Posts Tagged 'documentary'

Documentary Filmmaker Profile: ALEX GIBNEY

Oscar, Emmy, Peabody, and Grammy award winning producer/director/writer Alex Gibney was recently described by Esquire Magazine as “becoming the most important documentarian of our time.” Gibney came to prominence with his highly acclaimed 2005 feature ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM (Oscar Nominee Best Documentary, Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary, Writers Guild of America Award, official selection Maryland Film Festival 2005). In the years since, Gibney has directed the 2007 Oscar-winner for Best Documentary TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE (which also won a Peabody Award in 2007 and an Emmy in 2009); GONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON (Sundance 2008; MFF 2008), CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY (Sundance 2010; Maryland Film Festival 2010), and most recently CLIENT 9: THE RISE AND FALL OF ELIOT SPITZER. Before turning to feature documentaries, Gibney had great success in television as writer/director /producer of several documentary series. Gibney won an Emmy (1993) and the DuPont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism (1994) for directing, writing and producing the 10-part PBS series THE PACIFIC CENTURY. He also served as Series Producer for Executive Producer Martin Scorsese’s THE BLUES, and was awarded a Grammy for his work compiling the 5-disc soundtrack CD to the same series.

Click the link below to see a clip of Gibney in conversation with Charlie Rose about his 2005 film ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM:

Another excellent interview with Gibney on PBS’s Need To Know:

**Call 410.752.8083 to order tickets to see Alex Gibney, Rachel Grady and Stanley Nelson interviewed by Meredith Vieira on January 21st at MFF PRODUCES!**

TICKETS:   $250 (All-Access)/$90 (Conversation and Reception Only)

ANNOUNCING: MFF PRODUCES A Conversation with Meredith Vieira and Award Winning Documentary Filmmakers!!


Meredith Vieira, co-host of NBC’s Today Show, contributing anchor for Dateline NBC, founding moderator and former co-host of The View, and correspondent for Turning Point, West 57th, and Sixty Minutes, will moderate a discussion with award-winning documentary filmmakers on the subject: “Are Documentary Filmmakers the New Journalists?” at this year’s Maryland Film Festival Fundraiser!

Friday, January 21, 2010

MICA, Brown Center

Documentary filmmakers, all alums of the Maryland Film Festival include: Alex Gibney (Oscar winner for TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, and widely praised for ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM, CASINO JACK, and SPITZER), Rachel Grady (BOYS OF BARAKA, Oscar-nominated JESUS CAMP, and 12TH & DELAWARE), and award-winning and MacArthur “Genius” grant recipient Stanley Nelson (JONESTOWN, FREEDOM RIDERS).

**CALL 410.752.8083 to order tickets**

All Access: including the pre-reception, reserved seats conversation, and a special dinner with Viera and the filmmakers – $250

Conversation and Pre-reception: wine, beer and hors d’ouevres) – $90

Table Hosts: (10 All Access tickets, plus 10 student tickets for the Conversation)  – $5,000

Schedule of the evening:

6pm: Doors open, wine and beer reception

7:15pm: Auction and Conversation with Meridith Vieira, Alex Gibney, Rachel Grady and Stanley Nelson

9pm:All Access ticket-holder dinner with Vieira and the filmmakers in the MICA Main Building


Is there a more polarizing issue in America? OK, guns are second. Nothing else is close.  12TH & DELAWARE, Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing’s (BOYS OF BARAKA, JESUS CAMP) new film is a revelation: this is an issue that has changed the way Americans deal with each other. Our quadriplegic media has bailed. But thankfully Rachel and Heidi have found a way to let people breathe. Let women speak. The women in this film, Candace (pro-choice), Ann (pro-life), and a number of potential mothers don’t just speak, they shout: STAND BACK. Be grateful for filmmakers of this skill.  -Jed

Director Heidi Ewing talks to an emotional audience member after 12th& DELAWARE

Director Rachel Grady talks with an audience member after the screening.

MFF Director, Jed Dietz, will be at the Sundance Film Festival from January 23-30.  Keep checking back for Jed’s daily updates and reports straight from Park City, Utah!

Alex Gibney’s CASINO JACK and the United States of Money

Academy-Award winning director, Alex Gibney (TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE), has been working for years on a doc about uber lobbyist Jack Abramoff and the impact of  $$$$ on our (political) life. CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY is like Alex’s amazing film about Enron; terrifically entertaining and insightful.  Scary but insightful. He has no peer in making “mush” clear. In this photo Gibney is wearing a Rehoboth lifeguard t-shirt  because Mike Scanlon, a former Tom DeLay staffer who became one of Abramoffs acolytes, was a Rehoboth lifeguard,  and is still not in jail.  -Jed

Jeffrey Blitz’s new documentary, LUCKY

Jeffrey Blitz, a Hopkins grad, started his career with the great SPELLBOUND and followed with a feature he shot in Baltimore called ROCKET SCIENCE. Many of you saw it as the Closing Night film a couple of years ago with Governor  O’Malley and Blitz hosting. (The Governor stayed and hung with Blitz during the screening and urged him to come back with another film.)  The young actress Anna Kendrick, now celebrated alongside George Clooney in UP IN THE AIR, was the lead in ROCKET SCIENCE. His new doc, LUCKY, explores the world of lottery winners.   -Jed

Director Jeffrey Blitz with producer Sean Welch at the Q&A for LUCKY.

Check out this fan video from THE BAND THAT WOULDN’T DIE at M & T Bank Stadium!!

MFF To Screen the US Premiere of THE BAND THAT WOULDN’T DIE hosted by Director Barry Levinson at M & T Bank Stadium!!

The Band That Wouldn't Die

The Maryland Film Festival and the Baltimore  Ravens are proud to announce the



hosted by Academy Award winning director

Barry Levinson


M&T BANK STADIUM    Tuesday, October 6

Sponsored by the Baltimore Ravens, ESPN, and M&T Bank

Straight from its World Premiere at the Toronto Film Festival

With a special live concert in full uniform by

Baltimore’s Marching Ravens

In the great tradition of extraordinary film premieres being held in unusual settings, the new film made by Academy Award winning director, and Baltimore native Barry Levinson,  THE BAND THAT WOULDN’T DIE, will have its US Premiere in M&T Bank Stadium on Tuesday, October 6. Barry Levinson will host the event, and Baltimore’s Marching Ravens will perform.

The World Premiere was at the recent Toronto International Film Festival, and the 53 minute film will air on ESPN starting October 13, as part of ESPN Films’ “30 for 30” documentary project.

“Although we have had a longstanding (and maybe surprising to some) relation with the Ravens- various coaches and players have chosen films to host during past Maryland Film Festivals as part of our pioneering Guest Host Program- the team backing this event is amazing,” said Maryland Film Festival Director Jed Dietz. “It’s the perfect Maryland Film Festival event; fun, informal, and featuring the most recent work of one of the greatest living filmmakers.”

The story of what is now the Baltimore’s Marching Ravens runs deep in Baltimore history, but many of the details in the film will surprise people. Despite the horror of losing the beloved Baltimore Colts, in a snowstorm late at night,  the film tells the story of a group of ordinary citizens, volunteers in the Baltimore Colts’ Marching Band, who would not quit. They kept the spirit of professional football in Baltimore alive through creative and bold action. Perhaps even more extraordinary, when the Baltimore Ravens franchise started in Baltimore, the Modell family fully embraced the great football tradition in Baltimore, and to this day the team and M & T Bank finance the renewed Baltimore’s Marching Ravens.

“We have always been grateful that team ownership and management  understands our passion and have made it possible for us to support our team,” said Band Leader John Ziemann. “To have Barry Levinson chose to make this film- a great filmmaker and a fellow fan- is a dream come true. The fact that he is taking the time to host this US Premiere in person, is beyond wonderful,” Ziemann concluded.

Barry Levinson, in production on his latest film, a story about Dr. Kevorkian for HBO, said:  “I couldn’t get to the World Premiere in Toronto because I was shooting into the early hours of the morning on my latest film, but I am thrilled to share this film at M& T Stadium with the great Baltimore fans and our wonderful marching band. All of us who worked on the film focused on capturing that very special Baltimore spirit that has always fascinated me, and will certainly be present at this event.”

TIME: 6:00pm – Gates Open

6:30pm – Baltimore’s Marching Ravens in concert

7:00pm – Introduction by Barry Levinson and Screening of THE BAND THAT WOULDN’T DIE on the Smart Vision Screen at M & T Bank Stadium

PLACE: M & T Bank Stadium (open seating on the field- NO CHAIRS)

Concessions will be available at non-stadium prices.

Tickets:       ALL TICKETS $5.00, day of screening. (All ticket proceeds benefit the Maryland Film Festival)   To pre-order visit,  or call 410-261-(RAVE)

“MFF 2009’s Foreign Films: A Cheat Sheet” by MFF programmer Eric Allen Hatch

This is your last weekend to plan ahead for MFF 2009, and, as you may’ve already heard, we’ve made a major increase in our foreign-film offerings this year! To help you travel the world through film, here’s a quick primer in the world cinema in our 2009 line-up. Follow the links to see more information, showtimes, and tickets.

Agnès Varda’s Beaches of Agnès (France): the latest work from the legendary “Mother of the French New Wave,” a playful documentary looking back on her work — and life and times with Jacques Demy, Jane Birkin, Jean-Luc Godard, Harrison Ford, Robert DeNiro, Alexander Calder, Gerard Depardieu, and others!

Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo (US/Japan): A documentary looking at the fascinating world of Japanese insect collectors, and the rich history Japan has of appreciating these tiniest of creatures. Director Jessica Oreck will be in attendance!

Blind Loves (Slovakia): A “hybrid” documentary made in close collaboration with its subjects, blind couples in love — capturing not just their reality, but also their histories, hopes, and dreams through reenactments, animated adventure sequences, and more!

Daytime Drinking (South Korea): An uproarious, hip comedy about a just-dumped twentysomething who tries to escape his problems by vacationing at a resort during the off-season, only to encounter a new, alcohol-soaked set of problems.

Eat, For This Is My Body (Haiti/France): Eye-popping experimental work shot in Haiti, with surreal nods to such world-cinema masters as Claire Denis, Luis Bunuel, and Marco Ferreri.

Five Miles Out (UK): A sumptuous, artful short from Andrew Haigh, whose feature Greek Pete (see below) is also showing within MFF ’09.

Funny Bones (US/UK): Jerry Lewis and Oliver Platt star in this vaudeville-themed 1995 film, selected by guest-host Laura Lippman.

Garbage Dreams (US/Egypt): This documentary looks at Cairo-based Zaballeen teenagers, whose people for generations have made their living collecting the city’s garbage, using recycyling measures that put Western countries to shame. But now their way of life is threatened by multinational corporations. Director Mai Iskander will be in attendance!

Greek Pete (UK): This fictional, often graphic film draws on the actual life experiences of its cast, men who work within and around the world of London-based gay escorts, or “rentboys.” Director Andrew Haigh will be in attendance!

Hobby (Spain/Japan): This featurette documentary follows a Spanish video-game enthusiast as he takes a pilgrimage to Japan, dipping into the history of Nintendo in the process.

It was great, but I was ready to come home. (US/Costa Rica): Two young American women travel together in Costa Rica, sharing new experiences as they deal with romantic regrets. Director/star Kris Swanberg will be in attendance!

Lake Tahoe (Mexico): A deadpan comedy in the tradition of Jim Jarmusch about a young Mexican man who crashes his car on the outskirts of town, encountering a colorful cast of oddballs who want to do everything except help him fix his car.

Love Songs (France): John Waters’ 2009 pick, a (bi-)sexually charged musical romp from internationally acclaimed director Christophe Honoré and stars Chiara Mastroianni, Louis Garrel, Ludivine Sagnier, Clotilde Hesme. Did we mention it’s hosted by John Waters?

Man With a Movie Camera (USSR): This hypnotic 1929 classic still wows audiences 80 years later with its amazing cinematography and editing. Presented with live original music from Alloy Orchestra!

Munyurangabo (Rwanda): Beautifully shot, this poetic drama looks head-on at the legacy of the Rwandan genocide. Director Lee Isaac Chung will be in attendance!

Nollywood Babylon (Nigeria/Canadian): From the directors of Bombay Calling comes this documentary about the world’s third-largest film industry, Nigeria’s high-octane, straight-to-disc “Nollywood” scene. Directors Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal will be in attendance!

Not Quite Hollywood (Australia): A look back at the decidely un-PC world of “Ozploitation” — ”70s and ’80s Australian cult films that brought the world not just Mad Max, but hundreds of over-the top action, sci-fi, comedy, and exploitation films.

The Paranoids (Argentina): Buenos Aires comes to vibrant life in this indie dark comedy from Argentina about a paranoid young man who suspects his childhood friend has stolen his life story and turned it into a hit sitcom abroad.

Seventh Moon (US/China): From Blair Witch Project’s Eduardo Sánchez comes this riveting ghost story shot in China. Director Eduardo Sánchez will be in attendance!

Somers Town (UK): The new film from Shane Meadows, director of the art-house hit This Is England. This much-gentler film tells the story of two young outcasts who find friendship and mischief on the streets of London — channeling the lighter side of Truffaut”s Jules and Jim in the process.

Treeless Mountain (South Korea): One of the best-reviewed films of 2009, this drama shows us the world through the eyes of children — specifically, two young sisters who have been passed from irresponsible adult to adult, learning in the process to fend for themselves and create their own imaginative reality.

Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love (US/Senegal): A documentary following the titular international pop star as he releases a controversial new album dealing with his Islamic faith.

Advance tickets are recommended for all MFF ’09 titles, foreign or otherwise.

Ian MacKaye of Fugazi presents NINA SIMONE doc at MFF 2009!!

Nina Simone: La LegendeTwo legendary musicians come together at Maryland Film Festival 2009, when MFF guest host, punk/hardcore pioneer Ian MacKaye, presents the rarely screened French documentary Nina Simone: La Légende. This 1992 film, made for French television, captures soul/jazz/gospel icon Simone at her most impassioned and outspoken, reflecting on her life, career, and beliefs. It also incorporates performance and interview footage from a 1969 film about Simone, when her fearless, eclectic career was arguably at its peak.

It’s an intriguing choice from Dischord Records co-founder MacKaye, whose own work with such world-renowned bands as Minor Threat, Fugazi, and, currently, The Evens, is also known for its impassioned spirit and politically charged themes.We offer this not-to-be-missed event in the tradition of previous MFF musician guest-hosts as Jonathan Richman, Branford Marsalis, Will Oldham, and Henry Rollins — and we can’t wait to hear what MacKaye has to say about Simone and this inspiring documentary.

Click here to purchase tickets to NINA SIMONE: LA LEGENDE!

Read about Ian MacKaye guest hosting at the MFF on Pitchfork!

Read about it on Prefix!