That Mary Bronstein is gonna do great things (already has with Yeast) :: Day at Maryland Film Festival was excellent
Saw 4, count 'em, f-o-u-r, great features today at the Maryland Film Festival; Woodpecker, La Americana, Yeast, Confessionsofa Ex-Dufus-Itchyfooted Mutha. Enjoyed each of them for different reasons (will go into them in greater detail in the coming week, after I get some sleep). All four hopefully will be seen widely in the coming months.
In this brief post-MFF post, Mary Bronstein's debut feature Yeast has to be singled out as the most interesting and creatively invigorating real indie feature I've seen in a long time. First, mega diversity points - there aren't that many female real indie, indie (or H-wood for that matter) fiction feature directors around (even though women make up probably more than half of consumers - that's millions and millions of people and billions of dollars) - so Yeast has that going in. Next, the movie is not dull - you don't know what's going to happen and a lot of messy stuff could happen. And bold (some might say reckless) choices were made with the camera - the vast majority of the shots are medium shots of people's heads (or at least that's what it felt like) - gives the audience a narrow window into the character's world - difficult to see what's coming, thus difficult to relax - makes for an engaged ride. Anyway, there is more, I'll wait 'till I get some sleep to do a proper review. Also an interview with Bronstein is coming soon.
And no, this is not friends pushing friends work post; I did not know/have any sort of a significant conversation/contact with Bronstein before I saw the movie; and if I thought the movie was riding on a wave of empty hype generated by her & her husband's (Ronald "Frownland" Bronstein) filmmaker & blogger & festival programmer friends, I would have just played it low key & not gotten fully on board the Yeast train.
Anyway, check out Yeast if & when you get a chance. I think it could do well theatrically - just as Kids & Thirteen did well, as far as I recall (although Yeast is not very similar, only that Yeast could be put in the "edgy" camp along with Kids & Thirteen; there was also a little bit of a Training Day feel to Yeast - minus the cop stuff & gun play, etc. of course :).
There probably isn't a lot of other movies similar to Yeast; but in music terms maybe Yeast is like the work of a female fronted punk band, maybe some Bikini Kill type thing. Or Yeast might just be the first in a new indie genre.
If you are feeling low about the state of indie film in America, you should check out the stuff they played at this year's Maryland Film Festival - it'll make you a believer again; indie films tackling stuff Hollywood won't tackle, can't tackle, & doing it in hot ways.
And going in today, the fact that they played both Medicine for Melancholy and White Lies, Black Sheep, had me feeling very good about MFF. I've already written lots about Medicine, looking forward to checking out my White Lies screener this week (Thanks James Spooner!).
Seeing Melvin Van Peebles at the screening of his new film - the very funny & creatively just awesome - Confessionsofa Ex-Dufus-Itchyfooted Mutha was worth all the non-paid hours of blogging I've done since 2005 or so (which paved the way for the press access for MFF). Maybe I'll write more about it later, but will definitely write more about Confessionsofa later this week.
Woodpecker was the most "traditionally entertaining" movie I saw today. The crowd loved it; lots of laughter.
La Americana made people cry. I saw it with my own eyes.
And there were other MFF selections that I missed, really wanted to see (Baghead, Chop Shop, Not Your Typical Bigfoot Movie, Moma's Man, etc.), I plan on tracking those films down in the coming months, checking them out, & writing about them.
Thanks for an awesome day Maryland Film Festival! See ya next year.
More to come re: MFF stuff, re: all 4 movies mentioned above (+ White Lies), and some photos, this week.