Posts Tagged 'Tom Rothman'

Sundance Update #4 – I USED TO BE DARKER and FRUITVALE

Film still from Baltimore native Matt Porterfield's I USED TO BE DARKER. 2013, 90 minutes, color, U.S.A., Feature.

Film still from Baltimore native Matt Porterfield’s I USED TO BE DARKER. 2013, 90 minutes, color, U.S.A., Feature.

The Baltimore presence has been exceptionally strong in Park City this year. Baltimore pride was strongly felt at Matt Porterfield‘s 2013 Sundance debut of I USED TO BE DARKER, a wonderful film about the repercussions of rips in the family fabric as people find each other and let each other go.  Shot in Maryland, cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier beautifully portrays the unfolding revelations of this film against a suburban Baltimore landscape.

Musician and cast member Kim Taylor performing at the I USED TO BE DARKER party.

Kim Taylor at the I USED TO BE DARKER after-party.

This picture (right) is of musician and cast member Kim Taylor performing at the I USED TO BE DARKER after-party.  Ned Oldham, cast member and former Roland Park Public School faculty member,  also performed.

Another classic Baltimore moment happened when I ran into Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck coming out of a screening.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.

There was lots of chatter from him and his group (or “entourage,” as they say in  Sundance-speak) about my Baltimore Ravens hat. I guess Joe Flacco couldn’t be here because he’s still working.

Then, another Baltimore moment: while waiting in line for a screening of the amazing FRUITVALE with critics Elvis Mitchell, Todd McCarthy and Scott Foundas, I ran into Tom Rothman and his daughter. Tom is a long-time Sundance Board Member and is on the Dramatic Jury this year.   Tom was also one of the honorees at our very first MFF Open Conversation fundraiser, alongside his father Donald and brother John. The event “The Rothmans: An Insider’s Look at the Movie Business” took place in October 2007.

Film still from FRUITVALE. 013, 90 minutes, color, U.S.A., U.S. Dramatic.

Film still from FRUITVALE. 2013, 90 minutes, color, U.S.A., Drama.

FRUITVALE is a film by first-time feature filmmaker Ryan Coogler and it dramatizes a tragic incident on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. The script was developed at the 2012 Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab and the remarkable cast features Octavia Spencer (Oscar winner for THE HELP), Michael B. Jordan (Wallace from the first season of TV’s The Wire), Melonie Diaz, Ahna O’Reilly, Kevin Durand and Chad Michael Murray.

Tony Forman, an early supporter of FRUITVALE, kicked the party up several notches with bottles of champagne and Bordeaux from his personal collection. Creative Capitals creator and chief Ruby Lerner (a Goucher alum) was there, as well as JHU student Clair Richardson, there on her second JHU/Sundance trek, and her parents. Her dad, Paul, is CEO of Sundance Cinemas. Marcus Hu from Strand Releasing was also there and had already been in touch with John Waters about Matt‘s film.

– Jed Dietz, MFF Director

MFF Presents “An Open Conversation with John Travolta and John Waters” on Saturday, November 10th! Tickets On Sale Now!

The Maryland Film Festival is pleased to announce a unique tribute to Hollywood legend John Travolta on Saturday, Nov. 10 at the MICA Brown Center. The main event, a fundraiser to support the work of the Maryland Film Festival, will bring Travolta together with noted filmmaker John Waters for the fifth annual edition of the Maryland Film Festival’s annual signature “Open Conversations.”

Maryland Film Festival Presents “A Tribute to John Travolta:” An Open Conversation with John Travolta and John Waters
Saturday, November 10th
MICA Brown Center
1300 West Mt. Royal Ave.
Baltimore, MD

For General Admission ticket holders:

Brown Center Doors Open at 6:30 PM.

Open Conversation begins at 7:00 PM.

For VIP ALL-ACCESS Pass Holders:

VIP ALL-ACCESS Pass holders reception at 6 PM

VIP ALL-ACCESS Pass holders dinner with John Travolta and John Waters at 8:30 PM.

VIP Passes can be purchased by calling 410-752-8083 or by emailing

John Travolta‘s career represents an astonishing range of work, right up to his work in Oliver Stone‘s 2012 release, SAVAGES, which should garner Travolta a series of Best Supporting Actor nominations,” said MFF Director Jed Dietz. “In Maryland, we feel a special attachment to his career, and are grateful for his generosity to the community when he was here filming LADDER 49. We are proud to be able to welcome this unique artist back to Baltimore.”

Honorary Co-Chairs of the event will be Johns Hopkins President Ron Daniels and his wife, Joanne Rosen, and Maryland Institute College of Art President Fred Lazarus and his wife, Jonna Lazarus.

Travolta, who has appeared in more than 60 films, launched his career in 1972 with a variety of television roles and rose to national prominence with his featured role in the sitcom “Welcome Back, Kotter.” He secured his position as a leading man with a pair of musical blockbusters – SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER in 1977 and GREASE in 1978. His career was rekindled with a star turn in PULP FICTION in 1994, after which he continued to stretch his skills in a wide variety of starring roles. In 2004, Travolta came to Baltimore to film LADDER 49 with co-star Joaquin Phoenix. Three years later, Travolta returned to musicals, donning a house dress and a Baltimore accent to star as Edna Turnblad in the HAIRSPRAY, the film of the musical adapted from John Waters‘ 1988 film of the same name.

John Waters has directed sixteen movies in the city of Baltimore, including HAIRSPRAY, SERIAL MOM, CRY-BABY, POLYESTER and PINK FLAMINGOS, and he is the author of six books including 2011′s Role Models. He also serves on the Maryland Film Festival’s Board of Directors and has screened his films at numerous festivals around the world, including Cannes and Sundance. Waters has selected a film to present to audiences at each Maryland Film Festival since the festival’s launch in 1999; these titles have varied from offbeat comedies to cult classics and challenging art films. Their power to entertain and challenge viewers is always heightened by Waters’ unique humor and insight.

The Maryland Film Festival Open Conversations are designed to bring our community of supporters closer to movies and the people who make them. Launched in 2007, the Open Conversations have opened a variety of windows on the filmmaking world, including an exploration of the careers of actor John Rothman and his brother, studio executive Tom Rothman, an exploration of documentary film as journalism with Meredith Vieira, and a celebration of the 30th anniversary of DINER with Barry Levinson and cast members Ellen Barkin, Daniel Stern, and Michael Tucker.


1977: SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (Oscar & Golden Globe Nomination)
1978: GREASE (Golden Globe Nomination)
1994: PULP FICTION (Oscar & Golden Globe Nomination)
1995: GET SHORTY (Golden Globe Win for Lead Actor)
1997: FACE/OFF (MTV Award for Best Duo)
1998: PRIMARY COLORS (Golden Globe Nomination)
2004: LADDER 49 (Filmed in Baltimore with Joaquin Phoenix)
2007: HAIRSPRAY (Golden Globe Nomination)
2012: Lifetime Achievement Award, Zurich Film Festival
2012: Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award, San Sebastian Film Festival




$75* – Conversation-Only Tickets.  Click here to purchase.

$300* – All Access Passes (includes preferred seating for Conversation followed by intimate post-Conversation dinner with John Travolta and John Waters).  Must call MFF office at 410-752-8083 to order.

*All tickets include access to MFF screenings of Travolta films at the Charles Theater, 1711 N. Charles Street: GET SHORTY on 10/23, 9pm and PULP FICTION 10/24, 9pm.

Not a Friend of the Festival or has your membership lapsed?  There has never been a better time to come back.   Presenter-level memberships start at just $50.  Click here to find out more about Friends of the Festival membership levels and benefits. This event WILL sell out – get your tickets now!

For more information about the event and Maryland Film Festival visit our website at