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If they keep up this kind of programming, the Maryland Film Festival is gonna be another SXSW (which is a very good thing for real indie film)

Yes, I will have to call the MD fest "a smaller SXSW, of the east".

Man, MD fest's line up this year is so good, I am going to have to trek up to Baltimore during all 3 days of the fest (5/2 Fri - 5/4 Sun). Check out their selection of films here.

Some of the MD fest movies that I am excited about/will try to catch:

(that melvin van peebles movies with the long title)

"Telling the fantastic, mystical tale of a man with few resources who joyfully becomes a merchant marine, travels far and wide, and enjoys a wide variety of romantic entanglements, the film champions independent exploration. Distilling years of cultural experience through the eyes of one lone adventurer, the film pulls us into its protagonist's world with cunning and magic. Melvin Van Peebles himself, with only a glancing reference to his chronological age of 75, plays the lead character as he progresses from young boy to middle age. Kaleidoscopic, epic, and handmade, sweeping but intensely personal, this is the perfect incarnation of Melvin Van Peebles’ indefinable and singular artistic career."


American Teen

"One could argue that American teens have been observed on film and television enough. From MTV “reality” to fictional studio movies, filmmakers can’t seem to get their minds or cameras off teens. But by choosing to take their cameras to the metaphoric middle of America -- Warsaw, Indiana’s lone high school -- Nanette Burstein and her filmmaking team have made a movie about teenagers from America's heartland that is full of insight and fun."



"Impressed by the small successes of a local, low-budget filmmaker, four struggling actors decide to head for a cabin in the woods and write their masterpiece -- with juicy roles for themselves, of course. Standing in their way? Shortages of just a few things: talent, motivation, energy, and inspiration. Oh, and a surplus of two -- hormones and alcohol -- as multiple romantic entanglements and a fridge full of beer take the friends further and further away from a completed screenplay"



"citizens of the capitol city of Mali convene to stage an unusual trial. The defendants? The World Bank and International Monetary Fund, on trial (with actual judges and lawyers playing those roles) for crimes against the nations and peoples of the "Third World." Meanwhile, the film ventures into a series of asides: ecstatic musical numbers performed in a local nightclub, which will particularly thrill anyone interested in African soul, jazz, and R+B music; and a film-within-a-film, the spaghetti western Death in Timbutktu, starring Danny Glover (executive-producer of Bamako), and Palestinian filmmaker Elia Suleiman."


Beautiful Losers

"Some of the most provocative and influential visual art of the 1990s came from a group of young outsiders who drew their inspiration less from the Western art canon, and more from their own involvements in youth cultures like skateboarding, punk, hip-hop, and graffiti. Many of these "beautiful losers" found each other in New York City in the early '90s, convening on a small DIY art space run by Aaron Rose."

Chop Shop

"Alejandro (Alejandro Polanco) is a 12 year-old, savvy street kid trying to find a way to get ahead financially and provide a better life for his older sister, Isamar (Isamar Gonzales). He lives in the attic of the "Iron Triangle" (as Willet's Point is also known) chop shop where he works illegally, all the while saving money towards starting his own small business. But hard urban realities press down on the pair, making every day a struggle and every laugh or smile a rare, cherished commodity."



"Intimidad follows young Mexican couple Cecy and Camilo over four years. The great love the couple feels for each other is tangible, but financial realities threaten to tear them apart. Both find work in the factory-lined border city of Reynosa, and dream of earning enough money to buy a small plot of land and build a modest home. But in order to pursue this dream, they've had to move away from their daughter, leaving her with grandparents and extended family back in Puebla -- and when they visit their child over a Christmas vacation, the couple has to ask themselves hard questions about their life in Reynosa and whether the few dollars a month they save will ever buy their dream home."

Low and Behold

"To kill some time and make some money, uninspired Turner Stull (Barlow Jacobs, who also co-produced) accepts an invitation from his Uncle Stully (Robert Longstreet) to process insurance claims for an opportunistic company in post-Katrina New Orleans. Instructed to work fast in order to make as much money as possible, Turner ignores a plea for help from Nixon (Eddie Rouse), a local man simply looking for his lost dog. The tables are turned when Turner finds himself in need of Nixon’s help, causing the two to form an unlikely partnership among the mass destruction they must both navigate."


Medicine for Melancholy

"Two young African-Americans wake up to the aftermath of a party, attempting to shake off the awkwardness of last night's one-night stand (and to remember each other's names). As eager-to-connect charmer Micah (Wyatt Cenac) pursues the mysterious, reluctant Jo' (Tracey Heggins), their conversation heads for some deep and unexpected places: gentrification and its race and class components; black identity in San Francisco, the city with the smallest percentage black population of any major American city; African-American history and art; and, perhaps most of all, their differing attitudes towards interracial relationships."


Moma's Man

" To describe Azazel Jacobs’ Momma's Man is to sell it short, for on the surface it is one of the most oft-told stories in the indie-film book. In this case, however, descriptions are deceiving, for in reality, Jacobs’ heartfelt drama is an unexpectedly resonant example of artistic expression at its fiercest and most deeply personal. Mikey (Matt Boren) is an emotionally stunted young man in his early thirties, who has left behind his wife and baby in California for a few days in order to visit the cluttered, cavernous TriBeCa loft in which he grew up. When his work is done and it’s time for Mikey to return to his new home, something prevents him from doing just that. As he continues to ignore his wife’s desperate phone calls, Mikey lounges around the loft like a kid again and reunites with a few old friends, to the rising concern of his loving, supportive parents."


Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie

"Dallas and Wayne live in southern Ohio, stomping the Appalachian hills for traces of the legendary creature known as Bigfoot. They capture photographs and video footage, contribute to Bigfoot-themed web sites, and participate in larger expeditions with like-minded individuals. The two appear inseparable -- until Wayne screws up during an online radio interview, putting a wedge between the two friends and giving skeptics plenty of ammunition with which to belittle their research and evidence."

Waiting for Hockney

"MICA graduate and Maryland resident Billy Pappas was convinced that a graphite drawing, when executed at the highest level, could capture the essence of a subject better than any other medium -- with greater resolution and realism even than a photograph. He set out to reinterpret the famous photograph Richard Avedon took of Marilyn Monroe, and he vowed to spare nothing to get it right. He set up a special harness so he could steady his arms for the eight-hours-plus each day he stood drawing; he hired models so he would know exactly how lips and neck hairs looked; he wore special glasses and used a 20x magnifying glass for pinpoint accuracy; he formed an eclectic and loyal support group to take care of life’s necessities while he worked. Without any sense his work would be valued, he gave up everything to concentrate on his mission. Eight and a half years later he was finished."

White Lies, Black Sheep

"The hero of White Lies is A.J. (Ayinde Howell), a smart, hip black New Yorker who has rejected anything “too black." Structured like a documentary, White Lies examines the predominantly white rock-club milieu in which A.J. moves, and collects interviews with friends, coworkers, and scenesters. Everyone seems to love A.J. -- until we begin to meet people in his life, both white and black, who feel A.J.'s actions don’t ring true. This group includes his proud, Afrocentric father, who feels rejected by A.J., and his best friend, who encourages him to read Malcolm X. After a series of setbacks trying to connect with a popular white woman, A.J. undergoes an inevitable clash of conscience -- and begins to feel the weight of all that he has rejected and the unnaturalness of other things he accepted too willingly."


"A small, economically dying bayou town in Eastern Arkansas is given a new lease on life after a possible sighting of the fabled Ivory-Billed Woodpecker in the area. This true-life phenomenon began several years ago, and Woodpecker establishes it in documentary style. But the focuses of this hybrid movie are the conflicting goals of all interested parties and the bizarre quest of one quirky loner, and in exploring their twists and turns the film abandons its documentary backdrop for rich fictional territory."


Check out info. on all the other movies playing next week in Baltimore at the MD fest through this page.

Yeah, excellent choices MD fest, see ya next weekend!

- Sujewa


JD said…
It's a great lineup and thanks for the great overview!!
The Sujewa said…
Sure thing JD. Hope you enjoy the fest.

- Sujewa

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