Posts Tagged 'Stephen Cone'

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 Unveils Next 10 Titles of 2015 Lineup!

Maryland Film Festival continues to unveil the lineup for its 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 the area premieres of 10 more highly anticipated narrative, documentary, and international features, including Charles Poekel’s rich and emotionally resonant character study Christmas, AgainTodd Rohal’s outrageous and explosive psychotronic comedy Uncle Kent 2; and fascinating new documentary work from Bobcat Goldthwait, Amy Berg, and Alex Winter. These new titles join 10 features revealed last week, including the world premiere of Stephen Cone’s vibrant coming-of-age drama Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, bringing the total of MFF 2015 titles announced so far to twenty.

Lineup announcements will continue next week. Today’s titles announced for MFF 2015 are:

AMINA_PROFILE_Sophie-DeraspeTHE AMINA PROFILE (Sophie Deraspe) Two women, Sandra in Montreal and Amina in Syria, meet online, and begin a flirtatious relationship that quickly turns serious. When Amina begins to blog as “A Gay Girl in Damascus,” she garners international attention as an outspoken representative of a marginalized community. Then Sandra hears that Amina has been kidnapped—and, in this fascinating documentary fueled by mystery, politics, and sexuality, she must examine how much about Amina she truly knows.

BEATS_OF_THE_ANTONOV_Hajooj-KukaBEATS OF THE ANTONOV (Hajooj Kuka) War reporter and documentary filmmaker Hajooj Kuka takes viewers into the Blue Nile and Nuba Mountain regions of South Sudan, where we meet displaced South Sudanese who live under the constant threat of bombardment from the Sudanese military via Antonov cargo planes. But defying familiar victim narratives, Kuka’s camera finds resilient people that summon strength and positivity from music, laughter, and a determination to maintain their culture against any odds.

CALL_ME_LUCKY_Bobcat-GoldthwaiteCALL ME LUCKY (Bobcat Goldthwait) Since the 1980s, Barry Crimmins has established himself as a comedian’s comedian, armed with a rapid-fire technique and a scathing political perspective aimed at shocking American audiences out of their complacency—even as he never quite gets the respect he deserves. Peers like Margaret Cho and Marc Maron join documentarian Bobcat Goldthwait in paying tribute to Crimmins’ many contributions to the comedy community and political activism over the decades.

CHRISTMAS_AGAIN_Charles-PoekelCHRISTMAS, AGAIN (Charles Poekel) Noel (Kentucker Audley) sells Christmas trees off a lot in New York, living a quiet and solitary life in the camper that anchors the site. As Christmas nears, a mysterious woman lands in Noel’s life, and tries to find a way into the closed-off, emotionally blocked world he’s constructed. Beautiful Super 16mm cinematography and unforgettable performances from Audley and Hannah Gross yield a moving character study of quiet, gentle humanism.

DEEP-WEB_Alex-WinterDEEP WEB (Alex Winter) With Downloaded (MFF 2013), Alex Winter established himself as an expert at illuminating complex issues at the intersection of the internet and legality—and giving audiences intimate access to the personalities at the center of his story. Deep Web excitingly confirms that status, turning its lens on the online black market Silk Road, and digging deep into the still-unfolding story of Ross Ulbricht, the man accused of being the site’s creator and moderator, “Dread Pirate Roberts.”

GOD_BLESS_THE_CHILD_Machoian_Ojeda-BeckGOD BLESS THE CHILD (Robert Machoian and Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck) Four brothers spend a day on their own in Davis, California, with their thirteen year-old sister forced to look after them as best she can in the absence of their troubled and unreliable mother. This visually stunning experimental drama, which premiered at SXSW, turns an unflinching eye on the behavior of children in the absence of adults, with results at turns hilarious, awkward, poignant, and unnerving.

PROPHETS_PREY_Amy-BergPROPHET’S PREY (Amy Berg) The director of Deliver Us From Evil and West of Memphis takes us deep into another explosive story, that of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Exploring allegations of sexual abuse, family expulsions, forced marriages, and other horrors, this Sundance-premiered documentary paints an unforgettable portrait of conformity, fear, and oppression.

TWO_SHOTS_FIRED_Martin-RejtmanTWO SHOTS FIRED (Martin Rejtman) Veteran Argentine filmmaker Martin Rejtman brings his unique deadpan sensibility to the story of a sixteen-year-old who finds a gun in his house. He shoots himself out of boredom—but, after a near-miss with death, finds that the major change in his life is an annoying whistle in his chest, sabotaging the music he makes with an amateur recorder quartet.  A disloyal dog, a strange vacation, and a bizarre cast of characters add up to a quietly anarchic comedy that channels Aki Kaurismäki and Roy Andersson’s A Swedish Love Story as it refuses to play by conventional narrative rules.

UNCLE_KENT_2_Todd-RohalUNCLE KENT 2 (Todd Rohal) Kent Osborne, the mild-mannered animator whose mundane daily routines and love life fueled Joe Swanberg’s Uncle Kent, is desperate to make a sequel—an idea that excites precisely no one else. But when Swanberg gives Osborne his blessing to take the idea elsewhere, things takes a decidedly warped turn, as MFF favorite Todd Rohal takes over at the helm, steering the film deep into the realm of psychotronic dark comedy.

WESTERN_Bill_Turner-RossWESTERN (Bill and Turner Ross) In the neighboring towns of Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, Mexico, a rugged cattleman and a populist mayor navigate changing times as the specters of cartel violence and xenophobia threaten harmonious cultural and economic exchanges between the U.S. and Mexico.  Marked by muggy days and thunderous nights, this evocative and immersive documentary from the directors of 45365 and Tchoupitoulas delivers a thrilling mix of fascinating characters, riveting narrative, and extraordinary sensory detail.

MFF Unveils the First 10 Titles of Our 2015 Lineup!

We have begun unveiling the lineup for our 17th annual festival, which will take place May 6-10 in downtown Baltimore and include approximately 50 feature films and 12 short-film programs from around the world.

The first ten feature films announced for MFF 2015 include the area premieres of highly anticipated independent narrative and documentary features, including Stanley Nelson’s riveting Black Panthers documentary, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution; Kris Swanberg’s nuanced and emotionally resonant character study, Unexpected; Olivia Wyatt’s immersive look at Moken culture, Sailing a Sinking Sea; and Eugene Kotlyarenko’s delightfully anarchic rom-com, A Wonderful Cloud. Also just announced for MFF 2015 is the world premiere of Stephen Cone’s vibrant coming-of-age drama Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party.

Lineup announcements will continue over the next 2 weeks. The first ten titles announced for MFF 2015 are:

BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION (Stanley Nelson)

THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION (Stanley Nelson)

THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION (Stanley Nelson) Master documentarian Stanley Nelson has demonstrated an unparalleled ability to bring history to life with films such as Freedom Summer; The Murder of Emmett Till; and Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple.  Here he turns his lens on the revolutionary Black Panther Party and the various cultural forces that worked to support or destroy the group, creating an essential portrait of a singular radical moment in the American experience.

BREAKING A MONSTER (Luke Meyer)

BREAKING A MONSTER (Luke Meyer)

BREAKING A MONSTER (Luke Meyer) Viral-video sensation Unlocking the Truth, a teenage metal buzz-band from Brooklyn, navigate the bizarre current state of the record industry in this fascinating, fist-pumping, and often hilarious documentary. Fresh from its premiere at SXSW, this exceptional rock doc follows the band as they sign a major-label record deal and are suddenly caught up in an adult-driven world of contracts, tours, interviews, and branding. From Luke Meyer, co-director of MFF 2006 hit Darkon.

FUNNY BUNNY (Alison Bagnall)

FUNNY BUNNY (Alison Bagnall)

FUNNY BUNNY (Alison Bagnall) The writer/director of The Dish & the Spoon returns with this offbeat, infectious mix of comedy and drama. Kentucker Audley stars as an obesity-awareness canvasser who strikes up a friendship with a wealthy, emancipated 19-year-old named Titty (Olly Alexander) and the animal-rights-activist object of Titty’s desire, Ginger (Joslyn Jensen). Co-starring Josephine Decker, Louis Cancelmi, and Anna Margaret Hollyman.

HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY (Stephen Cone)

HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY (Stephen Cone)

HENRY GAMBLE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY (Stephen Cone) A pool party celebrating the seventeenth birthday of Henry Gamble (Cole Doman), the son of a megachurch preacher (Pat Healy), sets the stage for this expertly observed ensemble drama. As sunny skies fade into moonlight, director Stephen Cone (The Wise Kids, Black Box) offers a subtle and insightful portrait of a community full of pressures and secrets —exploring identity, sexuality, and organized religion in the process. World premiere.

SAILING A SINKING SEA (Olivia Wyatt)

SAILING A SINKING SEA (Olivia Wyatt)

SAILING A SINKING SEA (Olivia Wyatt) This experimental documentary, which premiered at SXSW, looks at the traditional lifestyle of the Moken people, a seafaring community of Burma and Thailand. Olivia Wyatt’s gorgeous and immersive film transports viewers deep into the turquoise sea and onto thirteen different islands, giving us intimate access to a culture where shamans, mermaids, and sea gods collide with present-day practices. Executive-produced by Will Oldham.

STINKING HEAVEN (Nathan Silver)

STINKING HEAVEN (Nathan Silver)

STINKING HEAVEN (Nathan Silver) This ultra-dark comedy looks at a communal home for sober living in 1990s suburban New Jersey, which spirals into dysfunctional decline when an outsider arrives on the scene. Director Nathan Silver’s film boasts an uncompromising visual aesthetic that goes against the grain of contemporary indie filmmaking—not to mention a fantastic cast that includes Deragh Campbell, Hannah Gross, Keith Poulson, and Eleonore Hendricks.

​TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL (Jeffrey Schwarz)

​TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL (Jeffrey Schwarz)

TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL (Jeffrey Schwarz) Top-notch documentary biographer Jeffrey Schwarz has captivated MFF audiences with definitive looks at iconic personalities William Castle, Vito Russo, and Divine. Now he delivers the warm and intimate story of 1950s Hollywood heartthrob Tab Hunter, who simultaneously balanced a stratospheric career on the silver screen with a secret life as a gay man. From his rise to stardom to his reinvention as a cult-film star with John Waters—and a number of fascinating surprises—it’s all here.

UNEXPECTED (Kris Swanberg)

UNEXPECTED (Kris Swanberg)

UNEXPECTED (Kris Swanberg) High-school science teacher Samantha (Cobie Smulders), already dealing with stress and uncertainty as her low-income school prepares to close, finds out she’s pregnant. When she discovers her favorite student Jasmine (Gail Bean) is also with child, the two form a tight and unconventional bond. From Kris Swanberg (whose earlier features Empire Builder and It was great, but I was ready to come home. both screened within MFF) comes this refreshing character study that mines honest emotions and the quiet battlefields of love and friendship for real beauty and insight.

WELCOME TO LEITH (Michael Beach Nichols, Christopher K. Walker)

WELCOME TO LEITH (Michael Beach Nichols, Christopher K. Walker)

WELCOME TO LEITH (Michael Beach Nichols, Christopher K. Walker) This edge-of-your-seat documentary follows the arrival of notorious white supremacist Craig Cobb to a small town in North Dakota, where he promptly buys up land for like-minded collaborators and disrupts town council meetings, leading to fears that he plans a neo-Nazi takeover. As his behavior escalates further into the outrageous and threatens to get violent, a once-placid community must decide how to react.

A WONDERFUL CLOUD (Eugene Kotlyarenko)

A WONDERFUL CLOUD (Eugene Kotlyarenko)

A WONDERFUL CLOUD (Eugene Kotlyarenko) When his ex-girlfriend visits him in Los Angeles to resolve some lingering business entanglements, Eugene seeks to revisit old feelings, and introduces her to an LA populated by a wild cast of artists, scenesters, and eccentrics. Variety called this gleefully anarchic romantic comedy “a raucous, wholly improvised 21st-century Annie Hall.” Starring director Kotlyarenko (whose 0s & 1s had its world premiere at MFF 2010) and Kate Lyn Sheil (Sun Don’t Shine, House of Cards).