Posts Tagged 'Rory Kennedy'

Jed’s Sundance Updates #1 – Robert Redford and Liz Garbus on Opening Night of Sundance 2015


Robert Redford. Photo by Jed Dietz.

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival is now in full swing, and MFF director Jed Dietz is onsite in Park City, UT reporting back to us. Pictured above, Sundance Film Festival founder Robert Redford introduces MFF alum Liz Garbus‘ new documentary on Nina Simone, WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? which played after Bryan Buckley‘s comedy THE BRONZE on Opening Night of the Sundance Film Festival.

Liz Garbus.

Liz Garbus. Photo by Jed Dietz.

Liz Garbus is an Emmy Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated director and producer. Her gripping death penalty documentary THE EXECUTION OF WANDA JEAN played within MFF 2002. Garbus is also co-founder of Moxie Firecracker Films with fellow MFF alum Rory Kennedy.

After the Sundance 2015 Opening Night screening of WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE? music star John Legend made an unannounced appearance and covered 3 of Nina Simone’s songs.

Stay tuned to the MFF blog for more photos and updates from Jed’s trip to Sundance 2015!

MFF Alum Rory Kennedy’s LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM Opens Today at the Charles Theater!

LDVMFF Alum Rory Kennedy‘s new award-winning documentary about the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM, opens in Baltimore today at the Charles Theater.  Click here to purchase tickets.  LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.
Perhaps the most striking thing about LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM, Rory Kennedy’s eye-opening documentary about the 1975 evacuation of the American Embassy in Saigon, is how calmly it surveys what was once among the angriest topics in American political life. The story is full of emotion and danger, heroism and treachery, but it is told in a mood of rueful retrospect rather than simmering partisan rage. Ms. Kennedy, whose uncle John F. Kennedy expanded American involvement in Vietnam and whose father, Robert F. Kennedy, became one of the ensuing war’s most passionate critics, explores its final episode with an open mind and lively curiosity. There are old clips that have never been widely seen and pieces of information that may surprise many viewers.
– The New York Times, 9/4/14

Rory Kennedy’s award-winning documentary ETHEL screened within the 2012 Maryland Film Festival and again as part of the MFF/WYPR Spotlight Series.

Film Synopsis
During the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War, the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance crumbles. The United States has only a skeleton crew of diplomats and military operatives still in the country. As Communist victory becomes inevitable and the U.S. readies to withdraw, some Americans begin to consider the certain imprisonment and possible death of their South Vietnamese allies, co-workers, and friends. Meanwhile, the prospect of an official evacuation of South Vietnamese becomes terminally delayed by Congressional gridlock and the inexplicably optimistic U.S. Ambassador. With the clock ticking and the city under fire, a number of heroic Americans take matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in a desperate effort to save as many South Vietnamese lives as possible.

Maryland Film Festival presents Rory Kennedy’s ETHEL (MFF 2012) on 10/1 with special guest Kathleen Kennedy Townsend!

Maryland Film Festival is thrilled to announce a special screening of Rory Kennedy‘s 2012 MFF documentary selection, ETHEL, with special guest Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, on October 1st, 7:00pm, at the MICA Brown Center.

The film was a big hit at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, has won multiple audience awards, and was also a hit at MFF 2012.

Come early for dinner specials at Two Boots Pizza (located just one block from the MICA Brown Center at 1203 W. Mount Royal Avenue).  Mention Maryland Film Festival and you will receive 10% off your order!

Maryland Film Festival presents ETHEL with special guest Kathleen Kennedy Townsend
Monday, October 1st
MICA Brown Center
1300 W. Mount Royal Avenue
Baltimore, MD

This screening is free to current Friends of the Festival.

“… this intimate, revealing portrait of Robert F. Kennedy’s widow, directed by their youngest daughter, is a unique installment in the cultural history of this storied family…Cherished family photos, amusing home movies, sober newsreel footage and revealing interviews with her siblings Kathleen, Joe, Bobby, Courtney, Kerry, Chris and Max provide the film with an unmatched perspective that makes it a significant historical document in itself…it’s a moving and inspiring testament to a woman who has turned opportunity and adversity into a legacy that will be remembered by generations of Americans.”

Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter

Announcing International Titles, Rare Classics, and More

Maryland Film Festival (May 3-6 in downtown Baltimore) continues to roll out its 2012 line-up with films from Argentina, Turkey, Colombia, South Africa, and Iceland, our vintage silent and 3D titles, as well as a dozen more new narrative and documentary features by some of the most exciting names in American independent film.

We’ve got a few titles yet to unveil, including our Opening Night and Closing Night films, 8 jam-packed shorts programs, and a few very exciting, late-breaking additions. But following on the heels of two dozen already-announced features, this announcement of 18 more features from around the world reveals the bulk of Maryland Film Festival’s 2012 line-up.

Keep checking for breaking news and our final round of exciting announcements.


THE BLACK BALLOON (Josh and Benny Safdie)
This comedic and touching journey of a balloon through present-day New York City comes to us courtesy of the inimitable Safdie brothers (of MFF 2010’s DADDY LONGLEGS). The Safdies have paired their latest short with classic titles THE RED BALLOON, THE BALLOONATIC, and THE PINCUSHION MAN for a charming feature-length program of balloon-themed shorts.

ETHEL (Rory Kennedy)
Rory Kennedy’s intimate documentary about her mother Ethel combines rich archival footage with unprecedented private access to deliver a film that is both personal homage and vital historical document all at once.

FRANCINE (Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky)
Melissa Leo stars in this riveting, artful drama about a woman just released from prison, having difficulty finding work and positive human relationships in the outside world. As interacting with humans becomes more difficult, she turns to animals for solace. From the directors of the documentary THE PATRON SAINTS, also screening within MFF 2012.

FROM MORNING TILL MIDNIGHT (directed by Karl Heinz Martin; presented by Alloy Orchestra)
Festival favorites Alloy Orchestra return with their new score to this rediscovered treasure of 1920s German Expressionist cinema.

Two 20-something travelers in neighboring rooms of the same boarding house in Buenos Aires discover they’re both Americans, sparking an unusual relationship. This quiet, exquisitely shot film stars Sophia Takal (MFF 2011’s GREEN).

JEFF (Chris James Thompson)
This experimental hybrid of narrative and documentary forms mixes sequences of quiet moments in the life of a fictional Jeffrey Dahmer with revelatory real-life interviews. Three lives forever changed by “Jeff” speak out: the older neighbor who trusted him, the medical examiner who identified the victims, and the interrogator who got the killer’s confession.

LOVE FREE OR DIE (Macky Alston)
Gene Robinson became the first openly gay bishop when elected by the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire in June 2003, beginning a long journey for acceptance and respect. This heartfelt and moving documentary tells his real-life story.

The master director of THREE MONKEYS, CLIMATES, and DISTANT (winner of the grand jury prize at Cannes in 2003) takes his aesthetic to the next level with this film about a group of men driving through rural Turkey in search of a corpse. Notes of noir, drama, thriller, and social satire blend into an exquisite film not soon forgotten.

PORFIRIO (Alejandro Landes)
In this visionary film from Colombia, a wheelchair-bound man who made international headlines stars as himself in a bold retelling of his real-life story. Paralyzed from the waist down by a policeman’s bullet, we meet Porfirio as he ekes out a modest living reselling cell-phone minutes, relying on his son and neighbor for day-to-day care. Slowly, it becomes clear that Porfirio has been planning a drastic move to better his lot in life.

RECONVERGENCE (Edward Tyndall)
This experimental documentary juxtaposes the philosophies of four very different thinkers whose life and work explores the nature of identity, history, and memory: a neuroscientist, a poet, a naturalist, and museum curator. Visually splendid and intricately edited, an intriguing web of connected ideas emerges.

SEE YOU SOON AGAIN (Lukas Stepanik, Bernadette Wegenstein)
For fifty years, Holocaust survivor Leo Bretholz has shared his story with students and community groups throughout the Baltimore area and beyond. How do students today receive his message—and what impact does continually retelling such an incredibly painful and personal story have on a person?

This sharp ensemble film mixes comedy, drama, and romance as it introduces us to Nick (Alex Karpovsky) and Darryl (Tarik Lowe), a team of film editors in New York City with complicated personal lives. Co-stars include Sophia Takal, Melonie Diaz, Kevin Corrigan, and Lena Dunham.

TCHOUPITOULAS (Bill and Turner Ross)
In this visionary documentary, three young boys venture into the New Orleans night, showing us all the sounds, colors, and evocative hidden corners of that culture-rich city with fresh young eyes. From the directors of the remarkable 45365.

THOSE REDHEADS FROM SEATTLE (Lewis R. Foster; presented in two-projector 3D!)
Maryland Film Festival is dedicated to presenting a different vintage 3D film each festival, and our tradition lives on with this 1953 musical starring Rhonda Fleming, Gene Barry, and Agnes Moorehead.

From the co-director of METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER and the PARADISE LOST series comes this documentary look at the making of Paul Simon’s classic Graceland album—a story sometimes contentious, but frequently ecstatic.

V/H/S (omnibus)
A group of burglars seek out a cache of disturbing VHS tapes they plan to resell. But the contents of the tapes are even more unsettling than they expected. This omnibus horror film contains new work from, among others Joe Swanberg and Ti West.

Jerry McGill’s life has been that of a rock-and-roll outlaw, performing with rock and country royalty and having more than his share of brushes with the law. Now in his 70s, he’s fighting to stay on top of his health and get back in the studio. This riveting documentary takes an unflinching look at a man who refuses to be tamed.

VOLCANO (Rúnar Rúnarsson)
With masterful assurance, Rúnar Rúnarsson’s feature debut Volcano offers a character study of a curmudgeonly Reykjavik retiree that probes life’s banal indignities for dark comedy, drama, and, ultimately, cosmic truth. Fans of Mike Leigh and the Dardenne Brothers take note.

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

Sundance Update: ETHEL by MFF Alum Rory Kennedy is a Hit!

It’s rare to make a movie about your Mom that gets in to Sundance, and its even rarer when that movie is wildly entertaining and has universal appeal, but that is exactly what Rory Kennedy has done.  With her new documentary, ETHEL, Rory chronicles the life of her mother, Ethel Kennedy, with intimate conversations and never-before-seen images of the Kennedy family.

An MFF alum, Rory is a talented filmmaker but on every level this challenge must have seemed crazy.   The audience here went nuts.

Here’s a picture Jed caught of Rory talking to one of the many people who lined up to talk with her after the screening.

Stay tuned for more of Jed’s updates from Sundance 2012!

Rory Kennedy, MFF Alum and Director of ETHEL, at Sundance 2012