fastest shrinking city.

It is on the verge of bankruptcy and of being taken away from its citizens and put in the hands of a “manager.”

I learned this from a piece of beautiful film poetry. It’s a new documentary called DETROPIA from MFF Board member Rachel Grady and her film partner Heidi Ewing. Among others, they made BOYS OF BARAKA, JESUS CAMP (Oscar nominated) and 12TH & DELAWARE. Hopefully, it’ll be part of our program in May.

–Jed Dietz, Wednesday, 1/25

Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady in post-screening Q&A

MFF Director Jed Dietz Reports from Sundance; MFF Documentaries in the Spotlight

The 2012 Sundance Film Festival is now in full swing in Park City, Utah, and our very own Jed Dietz is on the ground and reporting back to us with photos, stories and updates about his experiences there.  Keep checking in throughout the week for a unique insider’s perspective on Sundance ’12!

So far, Jed is eagerly anticipating the Sundance premiere of DETROPIA, MFF Board member Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing’s new critically acclaimed documentary about the rise and fall of Detroit.  The New York Times also recently published a piece on this film.

Also, be sure to check out today’s NYTimes review on THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH.  A hit at MFF 2011, we wish director Chad Freidrichs well as it begins its theatrical journey.

Keep checking back for more updates from Sundance!