Posts Tagged 'Lotfy Nathan'


Good Ol' Freda production still horizontal


Maryland Film Festival is proud to announce a dozen more titles for our 2013 edition, bringing the total number of features revealed to 36 thus far.  Our fifteenth annual festival, which will take place May 8-12 in downtown Baltimore, has expanded to 5 days and will include approximately 50 features and 9 shorts programs.  We will also present a silent classic with an original score performed live by the Alloy Orchestra and a favorite film selected and hosted by legendary director John Waters!

The diverse round of titles announced today includes work from Finland, Mexico, Austria, and Israel, and such titles as Zach Clark’s holiday-themed, darkly comic White Reindeer; Alex Winter’s riveting look at the rise and fall of Napster, Downloaded; Jessica Oreck’s experiential documentary about a family of reindeer herders, Aatsinki; and Calvin Reeder’s surreal, horror-tinged mindbender about a mysterious loner, The Rambler.

More MFF 2013 lineup announcements are coming soon! If you haven’t seen them yet, make sure to check the 24 features we announced last week! For all the latest information, continue to visit this blog, and follow us at and on Twitter, @MdFilmFestival.

Today’s announced features for Maryland Film Festival 2013 are:

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16 Acres (Richard Hankin) From the editor and co-producer of Capturing the Friedmans comes this riveting and nuanced documentary look at the rebuilding of Ground Zero—one of the most architecturally, politically, and emotionally complex urban renewal projects in history.



Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys (Jessica Oreck) One year in the life of a family of reindeer herders in Finnish Lapland yields an immersive study of hard work, hard earned leisure, and an intricate bond between man and nature. From the director of Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo.

Before You Know It (P J Raval) This observational documentary raises the curtain on a profoundly neglected segment of the LGBT community, its senior population, as three gay men residing in very different regions of the U.S. face new life challenges.



Bluebird (Lance Edmands) In the frozen woods of an isolated Maine logging town, one woman’s tragic mistake shatters the balance of the community, resulting in profound and unexpected consequences.

Downloaded (Alex Winter) With remarkable insight and access, this documentary tells the story of the rise and fall of Napster, taking a close look at the internet mavericks and musicians involved and the lasting global impact of peer-to-peer file sharing.



Here Comes the Devil  (Adrián García Bogliano) From Mexico comes this horror film concerning disappeared children and panicked parents, offering ever-escalating thrills as it heads to increasingly bloody, diabolical, and even psychedelic territory.

Fill the Void (Rama Burshtein) This drama set in Tel Aviv’s Orthodox community centers around 18-year-old Shira, who faces unexpected life challenges when her older sister dies.

Good Ol’ Freda (Ryan White) Freda Kelly was just a shy Liverpudlian teenager when she was asked to work for a local band hoping to make it big. That band was The Beatles, and Freda was their devoted secretary and friend for 11 years; this documentary tells her story—and the story of the world’s most famous band through her eyes.



Museum Hours (Jem Cohen) From the director of Benjamin Smoke and Instrument comes this gentle and expertly crafted drama about a Vienna museum guard and the friendship he forms with a woman visiting town to care for a sick friend.

THE RAMBLER_Lindsay Pulsipher and Dermot Mulroney shooting_photo by Juliana Halvorson


The Rambler (Calvin Reeder) Dermot Mulroney, Lindsay Pulsipher, and Natasha Lyonne star in the latest psychotronic vision from the director of The Oregonian, in which a mysterious loner, newly released from prison, sets out on a journey filled with bizarre characters and warped experiences.

We Always Lie to Strangers (AJ Schnack and David Wilson) A documentary story of family, community, music and tradition, built over five years and set against the backdrop of Branson, Missouri, one of the biggest tourist destinations in America.



White Reindeer (Zach Clark) After an unexpected tragedy, Suzanne searches for the true meaning of Christmas during one sad, strange December in suburban Virginia. From the director of Vacation! and Modern Love Is Automatic.

Previously Announced Titles for 2013:

12 O’CLOCK BOYS (Lotfy Nathan)

AFTER TILLER (Martha Shane and Lana Wilson)

AUGUSTINE (Alice Winocour)


COMPUTER CHESS (Andrew Bujalski)


HIT & STAY (Joe Tropea and Skizz Cyzyk)

I AM DIVINE (Jeffrey Schwarz)

I USED TO BE DARKER (Matt Porterfield)

IF WE SHOUT LOUD ENOUGH (Gabriel DeLoach and Zach Keifer)

IT FELT LIKE LOVE (Eliza Hittman)

LEVIATHAN (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel)


PIT STOP (Yen Tan)

POST TENEBRAS LUX (Carlos Reygadas)

PRINCE AVALANCHE (David Gordon Green)

SWIM LITTLE FISH SWIM (Lola Bessis and Ruben Amar)

A TEACHER (Hannah Fidell)


TOUCHY FEELY (Lynn Shelton)

V/H/S/2 (omnibus)

WATCHTOWER (Pelin Esmer)

WILLOW CREEK (Bobcat Goldthwait)

ZERO CHARISMA (Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews)



Photo of Divine from I Am Divine by MFF alum Jeffrey Schwarz, playing at the SXSW 2013 festival.

The South By Southwest Film Conference & Festival marks its 20th year in 2013, and three members of the MFF programming team — myself, programming administrator Scott Braid, and screening-committee member Eric Cotten — are all here in Austin to take in films. SXSW’s programming is international in scope, but the focus is on U.S. independent work, the next major stop for emerging domestic films after Sundance in January. It’s an especially important festival for the MFF programming team, the last trip we take before putting the finishing touches on our own lineup, which we’ll begin rolling out in early April.

As befitting a film festival that runs alongside equally renowned music and interactive (technology/gaming) components, SXSW’s line-up is peppered with some high-profile genre and midnight films. Last year saw the festival premiere The Cabin in the Woods, and this year’s edition boasts both the Evil Dead remake and V/H/S/2. We’ll be especially eager to check out the latter, a sequel to the omnibus horror film we screened within MFF 2012, this one boasting a segment by Maryland’s own Eduardo Sánchez.

Meanwhile, two very different Baltimore-focused documentary features have been generating much-deserved buzz at SXSW. Lotfy Nathan’s thrilling first feature 12 O’Clock Boys looks at Baltimore’s urban dirt-bike phenomenon, seen through the eyes of a young teenager who hopes to become a part of it. Simply put, this film contains some of the most eye-popping Baltimore footage ever caught on camera, sometimes exhilarating and sometimes poignant. Its trailer went viral on social media a few weeks ago, helping position the film as one of the festival’s most talked-about docs, an auspicious debut for a project that we’ve been tracking throughout its several years of production.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Schwarz, a frequent MFF guest who attended last year with the moving documentary Vito, has completed his highly anticipated new feature I Am Divine. It’s the definitive story of Baltimore’s own drag icon, made with the full cooperation of key participants like John Waters and Divine’s mother, and bursting with wonderful archival clips and stills. A roller coaster of a story filled with moments of triumph, heartbreak, and hilarity, it’s also another expertly crafted entry in Schwarz’s highly compelling body of biographical documentaries.

In addition to seeing films this year, I was invited to participate as a SXSW mentor in the field of documentary film programming. This allowed festival attendees to sign up for blocks of time to ask me questions about getting their documentary finished and out into the world. I met with a wide range of folks, from a few aspiring filmmakers looking for advice in getting their projects funded, to others with completed films in hand seeking tips on maximizing their films’ festival lives and positioning them for distribution. The SXSW mentorship program is a great facilitation of the networking possibilities one can find at film festivals; I enjoyed meeting this diverse group of people, and appreciated the opportunity to share some of the insights about the festival world I’ve gained over the seven years I’ve worked as a programmer for MFF.

SXSW continues through this weekend, and we’ll be in town for the full duration. We hope to take in about 50-60 features and as many shorts before the festival closes. Watch the MFF blog for more updates!

Eric Allen Hatch, MFF Director of Programming