Posts Tagged 'John Waters'

MFF Announces John Waters Pick: KILLER JOE and 14 Additional Feature Films

Maryland Film Festival continues to roll out the lineup for our 17th annual festival today, which will take place May 6-10, 2015 in downtown Baltimore and include approximately 50 feature films and 12 short-film programs from around the world.

Today’s announcement includes two special events that have become annual MFF traditions: a film selected and hosted by legendary filmmaker and MFF board member John Waters, and a silent film presented with a live original score by Alloy Orchestra. Waters has selected William Friedkin’s 2011 neo-noir Killer Joe, starring Matthew McConaughey; Alloy will accompany 1926’s Son of the Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino.

In addition to these repertory-film events, Maryland Film Festival unveiled another fourteen feature films for MFF 2015, including the area premieres of an exciting array of emerging narrative, documentary, and international titles.

Lineup announcements for MFF 2015 will conclude later this week with all remaining titles, including its Opening Night Shorts and Closing Night film. The titles announced today for MFF 2015 are:

6-YEARS_Hannah-Fidell6 YEARS (Hannah Fidell) The director of MFF 2013’s A Teacher returns with the story of Mel (Taissa Farmiga), whose future becomes unsettled when her long-term boyfriend Dan (Ben Rosenfield)’s career aspirations pose a threat to the stability of their relationship. Co-starring Lindsay Burdge and Joshua Leonard, and executive-produced by Jay and Mark Duplass, this poignant drama boasts real relationship insights and resonant, true-to-life performances.

CROCODILE-GENNADIY_Steve-HooverCROCODILE GENNADIY (Steve Hoover) This intense, visually stunning, and morally complex documentary uses a remarkable central character as a window into change and tumult in contemporary Ukraine. Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko wages a one-man war against drug abuse and serves as a tough-love father figure to homeless and at-risk youth, squaring off with dealers and intervening in the lives of addicts. But is vigilante action the answer to these problems? Executive produced by Terrence Malick.

DRUNK_STONED_Douglas_TirolaDRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD: THE STORY OF THE NATIONAL LAMPOON (Douglas Tirola) This uproarious documentary, which premiered at Sundance, brings the history of The National Lampoon to raucous life. In 1970, a new counterculture rag spun off from the Harvard Lampoon, launching a comedy revolution impacting not just the printed word but also film, television, radio, and beyond—and giving an early platform to some of the major talents of late-20thCentury comedy.

FIELD_NIGGAS_Khalik-AllahFIELD NIGGAS (Khalik Allah) Street photographer Khalik Allah takes us into the nightlife of 125th Street and Lexington in Harlem, shattering the usual wall between documentarian and subject as he paints portraits of modern street life filled with love and humor, but also hard times and regret. An immersive documentary with a unique visual sensibility, Allah’s film comes to MFF fresh from wowing audiences at True/False and Sarasota.

FOR_THE_PLASMA_Bingham-Bryant_Kyle-Molzan_FOR THE PLASMA (Bingham Bryant and Kyle Molzan) A young woman joins a friend in a sleepy town in Maine, where they use computers and digital cameras to observe a nearby forest, collecting abstruse data used to make stock-market predictions.  This challenging, idiosyncratic piece of cinema-as-puzzle finds a film language all its own; shot on Super 16mm, it also boasts an evocative score by experimental composer Keiichi Suzuki.

FRAME_BY_FRAME_Alexandria-Bombach_Mo-ScarpelliFRAME BY FRAME (Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli) This SXSW-premiered documentary follows four photographers in contemporary Afghanistan. These members of an emerging free press risk life and limb to fill the photojournalist void left by the withdraw of international media—not to mention make up for lost time, as photography was banned under Taliban rule. Their images and stories are unforgettable.

GIRLHOOD_Celine-SciammaGIRLHOOD (Céline Sciamma) In a tough suburb of Paris, teenager Marieme navigates an often harsh, male-dominated world—her life taking a new turn when she finds a place within an initially hostile all-girl gang. From the director of Water Lilies and Tomboy comes an emotionally rich drama that wowed audiences at Cannes, Toronto, and Sundance, driven by an unforgettable lead performance from Karidja Touré.

IN_THE_BASEMENT_Ulrich-SeidlIN THE BASEMENT (Ulrich Seidl) The director of the staggering Paradise trilogy, all three films of which were presented within MFF 2013, returns to the realm of intimate documentary with this stylized, disturbing, and darkly hilarious work. The basements of Austria open up to Seidl’s camera, revealing private lives built around such underground worlds as shooting ranges, taxidermy, BDSM, and Nazi memorabilia.

JUAJA_Lisandro-AlonsoJAUJA (Lisandro Alonso) Viggo Mortensen stars as a Danish engineer who’s travelled to Patagonia with his teenage daughter to work for the Argentine army. When she disappears, he ventures out in pursuit, embarking on a journey full of crises physical, emotional, and existential. Lisandro Alonso (MFF 2010’s Liverpool) works here not only with one of contemporary cinema’s greatest performers, but also a bold new visual approach.

KILLER_JOE_William-FriedkinKILLER JOE (William Friedkin, 2011) Legendary filmmaker John Waters has selected a favorite film to host within each Maryland Film Festival since its inaugural 1999 edition. This year’s choice is William Friedkin’s Texas-set neo-noir, with Matthew McConaughey as a cop who doubles as a hitman, and Emile Hirsch as a drug dealer who summons “Killer” Joe’s services—but quickly finds himself in over his head.

LIMBO_Anna-Sofie-HartmannLIMBO (Anna Sofie Hartmann) In a small port town in Denmark, high-school student Sara (Annika Nuka Mathiassen) grows increasingly fascinated by her young professor Karen (Sofía Nolsøe Mikkelsen), and her challenging ideas about gender, art, and life. This work of patient beauty screened at Rotterdam, San Sebastian, and SXSW, and will be hosted at MFF by guest curator Matt Porterfield (the director of Hamilton, Putty Hill, and I Used to Be Darker).

THE_REAPER_Zvonimir-JuricTHE REAPER (Zvonimir Jurić) From Croatia comes this tense and moody drama about a quiet loner haunted by his criminal past—and by other residents of his small town, who won’t let him forget. When he stops one night to come to the assistance of a woman stranded by the roadside, his evening takes a strange turn, launching three intertwined plot threads that recall Haneke in their grim outlook and narrative potency.

REBELS_OF_THE_NEON_GOD_Tsao-Ming-liangREBELS OF THE NEON GOD (Tsai Ming-liang, 1992) Over the last three decades, Tsai Ming-liang has produced one of the most impressive and distinct filmographies of our time, each starring unique presence Lee Kang-sheng. This is where it all began: Tsai’s first feature film, set amidst the streets, malls, and arcades of Taipei youth culture in the early 1990s. Newly restored, and enjoying its first release on the U.S. big screen.

SON_OF_THE_SHEIK_Performed-by-Alloy_OrchestraSON OF THE SHEIK (George Fitzmaurice, 1926) MFF favorites Alloy Orchestra have introduced new generations to the wonders of silent cinema with their innovative scores for films including The Lost World, Metropolis, and Man With a Movie Camera.  Now they return to MFF to accompany screen legend Rudolph Valentino’s final film, an adventure classic from the director of Mata Hari.

TIRED_MOONLIGHT_Britni-WestTIRED MOONLIGHT (Britni West) Gorgeously shot vignettes built around a mix of local non-professionals and seasoned performers (including Girls’ Alex Karpovsky) coalesce into a rich and poetic portrait of a pit-stop town in Montana situated amidst stunning natural beauty. Tired Moonlight premiered at Slamdance 2015, where it took home the Jury Award for Narrative Feature, and went on to screen within such prestigious festivals as New Directors/New Films and the International Film Festival Rotterdam.

VENICE_Kiki-AlvarezVENICE (Kiki Álvarez) It’s payday, and three female coworkers at a hair salon in Havana head out for a night on the town, their moonlit partying encountering unexpected twists and yielding surprising personal revelations. This exciting independent Cuban/Colombian co-production not only gives us rare access to an insider’s view of Havana, it also displays a refreshingly frank and empowered take on female sexuality.

Today’s new announcements join the 20 features already announced for MFF 2015, including the world premiere of Stephen Cone’s ensemble drama HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY.

MFF 2015 All-Access Passes On Sale Now! Early Bird Discount Til 2/13!


We’re excited to announce that our popular MFF 2015 All-Access passes are now on sale to the general public at the discounted rate of $350 (regular price $375)! The early bird discount ends Friday 2/13. Call our office at 410-752-8083 to order your All-Access pass today; this offer is not available online.

Maryland Film Festival returns to the Station North Arts District this May 6-10 for five days of incredible film, filmmakers, workshops, parties, and more, and the All-Access pass is the best way to experience everything Maryland Film Festival has to offer!

Pass holders get:
  • Priority seating at all screenings (including the John Waters and Alloy Orchestra screenings) without a ticket and ahead of regular ticket holders;
  • Access to our Opening Night Shorts Program and Gala at the MICA Brown Center, Closing Night Screening and Party, and the Filmmakers Lounge!

(Limited supply; get yours while supplies last!)

Call us at 410-752-8083 M-F, 10am-6pm to order yours today!  Don’t miss this rare opportunity!

All-Access Passes are NOT available online. Supplies are limited, so act now!

Members Only Sale on 2015 All-Access Passes Now Through January 30th!

All-AccessPasses2015-1_edited-1We’re excited to announce that the extremely popular MFF 2015 All-Access passesare now on sale for members only at the discounted rate of $325 (regular price $375)! Passes go on sale to the general public 2/2. Call our office at 410-752-8083 to order your All-Access pass today; this offer is not available online.

Maryland Film Festival returns to the Station North Arts District this May 6-10 for five days of incredible film, filmmakers, workshops, parties, and more, and the All-Access pass is the best way to experience everything Maryland Film Festival has to offer!

Pass holders get:
  • Priority seating at all screenings (including the John Waters andAlloy Orchestra screenings) without a ticket and ahead of regular ticket holders;
  • Access to our Opening Night Shorts Program and Gala at the MICA Brown Center, Closing Night Screening and Party, and the Filmmakers Lounge!


(*2 weeks only! Must be purchased by January 30th*)

(**All-Access Passes go on sale to the general public on 2/2**.)ALL-ACCESS PASSES ON SALE TO GENERAL PUBLIC (AFTER 2/13): $375

(Limited supply; get yours while supplies last!)

Click here to join Friends of the Festival and take advantage of this special early bird discount, plus get access to FREE movies all year-round, invitations to special events, and many more great benefits!

Call us at 410-752-8083 M-F, 10am-6pm to order yours today!  Don’t miss this rare opportunity!

All-Access Passes are NOT available online. Supplies are limited, so act now!

John Waters’ Top Films of 2014!

JohnWatersChristmas510x210John Waters has revealed his top 10 films of 2014, and we are pleased to announce that MFF 2014’s documentary WHO TOOK JOHNNY? has made the list!  Click here for the complete article in Artforum.

Here is the list of John Waters’ top 10 films of 2014 (with his comments):

1 MAPS TO THE STARS (David Cronenberg) Hilariously funny and, dare I say it, yes, pernicious. I love this film more than I love my own mustache.

2 CHARLIE VICTOR ROMEO (Robert Berger, Patrick Daniels, and Karlyn Michelson) A nail-biting, fear-of-flying 3-D experimental movie where you are locked in six separate cockpits with the flight crew as they reenact black-box dialogue from actual aviation mishaps and crashes. The scariest airplane movie ever.

3 THE KIDNAPPING OF MICHEL HOUELLEBECQ (Guillaume Nicloux) My favorite writer is now a movie star, and he’s great playing himself in a literary whodunit that revisits his supposedly factual but still vague and unexplained book-tour kidnapping. Did it really happen, or was Houellebecq just drunk? Who knows? Who cares? I do, a lot.

4 THE SMELL OF US (Larry Clark) When the director, playing a wino savant named Rockstar, actually sucks the toes of his French teen male star on-screen (with subtitles yet!), you’ll know you’re beyond Odorama. The smell here may be ripe, but Larry Clark is back in top form. Oh, yeah . . . it’s a great musical.

5 GLORIA (Sebastián Lelio) A feel-bad date movie for old people who love their lives but hate romantic comedies.

WHO TOOK JOHNNY (David Beilinson, Michael Galinsky, and Suki Hawley) An amazing, lunatic head-scratcher of a documentary about missing children with plot twists that will leave you creeped out, surprised, and excited. As good as Capturing the Friedmans.

LI’L QUINQUIN (Bruno Dumont) Yes, there is such a thing as hillbillies in France. A comic barnyard mystery that asks the nagging question: Who is killing people in the countryside, cutting up their bodies, and stuffing the pieces up cows’ asses?

NYMPHOMANIAC: VOLUME I and VOLUME II (Lars von Trier) I, a Woman meets Salò. I thank the director for every hideous second of this comic masterpiece.

VIOLETTE (Martin Provost) An upbeat biopic about one of my longtime literary idols, Violette Leduc (aka the “female Genet”), a doubly miserable bisexual who only fell in love with gay men or heterosexual women yet found salvation through writing. The fact that she doesn’t commit suicide seems like a happy ending.

10 THE FILMS OF JOANNA HOGG (Unrelated [2007]; Archipelago [2010]; and Exhibition [2013]) As the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s miniretrospective last summer made clear, this British director’s perfectly framed scenes of simmering family resentments and embarrassed silences will thrill you in a severely modest way, and that should be enough. More than enough.

John Waters Retrospective “Fifty Years of John Waters: How Much Can You Take?” Runs 9/5-9/14 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center!

John Waters in 1964. New York Times/Dudley Gray.

John Waters in 1964. New York Times/Dudley Gray.

Legendary filmmaker and MFF Board Member John Waters is being honored with a 50 year retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. “Fifty Years of John Waters: How Much Can You Take” runs Friday, September 5th – Sunday, September 14th.

Waters was interviewed in today’s edition of The New York Times about his retrospective:

“It’s like being alive at your funeral. I’m not going to get anything better.”
-John Waters (click here for the complete interview).

The retrospective includes screenings of his 12 feature films; early, little-seen shorts, including “Hag in a Black Leather Jacket”; and a selection of films he says he envies, like Roger Michell’s “The Mother,” about an affair between a grandmother and a pre-Bond Daniel Craig.

Click here for the complete schedule on the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s website.

MFF Programmer Scott Braid reports on the 16th Annual Provincetown Film Festival

Sunday a week ago marked the wrap of the 16th annual Provincetown International Film Festival, a delightful and thoughtfully programmed festival centered in Cape Cod’s most charming and friendly town. PIFF pulled out all the stops this year in bringing world-class film and filmmakers to town. Their formidable line-up included a number of fantastic films and several wonderful special events.

Among the films in the PIFF line-up, a dozen or so appeared within MFF 2014 back in May. One of the notable overlaps in programming was Desiree Akhavan’s hilarious and heartfelt, APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR which was very warmly received by Ptown audiences and took home the fest’s Tangerine Entertainment Juice Fund award, a cash prize given at several different festivals in support of outstanding female filmmakers.


Desiree Akhavan with Tangerine Entertainment’s Anne Hubbell

MFF 2014’s FORT TILDEN (SXSW Grand Jury prize winner), the uproarious satirical dark comedy that offers a withering critique of a certain kind of vapid Brooklynite also made its way to the Cape, making a big splash with Ptown audiences in its 3 screenings there.


Directors Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers host a lively Q&A after screening their film FORT TILDEN at the Art House.

Other MFF 2014 narrative titles that made their way to PIFF included Gillian Robespierre’s breakout Sundance hit OBVIOUS CHILD, Joe Swanberg’s HAPPY CHRISTMAS, and Joel Potrykus’ BUZZARD. Meanwhile the documentary section included such MFF standouts as Marshall Curry’s POINT AND SHOOT, Joe Berlinger’s WHITEY, Ben Cotner and Ryan White’s THE CASE AGAINST 8, and Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman’s ART AND CRAFT.

As with any Maryland Film Festival, no Ptown Film Fest would be complete without the participation of the great John Waters. Here John was doing double duty reprising his MFF presentation of Catherine Breillat’s ABUSE OF WEAKNESS for Ptown audiences and acting as host/interviewer for legendary cult director David Cronenberg, who was being honored with the PIFF Filmmaker On The Edge award. Waters conducted a fascinating interview in which Cronenberg recalled turning down the chance to direct THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, watching Tom Cruise get passed over at an audition with Dino De Laurentiis, and a plethora of other fascinating stories about his nearly 50 years as a filmmaker. The same event saw a fun conversation between film critic B. Ruby Rich and PIFF Career Achievement honoree Debra Winger.


Cronenberg and Waters, seen here with PIFF’s Career Achievement Award-winner Debra Winger (photo from


Cronenberg talks about his career in conversation with John Waters at Provincetown’s Town Hall

Of course I didn’t travel all the way to the tip of Cape Cod just to watch and talk about movies I’ve already seen during the programming period for MFF. The main reason for me to go to any festival is to discover wonderful films I haven’t seen and Ptown did not disappoint in this department.

My two favorites films that I had yet to see at PIFF both came out of their documentary section. Nancy Kates’ REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG was an unexpectedly artful and fascinating look into the life of the late writer, filmmaker, political activist, etc. Constructed over the course of 8 years, the film goes to great lengths to create an atmosphere that reflects Sontag’s (and of course the filmmaker’s own) aesthetic sensibilities while offering an interesting and insightful appraisal of her life and work.


Director Nancy Kates discusses REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG, after PIFF screening at the Schoolhouse Gallery

The documentary that really knocked me out however, was Jesse Moss’ THE OVERNIGHTERS, an intense and powerful doc about the small town of Williston, North Dakota that is overwhelmed by its near overnight transformation into a fracking boom town. Thousands of men and women seeking employment in the oil fields or in ancillary industries springing up around them, overwhelming the towns resources, real estate and many folks nerves. At the center of the story is a local Lutheran pastor who is devoted to helping and housing the many desperate unemployed who come to town. At times his devotion to the plight of the “overnighters” as they’re called, puts him at odds with the town and even his own congregation. A fascinating insight into human nature, small town politics and the brutal reality of searching for employment during lean times, THE OVERNIGHTERS provides a riveting viewing experience throughout building to a mind-blowing crescendo, leaving the viewer much to ponder upon leaving the theater.


Still from Jesse Moss’ THE OVERNIGHTERS

In the narrative department, Ira Sachs’ haunting and heartfelt LOVE IS STRANGE provided a very satisfying viewing experience. The film stars John Lithgow and Alfred Molina as a senior-age gay couple who finally are able to marry after 39 years together, only to be forced out of their Manhattan apartment shortly thereafter by rising real estate prices. As they try to find a new home the couple has to separate for the first time in decades, staying with friends and relatives, putting a strain on both their relationship and those they’re staying with. Excellent performances are the key here and Molina and Lithgow deliver as does the supporting cast which includes Oscar-winner Marisa Tomei.


Director Ira Sachs discusses his latest film, LOVE IS STRANGE at Provincetown’s Town Hall

To close out the weekend, PIFF brought in acclaimed filmmaker Jonathan Demme to present his latest work A MASTER BUILDER. A film which finds Demme collaborating with the legendary Andre Gregory and Wallace Shawn, the duo perhaps most famous in cinematic circles for their 1981 collaboration with Louis Malle, MY DINNER WITH ANDRE. Their latest outing, A MASTER BUILDER is an ambitious adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder Solness. The two elder statesman of stage and screen (Gregory and Shawn also star in the film) were in attendance and with Demme hosted a rousing Q&A following the screening. The three greats discussed their excitement to have had the opportunity to work on this project together and the challenges of shooting such a project on a limited budget in just over a week. Reminding the audience that even legendary film artists often have to struggle to fund a project that they wish to complete on their own terms. It was a fitting and fun way to close out such a fine year for PIFF. The fun and festive closing party and awards ceremony made the evening all the more delightful. I look forward to visiting both Provincetown and its film festival again in June 2015!

From l to r: Wallace Shawn, Andre Gregory and Jonathan Demme, discussing their collaboration on A MASTER BUILDER

(All photos by Scott Braid unless otherwise noted.)

John Waters’ “Carsick” to be Released Tomorrow! Book Signing and Release Party at Atomic Books 6/12, 7pm!

JW Book SigningLegendary director and MFF Board Member John Waters will be releasing his seventh book tomorrow, “Carsick” (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, $26), which chronicles his cross-country hitchhiking adventure from Baltimore to San Francisco.  Click here to pre-purchase your very own copy from Atomic Books – signed by John Waters!

Also, be sure to check out the “Carsick” book release party and signing at Atomic Books (located at 3620 Falls Road in Hampden) on Thursday, June 12th at 7pm!  Click here for event information.

Carsick“Carsick” Synopsis:
A cross-country hitchhiking journey with America’s most beloved weirdo.

John Waters is putting his life on the line. Armed with wit, a pencil-thin mustache, and a cardboard sign that reads “I’m Not Psycho,” he hitchhikes across America from Baltimore to San Francisco, braving lonely roads and treacherous drivers. But who should we be more worried about, the delicate film director with genteel manners or the unsuspecting travelers transporting the Pope of Trash?

Before he leaves for this bizarre adventure, Waters fantasizes about the best and worst possible scenarios: a friendly drug dealer hands over piles of cash to finance films with no questions asked, a demolition-derby driver makes a filthy sexual request in the middle of a race, a gun-toting drunk terrorizes and holds him hostage, and a Kansas vice squad entraps and throws him in jail. So what really happens when this cult legend sticks out his thumb and faces the open road? His real-life rides include a gentle eighty-one-year-old farmer who is convinced Waters is a hobo, an indie band on tour, and the perverse filmmaker’s unexpected hero: a young, sandy-haired Republican in a Corvette.

Laced with subversive humor and warm intelligence, “Carsick” is an unforgettable vacation with a wickedly funny companion-and a celebration of America’s weird, astonishing, and generous citizenry.

“In the director John Waters’s amusing “Carsick”…he tells us up front and quite candidly that his idea to hitchhike from one of his homes in Baltimore to another of his homes in San Francisco was dreamed up as a stunt. What else would we expect from the creator of HAIRSPRAY? Of course, you have to be John Waters to pull this off. The celebrity hanging around rain-sodden truck stops sticking out his thumb is simultaneously the premise, the joke and the tale. So be it….In the end, “Carsick” becomes a portrait not just of America’s desolate freeway nodes – though they’re brilliantly evoked – but of American fame itself.”
Lawrence OsborneThe New York Times, 5/30/14 (click here for the complete review)
“If you saw a disheveled, clearly despondent 66-year-old man hitchhiking, would you pick him up?Would you pick him up if you realized he was John Waters?

Two springs ago, Baltimore’s most unrepentant degenerate set out on a mission of discovery. Beginning on Charles Street, not far from his home, Waters would hitchhike all the way to his San Francisco condo, following Interstate 70 most of way. There would be little in the way of advance planning; he’d be relying totally on his thumb and the kindness of strangers.”

Chris KaltenbachBaltimore Sun, 5/30/14 (click here for the complete review and interview with John Waters)

MFF Unveils Next 12 Titles of 2014 Film Lineup!

Maryland Film Festival continued unveiling the lineup for its 16th annual festival today, announcing 12 more feature films in addition to the 10 announced last week. Among the titles announced today are SXSW buzz films Fort Tilden, Evolution of a Criminal, and The Mend; the latest from Oscar-nominated documentarians Joe Berlinger and Marshall Curry; cutting-edge films made in Greece, South Korea, Taiwan, and Nepal; and the premiere of Maryland-made Lovecraftian horror film Call Girl of Cthulhu.

Lineup announcements will continue this week and next, including more than 20 additional emerging feature films, several revival screenings, and a favorite film selected and hosted by legendary filmmaker John Waters.

The 12 feature films announced today for MFF 2014 are:



CALL GIRL OF CTHULHU (Chris LaMartina) Baltimore-based D.I.Y. horror helmer Chris LaMartina’s latest tells the Lovecraft-inspired story of a virginal artist who falls in love with a call girl that turns out to be the chosen bride of the alien god Cthulhu.



EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL (Darius Clark Monroe) In this gripping blend of documentary, true-crime, and personal essay, a filmmaker confronts his past, dissecting the circumstances that led him to commit a bank robbery as a young man, and his journey since that act. Executive-produced by Spike Lee.



FORT TILDEN (Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers) Winner of the grand jury award for narrative feature at SXSW 2014, this satire of Brooklyn hipsters making their way to a day at the beach takes on Samuel Beckett-esque barbs as ordering coffee and locking a bicycle become almost insoluble dilemmas.



THE HIP-HOP FELLOW (Kenneth Price) The points of intersection between hip-hop culture and academia are explored in this documentary following Grammy Award winning producer 9th Wonder’s tenure at Harvard University. Interviewees include Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Kendrick Lamar, Young Guru, Phonte, and DJ Premier.



MANAKAMANA (Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez) This new feature from Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab (Leviathan, Sweetgrass) offers immersive access to an ancient journey now taken in a modern cable car, as viewers ride along in real-time with pilgrims and tourists bound for Nepal’s Manakamana temple.



THE MEND (John Magary) Shades of Cassavetes’ Husbands and Mike Leigh color this revelatory mix of comedy and drama, as estranged brothers (Josh Lucas and Stephen Plunkett) reconnect at a moment of crisis and embrace increasingly wild and impulsive behavior.



MOEBIUS (Kim Ki-duk) South Korean maverick Kim Ki-duk returns with perhaps his most shocking and darkly humorous exploration yet of the connections between pleasure, penance, spirituality, and the human impulse for violence.



POINT AND SHOOT (Marshall Curry) When Baltimore native Matthew VanDyke traveled to Libya to join the rebels who were taking up arms against Gaddafi, his experiences became international news. His stranger-than-fiction story is told by the director of MFF documentaries Street Fight, Racing Dreams, and If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front.



SEPTEMBER (Penny Panayotopoulou) After a seemingly solitary woman’s beloved dog passes away, she becomes overwhelmed by her loneliness. In her search to ease the pain of losing her best friend, she unexpectedly connects with a sympathetic family that lives in her neighborhood. This expertly crafted and warmly human film from Greek director Penny Panayotopoulou signals her triumphant return after a decade-plus hiatus from filmmaking.



STRAY DOGS (Tsai Ming-liang) The first digitally shot feature from master director Tsai (whose films I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone and Walker screened within the festival) continues his unique 25-year collaboration with lead Lee Kang-sheng, this time situating him as the homeless guardian to two young children in Taipei.



WATER LIKE STONE (Zack Godshall, Michael Pasquier) A documentary portrait of Leeville, Louisiana, a fishing village among the fastest-disappearing wetlands in the United States—and the unforgettable characters who call it home.



WHITEY: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA V. JAMES J. BULGER (Joe Berlinger) This documentary dissects legend from fact in investigating the story of Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, uncovering a web of corruption in the process. From the director of Crude and co-director of Brother’s Keeper, Some Kind of Monster, and the Paradise Lost trilogy.

Stay tuned for more program lineup announcements coming soon! Current members are invited to join us for our Members Only Film Festival Preview on Thursday April 17th at The Walters Art Museum at 7:00pm. This event is free for Friends of the Festival; to join or renew your Friends of the Festival membership, click here. If you are a current member and would like to reserve a spot for two to our Festival Preview, email Angie at

MFF Programmer Scott Braid reports on the 2013 Provincetown International Film Festival

It’s not easy to find yourself back in the balmy heat of Baltimore (no matter how much you love the city), after 5 days of the most beautiful weather imaginable, in one of the most beautiful locales imaginable. Add to that, the opportunity to watch great movies with some of the greatest cinematic talents living today, and you’ve got one splendid working vacation.Image

So it was with my 5 day excursion to the very tippy-top of Cape Cod and the wonderful and welcoming Provincetown, Massachusettes with its annual Provincetown International Film Festival (PIFF). This was my second year attending the amiable and well-run festival at land’s end and it was a doozy of a year, featuring a bevy of unbelievable cinematic talent including Harmony Korine, Todd Haynes, Mary Harron, legendary cinematographer Ed Lachman. Baltimore’s own John Waters also plays a central role in the festivities, much as he does for MFF. Among his many duties within the fest, Mr. Waters shares the same film that he presented to MFF audiences with the P-Town crowd. For the PIFF screening of Ulrich Seidl’s PARADISE: FAITH, Mr. Waters was joined by legendary Director of Photography, Ed Lachman. Lachman shot the entire PARADISE trilogy and in addition to this recent work with Seidl, has worked with the likes of Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Godard, and Larry Clark, to name but a few. Waters and Lachman gave a rousing post-screening Q&A which I had the good fortune to record and can be seen here:

Lachman was in attendance to receive PIFF’s Career Achievement Award, which was presented in a special conversation/ceremony with film critic B. Ruby Rich. That same event saw John Waters in conversation with cinema wunderkind, Harmony Korine (SPRING BREAKERS, GUMMO), who was presented with PIFF’s Filmmaker On The Edge Award. The conversation between Waters and Korine was a lively and entertaining one, which covered Korine’s filmmaking career and some of his more notorious acts in front of the camera and in his personal life. More about the conversation from The Film Society at Lincoln Center’s Eugene Hernandez here.

Below – (l to r) Honorees Ed Lachman and Harmony Korine with John Waters. (photo by Bruce Gilbert)Image

While both of the conversations were highly informative and great fun, the real reason to go to any film festival is to watch films, and PIFF 2013 offered up an interesting selection of greats from the festival circuit. Giving me a chance to catch up on some of the titles I’ve been eager to see from Sundance and some things I missed at SXSW back in March.  The highlights of my viewing  (in no particular order) were as follows:

HARRY DEAN STANTON: PARTLY FICTION, a fascinating and artful portrait of the legendary actor, which eschews a by-the-numbers recounting of his career for a more poetic and philosophical character study, a soul-penetrating look at the man behind some of the most memorable performances in cinema history. Stanton is a fascinating and charming subject from the outset, but his openness allows the filmmaker to dig deeper, discovering a discontented loner where most would expect to find a man who has lived all of his dreams. Stanton’s true passion is music (a career he has never realized) and the film is suffused with his melancholy singing, revealing as much about the man as any of the interviews do. Well worth a look to fans and non-fans alike.

AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS by MFF alum and host of MFF 2013’s Opening Night Shorts Program, David Lowery, is every bit the beautifully crafted and fantastically acted work I expected from such a talented filmmaker. Favorable comparisons to BADLANDS and BONNIE AND CLYDE are apt but this film has a feel all its own and it leaves an indelible mark on the viewer. I’m still mauling over many fantastic sequences days later and there’s no sign that those scenes will stop popping into my mind anytime soon. Unfortunately, the film’s trip to Cannes precluded us from screening it within MFF 2013 but it will be a treat for Baltimore audiences when it hits screens here in the coming months. Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara and Ben Foster all give fantastic heartfelt performances and the cinematography by Bradford Young (who won the prestigious Sundance Cinematography Award for both this film and MFF 2013 Closing Night film MOTHER OF GEORGE) is quite simply breathtaking.

As part of the honors bestowed upon Ed Lachman, the festival screened several works on which, he served as Director of Photography. Susan Seidleman’s 1985 film, DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN (starring then-newcomer Madonna and Rosanna Arquette) was one of the chosen films and initially I thought a ho-hum choice. But alas, after seeing the film’s visual splendor on the big screen and hearing Lachman talk about the choices he made in filming the work, I was forced to reconsider my near-lifelong blasé feelings towards it. It stands as a vibrant portrait of mid-80s New York City, with wonderful location photography and a who’s-who cast of Lower Eastside stalwarts of the time, including a pre-stardom John Turturro, character actor Will Patton (MFF 2011 alum), punk rock icon Richard Hell, as well as noted musicians John Lurie, and Arto Lindsay. It’s a fun movie and a smarter movie than most have given it credit for being. Below- Ed Lachman during the Q&A for DESPERATELY SEEKING SUSAN. Image CONTINENTAL by Malcolm Ingram is a fun and informative look at the culture surrounding the iconic Continental Bath House in late 60s/early 70s New York and its charismatic founder Steve Ostrow’s transformation from work-a-day business and family man, to gay culture icon and gay rights activist. The Continental Baths became one of THE places to go in 70s NYC and the night club therein launched the careers of mega-stars the likes of Bette Midler and Barry Manilow. A must-see for anyone interested in the history of gay culture in the U.S.

Below – MFF Programmer Scott Braid with CONTINENTAL director Malcolm Ingram. Image

GIDEON’S ARMY is the feature directorial debut of Dawn Porter and wow is it a powerful one! Porter follows a group of young public defenders in their quest to give the disenfranchised and poverty stricken a chance in a complex legal system all too often stacked against them. Porter’s expertly crafted film shows the ups and downs faced by this idealistic group of young lawyers as they face struggles of their own in the form of unjustly low pay, overwhelming caseloads and the emotional tolls of working with clients whose very lives and freedom depend on your performance. Wisemanesque in both the level of emotional wallop it packs and its finely crafted and largely observational style, Porter’s film is one that leaves you overwhelmed, both with outrage, at a system that disproportionately incarcerates minorities and the impoverished, and with gratitude for the work that these public defenders do, not for money, but because they are driven to give a fair shake to those who are so often chewed up and spit out by a flawed justice system.

In addition to catching a number of other screenings, I also had the pleasure of acting as guest host for a few, introducing the film and then hosting the Q&A afterwards. And, even with all of this movie-related activity, I still had time to enjoy all of the delicious food, wonderful nightlife and pristine beaches that P-Town has to offer. I can’t wait to report back from PIFF 2014!




Maryland Film Festival has just announced eight more feature films for its fifteenth edition, including legendary filmmaker John Waters’ selection, Ulrich Seidl’s Paradise: Faith. Each year Waters selects one favorite film to present to our audiences. This marks the first time Waters has selected a second title by the same director, having presented Seidl’s Dog Days within MFF 2004.

While Waters will host only Paradise: Faith, MFF 2013 will screen all three films in Seidl’s new Paradise trilogy: Paradise: Faith, Paradise: Hope, and Paradise: Love.  Alongside Waters’ selection, MFF has also announced the title for another signature event, our annual silent film with a live score performed by Alloy Orchestra: Harry O. Hoyt’s The Lost World (1925).

MFF 2013 will take place May 8-12 in downtown Baltimore. Lineup announcements will continue this week, including the festival’s Opening Night Shorts program and Closing Night title. Keep checking this blog for updates, and for all the latest information be sure to “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @MdFilmFestival!

The newly announced films for MFF 2013 are:



The Boy Eating the Bird’s Food (Ektoras Lygizos) The debut film from Ektoras Lygizos offers a modern re-imagination of Knut Hamsun’s classic novel Hunger, as an alienated loner tries to survive the bleak landscape of Athens in the wake of economic collapse.

Butter on the Latch (Josephine Decker) At a Balkan folk song and dance camp in the woods of Mendocino, California, Sarah reunites with her old friend Isolde.  But when Sarah pursues a romance with a new camper, the nights of sensual secrets and singing with Isolde come to an abrupt end.



By and By: New Orleans Gospel at the Crossroads (Matthew T. Bowden & Joe Compton) Baltimore filmmakers Bowden and Compton’s documentary follows The Electrifying Crown Seekers, a family-based group that anchors a vibrant, under-the-radar gospel music community—even as changing tastes and the impact of Hurricane Katrina take a toll on performers and audiences alike.



The Lost World (Harry O. Hoyt) This landmark 1925 adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 fantasy novel concerns an expedition that sets out to prove that dinosaurs still walk the earth. Featuring a live original score performed by Alloy Orchestra.

Paradise: Faith (Ulrich Seidl) A middle-aged Austrian woman spends her spare time going door to door, trying to bring the Catholic faith into the homes of poor immigrants. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 69th Venice International Film Festival, and presented within MFF as a favorite film by legendary filmmaker John Waters.



Paradise: Hope (Ulrich Seidl) Sent to a diet camp over her summer vacation, Austrian teen Melanie finds distraction in listening to accounts of the sexual escapades of the other girls in her dorm—as well as in her own ever-increasing infatuation with the camp doctor.

Paradise: Love (Ulrich Seidl) In the first installment of Seidl’s Paradise trilogy, a 50-year-old Austrian woman travels to Kenya to engage in sexual tourism. But as she becomes smitten with the young Kenyan men who compete for her attention, the power dynamic begins to shift.



Remote Area Medical (Jeff Reichert & Farihah Zaman) Over three days in April 2012, Remote Area Medical, the pioneers of “no-cost” health care clinics, treated nearly 2000 patients on the infield of Bristol, Tennessee’s massive NASCAR speedway. This documentary takes an intimate look at the patients, the care providers, and the gap in public health that brought them together.