Posts Tagged 'Rick Alverson'

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)

Several MFF Alums Featured in Sundance 2015 Lineup!

sundance-618x400Sundance Film Festival has recently announced its 2015 lineup and we’ve spotted several MFF alums who will be presenting films in the competition.  Sundance takes place January 22-February 1, 2015 in Park City, Utah. MFF Director Jed Dietz will be in attendance once again this year; stay tuned for updates from him on the MFF blog! In the meantime, here is a list so far of MFF alums presenting films at Sundance (film descriptions taken from the Sundance website):

In the U.S. Dramatic Competition:

Marielle Heller, one of the recipients of our 2012 Maryland Filmmakers Fellowship, will present THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Marielle Heller) – Minnie Goetze is a 15-year-old aspiring comic-book artist, coming of age in the haze of the 1970s in San Francisco. Insatiably curious about the world around her, Minnie is a pretty typical teenage girl. Oh, except that she’s sleeping with her mother’s boyfriend. Cast: Bel Powley, Alexander Skarsgård, Christopher Meloni, Kristen Wiig.
Andrew Bujalski, who directed MFF 2013’s COMPUTER CHESS, will present RESULTS / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Andrew Bujalski) – Two mismatched personal trainers’ lives are upended by the actions of a new, wealthy client. Cast: Guy Pearce, Cobie Smulders, Kevin Corrigan, Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Michael Hall, Brooklyn Decker.

Long time MFF alum Kris Swanberg will present her new film UNEXPECTED / U.S.A. (Director: Kris Swanberg, Screenwriters: Kris Swanberg, Megan Mercier) – When Samantha Abbott begins her final semester teaching science at a Chicago high school, she faces some unexpected news: she’s pregnant. Soon after, Samantha learns that one of her favorite students, Jasmine, has landed in a similar situation. Unexpected follows the two women as they embark on an unlikely friendship. Cast: Cobie Smulders, Anders Holm, Gail Bean, Elizabeth McGovern.

Craig Zobel, who directed MFF 2012’s COMPLIANCE, will present Z FOR ZACHARIAH / U.S.A. (Director: Craig Zobel, Screenwriter: Nissar Modi) – In a post-apocalyptic world, a young woman who believes she is the last human on Earth meets a dying scientist searching for survivors. Their relationship becomes tenuous when another survivor appears. As the two men compete for the woman’s affection, their primal urges begin to reveal their true nature. Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie, Chris Pine.

In the U.S. Documentary Competition:

Bobcat Goldthwait, who directed MFF 2013’s WILLOW CREEK, MFF 2011’s GOD BLESS AMERICA and MFF 2007’s John Waters pick SLEEPING DOGS LIE, will present his documentary debut CALL ME LUCKY / U.S.A. (Director: Bobcat Goldthwait) – Barry Crimmins was a volatile but brilliant bar comic who became an honored peace activist and influential political satirist. Famous comedians and others build a picture of a man who underwent an incredible transformation.

Daniel Junge, who co-directed MFF 2014’s FIGHT CHURCH, will be presenting his film BEING EVEL / U.S.A. (Director: Daniel Junge) – A candid portrait of American icon Robert “Evel” Knievel and his legacy.

E. Chai Vasarhelyi, who directed MFF 2009’s YOUSSOU NDOUR: I BRING WHAT I LOVE will be presenting MERU / U.S.A. (Directors: Jimmy Chin, E. Chai Vasarhelyi) – Three elite mountain climbers sacrifice everything but their friendship as they attempt the never-before-completed Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru, the most coveted first ascent in the dangerous game of Himalayan big wall climbing.

The Ross brothers (Bill Ross and Turner Ross), who directed MFF 2012’s TCHOUPITOULAS, will present WESTERN / U.S.A., Mexico (Directors: Bill Ross, Turner Ross) – For generations, all that distinguished Eagle Pass, Texas, from Piedras Negras, Mexico, was the Rio Grande. But when darkness descends upon these harmonious border towns, a cowboy and lawman face a new reality that threatens their way of life.

In the NEXT <=> Lineup:

Diego Ongaro, whose short BOB AND THE TREES screened within MFF 2012, will be presenting his feature BOB AND THE TREES / U.S.A., France (Director: Diego Ongaro) – Bob, a 50-year-old logger in rural Massachusetts with a soft spot for golf and gangsta rap, is struggling to make ends meet in a changed economy. When his beloved cow is wounded and a job goes awry, Bob begins to heed the instincts of his ever-darkening self. Cast: Bob Tarasuk, Matt Gallagher, Polly MacIntyre, Winthrop Barrett, Nathaniel Gregory.

Charles Poekel, who was a producer on MFF 2011’s FAKE IT SO REAL, and Hannah Gross and Kentucker Audley, who are alums for multiple prior MFF films, are part of
CHRISTMAS, AGAIN / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Charles Poekel) – A heartbroken Christmas tree salesman returns to New York, hoping to put the past year behind him. He spends the season living in a trailer and working the night shift, until a mysterious woman and some colorful customers rescue him from self-destruction. Cast: Kentucker Audley, Hannah Gross, Jason Shelton, Oona Roche.

Rick Alverson, who directed MFF 2012’s THE COMEDY, will present ENTERTAINMENT / U.S.A. (Director: Rick Alverson, Screenwriters: Rick Alverson, Gregg Turkington, Tim Heidecker) – En route to meeting with his estranged daughter, in an attempt to revive his dwindling career, a broken, aging comedian plays a string of dead-end shows in the Mojave Desert. Cast: Gregg Turkington, John C. Reilly, Tye Sheridan, Michael Cera, Amy Seimetz, Lotte Verbeek.

Click here for the complete list of released titles for Sundance 2015!

LUV, GAYBY, THE COMEDY, and 9 More Announced for Maryland Film Festival 2012!

Following up on last week’s first line-up announcement, the Maryland Film Festival proudly announces twelve more features for MFF 2012 (May 3-6 in downtown Baltimore).

Among these titles are LUV, the Baltimore-shot drama which premiered at Sundance 2012 and boasts an all-star cast that includes Common, Charles S. Dutton, Danny Glover, and Michael Kenneth Williams; GAYBY, fresh from its premiere at SXSW 2012, a warm-hearted comedy about two best friends, a gay man and straight woman, who decide to have a child together; and THE COMEDY, a dark and challenging mix of comedy and drama starring Tim Heidecker.

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.

Without further ado, the second batch of features announced for MFF 2012 are:

ATTENBERG (Athina Rachel Tsangari)
A young woman with a bizarre way of looking at friendship, love, and life spends long hours with her father, their small town’s chief architect now on his deathbed. DOGTOOTH fans take note: ATTENBERG is directed by that film’s associate producer, co-stars that film’s director Yorgos Lanthimos, and has an offbeat sensibility that, while all its own, can only have DOGTOOTH as its closest point of comparison.

THE COMEDY (Rick Alverson)
Tim Heidecker stars in this abrasive, challenging, and yes, hilarious film, arguably closer in tone to FROWNLAND or THE IDIOTS than it is TIM AND ERIC’S BILLION-DOLLAR MOVIE. A group of jaded, ultra-privileged Brooklynites with sharp comedic tongues and little respect for social norms seeks out confrontational situations, with sometimes shocking results.

EMPIRE BUILDER (Kris Swanberg)
A young mother (Kate Lyn Sheil, also of MFF 2012 titles SUN DON’T SHINE and THE COMEDY) seeks a rural retreat from the doldrums of married life. The second feature film from Kris Swanberg (MFF 2009’s It was great, but I was ready to come home).

FOUND MEMORIES (Júlia Murat)
In this stunningly shot drama from Brazil, a young female photographer sets out on a hike and stumbles upon a mysterious village populated entirely by elders. Her well-intentioned presence there disrupts the flow of their daily rituals, causing them to contemplate their mortality and look at life differently.

GAYBY (Jonathan Lisecki)
Warm-hearted, often explosive humor and vibrant characters drive this crossover comedy about best friends—a gay man and a straight woman—who in their 30s decide to make good on their promise they made back in college to have a child together.

KID-THING (David and Nathan Zellner)
This beautifully shot feature from the directors of GOLIATH (MFF 2008) shows us a slice of Texas populated by listless moments, odd behavior, and piles of pop-culture debris – all seen through the eyes of a mischievous 10-year-old girl who, through solitude, has developed a unique outlook on life.

LUV (Sheldon Candis)
An all-star cast that includes Common, Charles S. Dutton, Michael Kenneth Williams, Dennis Haysbert, and Danny Glover drives this Baltimore-set drama about a man who, just released from prison and trying to start a new life for himself, takes an interest in teaching his 11-year-old nephew how to be a man.

OSLO, AUGUST 31st (Joachim Trier)
From the director of the spectacular REPRISE (2006) comes this poetic and deeply moving account about a recovering addict on his first day leave from a recovery program. As he reconnects with old friends and family and fantasizes about a clean life on the outside, will he fall prey to his old demons? Reverently based on the same novel that inspired the Louis Malle classic THE FIRE WITHIN.

THE PATRON SAINTS  (Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky)
This extraordinary documentary gives us a poignant look into the daily lives of residents of a home for the aged and disabled. Incapable or unwilling to self-censor, they say whatever is on their minds, giving us unforgettable access to a phase of human life we may have never before looked at head-on.

PILGRIM SONG (Martha Stephens)
In this atmospheric, sensory-rich mix of comedy and drama, a downsized middle-school teacher in a struggling relationship sets off alone for a hike on the Sheltowee Trace Trail, meeting a cast of characters worthy of Kaurismaki or Jarmusch along the way.

THE SOURCE  (Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos)
This is the ultimate documentary about The Source Family, a spiritual group that formed in L.A. during the height of the psychedelic era. Central to their story is their Sunset Strip restaurant The Source, their albums and performances as Yahowa 13, and, above all, Father Yod, a former Marine and jujitsu expert who reinvented himself first as a vegetarian restaurateur and then as a spiritual guru.

WILD IN THE STREETS (Peter Baxter)
Since medieval times, the UK town of Ashbourne has played an annual, multi-day game that divides the town into two groups, the Up’ards and Down’ards, each hellbent on carrying a beautiful handmade four-pound ball to one of two goals three miles apart. This riveting documentary captures the tradition in all its sweat and glory.

Note for press: Festival artwork and images for announced titles are available for download here:

http://mdfilmfest.com/press_images.cfm