Thursday May 3 - Sunday May 6
14TH ANNUAL MARYLAND FILM FESTIVAL
The Charles Theater.
1711 N. Charles St.
"Station North" Baltimore.
Festival Programmer Scott Braid’s Maryland Film Fest 2012 “Insider Picks”
Here we go again. It seems so hard to believe that another year has passed and another Maryland Film Festival is upon us!
Many of you have been asking what my picks are, or what the must-sees are during this year’s festival. As such, it is time for me to let you in on what my personal faves are out of this year’s line-up. But first I want to say that I truly love all of the films that we’ve programmed and couldn’t be more proud of the line-up that D.O.P. Eric Hatch and I have put together for this, the 14th Maryland Film Festival. I should also reiterate that these are my personal faves. The picks are from Scott Braid, the film fest loving, cinephile. They are titles which, if not working for the weekend and unleashed on the theaters of MFF 2012, I would be going ape-shit on. These picks are not so much from Scott Braid, the programmer of the Maryland Film Festival who again, loves all of the films equally.
Now that we’ve got that squared away, let’s get down to it!
ATOMIC STATES OF AMERICA
From the awesome filmmakers who brought you THE ART OF THE STEAL (concerning the controversy surrounding the moving of The Barnes Collection) and MFF 2011 fave LAST DAYS HERE (about Maryland heavy metal luminaries Pentagram) comes this searing critique of U.S. atomic energy policy, and expose on the problems that communities surrounding nuclear power plants face. If you think nuclear power is a clean/green alternative to fossil fuels, I urge you to see this film and consider some of the arguments made here.
This gem of a film comes to us from Brazil. I had the pleasure of coming across it at the Toronto International Film Festival last Fall and am super excited to share it with Baltimore audiences. First time feature director Julia Murat has wrought a beautiful and heartfelt meditation on aging that takes on almost magical qualities without being corny or trite like so many Amelies (I said it).
THE INTERNATIONAL SIGN FOR CHOKING
Filmed on location in Buenos Aries, this beautifully shot, existential drama peers into the life of a stranger in a strange land, as he desperately tries to connect with his work and those around him. Few films can capture a mood and a sense of time and place as well as this does.
Eduardo Sanchez, co-director of the infamous film, THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT is back with, what may be his finest film to date. A genuine chiller, this ghost story/psychological horror is anchored by a scorching performance from newcomer Gretchen Lodge (as Molly). I have no doubt that you will be checking under your bed when you return home from one of our late-night screenings of this one.
If you like your documentaries to get your brainwaves bouncing, then this is the one for you! Four unique minds present their views on the existential crisis that is modern living. A naturalist, neurologist, historian and poet, all weigh in on the merits and demerits that 21st century culture brings into our lives. A profound and fascinating journey guided by four singular individuals.
SAVE THE DATE
A thinking person’s romance film, SAVE THE DATE packs a whole lot of very genuine laughter and tears into its 90+ minutes. Excellently directed, acted and written, this is the film that we all keep wishing Hollywood could make and get right, when they’re too busy making vapid wannabe box-office filler. If there’s any justice in this world, this will be one of the big indie winners of the year. Freaks and Geeks fans take note, Martin Starr (aka Bill Haverchuck) is in the house on this one and he’s great!
A wonderful odyssey guided by three young men from their home on the outskirts of the city, through the previously verboten nighttime world of NOLA. An epic adventure rarely seen in non-fiction filmmaking that could rival the greatest of literature. Do not miss it.
WILD IN THE STREETS
The name says it all in this energetic and highly entertaining doc about an amazing tradition in a small English town. The film looks at the rich tradition of Shrovetide Football, a two day, no holds barred mass football game that bashes and thrashes its way through the streets (and rivers!) of Ashbourne, England each February. Have yourself a pint ready if someone scores a goal!
I have to second a number of Eric’s picks here too.
Unlike any other film you will see this year! Bursting with creative energy and bold new ideas to match its humanity and wicked sense of humor, this will be one of your most memorable MFF experiences of 2012.
Scorching dark comedy never looked darker. The laughs actually hurt in this one and not in the side-splitting way.
JEFF is an exhilaratingly new take on a grimly fascinating subject, the story of Jeffrey Dahmer has never been documented so brilliantly.
PATRON SAINTS is one of the most brilliant and eloquent films about the aging and the infirmed ever committed to film (or data card). The film examines a subject few care to think about with a warmth and wry sense of humor desperately needed to face such a bleak topic.
Oh shit, I can’t leave you without talking about all of thesse amazing shorts programs too! ANIMATED SHORTS (with BELLY and VENUS as my two standout faves!), DOCUMENTARY SHORTS (with the wonderfully sweet NECKING, the wonderfully nostalgic THE JOSEPH SZABO PROJECT, and the mind-blowing FAMILY NIGHTMARE), DARK COMEDY SHORTS (BAD PENNY and BEAU are two of the 9 straight bangers), AND THE PASSION OF THE WTF OF SHORTS (CROWN, THE LIFE AND FREAKY TIMES OF UNCLE LUKE and TEMPEST IN A BEDROOM comprising some of the cream of an all cream crop) are probably my top picks but then I remember that EXPERIMENTAL SHORTS and GENRE SHORTS are great too and I realize that I just have to stop.
There’s so much great stuff! Stop reading and start watching!