Friday, May 8, 2015


Maryland Film Festival
WHEN: May 6th-10th
Mount Vernon, Station North and Charles Village

The annual Maryland Film Festival takes place May 6th-10th. Screening over 150 films—narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, and hybrid. In addition to emerging contemporary films, signature film programs include: Opening Night Shorts & Party—a program of five short films with the filmmakers present; a classic 3-D film; a vintage silent film with live musical accompaniment by The Alloy Orchestra; and the always-popular, John Waters Picks, a film selected and hosted by director John Waters.

Concurrent to the festival is the Filmmakers’ Tent Village which invites the public to engage in discussion panels, master classes, workshops, outdoor screenings and Q&As with the filmmakers and other film industry insiders—all for free.

For a schedule, click here.

TODAY IS FRIENDS OF THE FESTIVAL FRIDAY (May 8th)! This is the special day during our festival where we show our love for our members by inviting them to see UNLIMITED FREE MOVIES before 6pm! 

Sign up for a Friends of the Festival membership at any level and you will have access to Friends of the Festival Friday! Join during the festival and you will also receive a free coffee mug and coupon for a free cup of Thread coffee at Red Emma's!


Come to the Friends of the Festival table, located in the Tent Village Box Office tent (in the East MICA lot on 131 W. North Avenue) after 9am and simply check in with your name to pick up your red Friends of the Festival Friday card. Then show this card at the theater when you arrive to gain free entry to any film you'd like to check out before 6pm - no tickets needed!


Hold on to your FOF Friday Card and save 10% at Turps (1317 N. Charles Street) and XS Cafe (1307 N. Charles Street) during the Festival!

The following films will be screening during Friends of the Festival Friday (
click here for the complete descriptions):

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution - 11am, MICA Gateway
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.

Best of Enemies - 11 am, MICA Brown Center
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).

Two Shots Fired - 11 am, Walters Art Museum
Veteran Argentine filmmaker Martín 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.

Western - 11 am, Single Carrot Theatre
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.

People, Places, Things - 11 am, MICA Lazarus Studio Center
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 weekend 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.

Narrative Shorts - 11:30 am, Windup Space

  • PEARS - 17 minutes - Director: Karen Sztajnberg
  • Q.U.E.E.N. - 17 minutes - Director: Brittany Fennell
  • SARA & DENNIS - 12 minutes - Director: Shahin Izadi
  • SUPERIOR -16 minutes - Director: Erin Vassilopoulos
  • TUMBLE DRY LOW - 7 minutes - Director: Jefferson Stein
  • WE'LL FIND SOMETHING - 13 minutes - Director: Casey Gooden

A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile - 1:30 pm, Single Carrot Theatre
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.

International Shorts - 1:30 pm, MICA Lazarus Studio Center

  • THE BABY - 16 minutes - Director: Ali Asgari – Iran
  • CARNE SECA - 12 minutes - Director: Jazmin Diaz – Mexico
  • GREENLAND - 17 minutes - Director: Oren Gerner – Israel
  • JE NE SUIS PAS UN GRAND ACTEUR - 20 minutes - Director: Jean-Guillaume Bastien – Canada
  • STILL LEBEN/ STILL LIFE - 14 minutes - Director: Kai Sitter – Germany

Unexpected - 1:45 pm, MICA Brown Center
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.

Prophet's Prey - 1:45 pm, Walters Art Museum
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.

Crocodile Gennadiy - 1:45 pm, MICA Gateway
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.

Character Study Shorts - 2 pm, Windup Space

  • ACTRESSES -12 minutes - Director: Jeremy Hersh
  • ARAVAN - 6 minutes - Director: Keiran Watson-Bonnice – Australia
  • DIAMOND DAY - 7 minutes - Director: Sofia Banzhaf – Canada
  • I REMEMBER NOTHING - 18 minutes - Director: Zia Anger
  • MONA - 17 minutes - Director: Jocelyn Jacobs
  • ZARI - 20 minutes - Director: Courtney Marsh

Jauja - 4 pm, Single Carrot Theatre
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.

Beats of the Antonov - 4 pm, MICA Lazarus Studio Center
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.

Tab Hunter Confidential - 4:15 pm, MICA Brown Center
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.

Funny Bunny - 4:15 pm, Walters Art Museum
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.
Sailing a Sinking Sea - 4:30 pm, MICA Gateway

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.

Drama Shorts - 4:30 pm, Windup Space

  • EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE - 15 minutes - Director: Eleanor Wilson
  • FULL-WINDSOR - 6 minutes - Director: Faraday Okoro
  • HAZE - 12 minutes - Director: Chloe Domont
  • KNIGHTSVILLE - 13 minutes - Director: Aly Migliori
  • LEAVES ON TREES - 17 minutes - Director: Nathan Duncan
  • LITTLE BLOCK OF CEMENT WITH DISHEVELED HAIR CONTAINING THE SEA - 16 minutes - Director: Jorge Lopez Navarrete – Spain
  • TZNIUT - 11 minutes - Director: David Formentin