Maryland Film Festival
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|Location||Baltimore, Maryland, United States|
The Maryland Film Festival is an annual five-day international film festival taking place each May in Baltimore, Maryland. The festival was launched in 1999, and presents international film and video work of all lengths and genres. The festival is known for its close relationship with John Waters, who is on the festival's board of directors and selects a favorite film to host within each year of the festival.
Each U.S. feature screened within the festival is hosted by one or more of its filmmakers. The many internationally known filmmakers who have presented their work within Maryland Film Festival include Barry Levinson, David Simon, Kathryn Bigelow, Melvin Van Peebles, Lena Dunham, Lisandro Alonso, Bobcat Goldthwait, Amy Seimetz, David Lowery, Joe Swanberg, Greta Gerwig, Barry Jenkins, Todd Solondz, Anna Biller, and Jonathan Demme.
In addition to forty or more new features and fifty or more new short films, each Maryland Film Festival includes one favorite film selected and hosted by legendary filmmaker and MFF board member John Waters. The films presented by John Waters within Maryland Film Festival have ranged from Joseph Losey's Boom! to Gaspar Noé's I Stand Alone.
Major names in contemporary music have presented favorite films within the festival, including Beach House, Dan Deacon, Branford Marsalis, Marin Alsop, Ian MacKaye, Will Oldham, Jonathan Richman, Bill Callahan, and members of Animal Collective.
Each festival also includes a silent film with a live score by Alloy Orchestra.
The festival also programs film events in and around Baltimore year-round, including the film component of Baltimore's annual summer Artscape festival and many events for its membership support group Friends of the Festival.
The 18th annual festival took place May 4–8, 2016 using 5 screens in and around the Station North Arts and Entertainment District as well as the auditoriums of the Baltimore Museum of Art and Walters Art Museum.
The 19th annual festival took place May 4–7, 2017 using the 3 screens of the newly restored and expanded Parkway Theatre as well as three additional screens on the nearby Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) campus.
- 1 Festival history
- 2 The Parkway Theatre
- 3 Closing night films
- 4 John Waters picks
- 5 Guest-host presentations
- 6 Alloy Orchestra presentations
- 7 Vintage 3-D film presentations
- 8 List of features played at the festival
- 9 Gunky's Basement Film series
- 10 External links
- 11 References
The first Maryland Film Festival screening took place Thursday, April 22, 1999, with an Opening Night presentation of Barry Levinson's documentary Diner Guys (about the real-life inspirations for his first feature film, Diner) at the historic Senator Theatre.
Full programming began April 23, 1999, using all five screens of the historic Charles Theatre. These screenings were the first public use of the newly renovated Charles, which had expanded from one to five screens.
In 2002, the festival dedicated its Opening Night to a collection of short films, and has done so each year since 2004.
In 2009, the festival expanded its offerings of international films, with the stated goal of expanding the scope of international films brought to Baltimore, and in future years bringing a filmmaker to host each foreign feature film screening as the festival does with all U.S.-made feature films.
In 2013, the festival announced its expansion to 5 days, shifting its Opening Night to Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Previous festivals had been 4 days, with opening nights taking place on Thursdays. The festival continued as a 5-day festival in each subsequent edition.
The festival's feature-film programming has emphasized independent films represented by their filmmakers, as well as international works handled by such art-house and specialty film distributors as The Cinema Guild, Oscilloscope Laboratories, Factory 25, Milestone Films, Strand Releasing, and Kino.
The festival has offered the world premieres of such American independent features as Eugene Kotlyarenko's 0s & 1s (2010), Josephine Decker's Butter on the Latch (2013), Stephen Cone's Henry Gamble's Birthday Party (2015), Josh Crockett's Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks (2017) and Stephen Cone's Princess Cyd (2017). The 2017 edition featured the U.S. premieres of Hugh Gibson's The Stairs and Ashley McKenzie's Werewolf.
The festival launched a year-round, 3-screen venue anchored by a historic, restored 1915 auditorium, The Parkway Theatre, in May 2017.
Longtime director of programming Eric Allen Hatch, who began working for MdFF in 2007, departed as lead programmer of Maryland Film Festival and The Parkway in February, 2018, citing creative differences detailed in a Filmmaker article concerning the need for greater risk-taking and attention to diversity in independent-film festivals and alternative venues. 
The Parkway Theatre
In December 2013, the festival announced its plans to restore The Parkway Theatre, located at North Avenue and North Charles Street in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District, for use as its year-round venue. The Parkway was built for film exhibition in 1915, and became one of Baltimore's first art-house movie theaters in the 1950s, operating under the name Five West, but had not been in regular use as a movie theater since the late 1970s. Maryland Film Festival's restoration preserved the original auditorium, and built two smaller screens in an adjacent space.
The Parkway restoration project was completed in the Spring of 2017 and the theater opened on May 3, 2017, with the opening night of the 19th Annual Maryland Film Festival
The band Beach House shot the music video for their song "Chariots" in the historic auditorium of the Parkway in April, 2017 prior to the theater's public opening.
The first public screening in The Parkway was the Opening Night Shorts Program of the 2017 Maryland Film Festival on the evening of May 3, 2017, hosted by Josephine Decker and Kris Swanberg and the directors of each short film presented. The first short presented, and therefore the first film to play in The Parkway in decades, was Jessica Kingdon's Commodity City. The other shorts presented that evening were Terence Nance's They Charge For the Sun, Jeannie Donohoe's Game, Matthew Salton's Richard Twice, and Nathan Truesdell's Balloonfest.
The first feature film screened in the Parkway was Barry Levinson's television film The Wizard of Lies on the afternoon of Thursday, May 4, 2017. The first theatrical film screened in the Parkway was Theo Anthony's Rat Film the same evening. The first 35mm film screened in the Parkway was Agnès Varda's Vagabond, guest-curated and hosted by the band Beach House, on the evening of Saturday, May 6, 2017. These screenings all took place within Maryland Film Festival 2017.
The Parkway opened for year-round business on the evening of Friday, May 12. The first feature film screened in the Parkway in a non-festival setting was John Waters' Female Trouble. Other films screened that evening included David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, Jenny Gage's All This Panic, and Kristopher Avedisian's Donald Cried. The last two titles were the first films to have week-long theatrical runs at the restored Parkway.
Outside the festival setting, members of the band Animal Collective curated live music performances in tribute to the late experimental musician Tony Conrad on the evenings of Friday, September 29 and Saturday September 30, 2017. The performers included Deakin and Geologist of Animal Collective, Dan Deacon with Jessie Hughes and M. C. (Martin) Schmidt of Matmos, Asa Osborne of Lungfish and Zomes, Owen Gardner and Andrew Bernstein of Horse Lords, Steve Strohmeier, and Daniel Conrad.
Closing night films
|2003||Standing in the Shadows of Motown||members of The Funk Brothers|
|2004||BAADASSSSS!||Mario Van Peebles and Melvin Van Peebles|
|2006||The Eagle with live score by Alloy Orchestra||Alloy Orchestra|
|2007||Rocket Science||Jeffrey Blitz|
|2008||Confessionsofa Ex-Doofus-ItchyFooted Mutha||Melvin Van Peebles|
|2009||The Hurt Locker||Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal|
|2010||Mother and Child||Rodrigo García|
|2011||Sing Your Song||Harry Belafonte|
|2012||Dark Horse||Todd Solondz and Jordan Gelber|
|2013||Mother of George||Andrew Dosunmu and Bradford Young|
|2014||Little Accidents||Sara Colangelo|
|2015||The Wolfpack||Crystal Moselle|
|2016||Hunter Gatherer||Josh Locy and Andre Royo|
|2017||The Hero||Brett Haley|
John Waters picks
Within every Maryland Film Festival since its launch in 1999, filmmaker and Maryland Film Festival board member John Waters has selected one film to present to an audience. His selections have ranged from vintage cult and camp titles to contemporary ribald comedies and art-house dramas.
|Festival Year||Film Title||Film Director||Year of Release||Notes|
|2000||Clean, Shaven||Lodge Kerrigan||1993|
|2003||I Stand Alone||Gaspar Noé||1998||Waters also joined in the MFF 2003 presentation of Noé's Irréversible.|
|2004||Dog Days||Ulrich Seidl||2001|
|2005||Porn Theater||Jacques Nolot||2002|
|2007||Sleeping Dogs Lie||Bobcat Goldthwait||2006|
|2008||Story of Women||Claude Chabrol||1988|
|2009||Love Songs||Christophe Honoré||2006|
|2010||United 93||Paul Greengrass||2006|
|2011||Domain||Patric Chiha||2009||Waters was joined in his presentation by director Patric Chiha.|
|2012||Wanda||Barbara Loden||1970||This screening took place from UCLA's restored 35mm print on the evening of Friday May 4, 2012.|
|2013||Paradise: Faith||Ulrich Seidl||2012||This screening took place the evening of Friday, May 10, 2012. Waters was joined in his presentation by star Maria Hofstätter. This marked the first time Waters has repeated a director in making his selections since the launch of MFF in 1999.|
|2014||Abuse of Weakness||Catherine Breillat||2014|
|2015||Killer Joe||William Friedkin||2011|
|2016||The Deep Blue Sea||Terence Davies||2011|
|2018||I, Olga Hepnarová||Tomáš Weinreb and Petr Kazda||2016|
In addition to forty or more new features and a favorite film presented by John Waters, each Maryland Film Festival has invited guest-hosts to present a favorite film. Guest hosts have generally been known best for work outside the world of film and have frequently been musicians, but have also included politicians, athletes, authors, journalists, activists, and visual artists. The guest-host program has also included some film directors hosting revival screenings of their earlier works.
|Festival Year||Guest Host||Film Title||Film Director||Notes|
|1999||Kurt Schmoke||The Godfather||Francis Ford Coppola|
|1999||Marc Steiner||The Cool World||Shirley Clarke|
|2000||Jonathan Richman||Cyrano de Bergerac||Michael Gordon|
|2000||Joyce Scott||The Long, Hot Summer||Martin Ritt|
|2000||Taylor Branch||One-Eyed Jacks||Marlon Brando|
|2000||J.D. Considine||The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle||Julien Temple|
|2000||Scott Erickson||Predator||John McTiernan|
|2001||Will Oldham||The World's Greatest Sinner||Timothy Carey|
|2001||Herschell Gordon Lewis||The Gore Gore Girls and 2,000 Maniacs||Herschell Gordon Lewis|
|2001||Martin O'Malley||Into the West||Mike Newell|
|2002||Julian Bond||Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song||Melvin Van Peebles||Bond was joined in his presentation by director Melvin Van Peebles, who delivered his own print of the film for the screening.|
|2003||Barry Levinson||On the Waterfront||Elia Kazan||This screening was the Opening Night selection for MFF 2003, held in the historic Senator Theater.|
|2003||Margaret Carlson||Notorious||Alfred Hitchcock|
|2004||Marc Steiner||The Battle of Algiers||Gillo Pontecorvo|
|2005||Dorothy Hamill||Mary Poppins||Robert Stevenson||The audience was encouraged to sing along with the songs for this screening.|
|2005||Harvey Pekar||The Bicycle Thief||Vittorio De Sica|
|2005||Barbara Mikulski||To Kill a Mockingbird||Robert Mulligan|
|2006||Branford Marsalis||The Scent of Green Papaya||Tran Anh Hung|
|2007||Lodge Kerrigan||A Sense of Loss||Marcel Ophüls|
|2007||Henry Rollins||Maxed Out||James Scurlock|
|2009||Ian MacKaye||Nina Simone: La Légende||Frank Lords||The famed post-punk musician (of Minor Threat, Fugazi, The Evens, and Dischord Records) presented a rare screening of this 1992 French documentary about Nina Simone.|
|2009||Laura Lippman||Funny Bones||Peter Chelsom|
|2010||Bill Callahan||Faces||John Cassavetes||Callahan (formerly known as Smog), read an original, poetic appreciation piece for this landmark 1968 independent film. He was joined in his presentation by Al Ruban, the film's cinematographer and frequent Cassavetes collaborator.|
|2010||Dan Deacon||Total Recall||Paul Verhoeven||This screening led to a subsequent year-round Maryland Film Fest series called Gunky's Basemement featuring 35mm prints of films selected and hosted by Dan Deacon and Jimmy Joe Roche.|
|2011||Marin Alsop||The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly||Sergio Leone||A 35mm presentation of this 1966 Sergio Leone spaghetti western noted for its Ennio Morricone score, hosted by the music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.|
|2011||members of Animal Collective||The Boxer's Omen, aka Mo||Chih-Hung Kuei||Avey Tare, Deakin, and Geologist hosted this 1983 Shaw Brothers production, and noted that another favorite film of the group was House.|
|2013||Frank Bruni||Absence of Malice||Sydney Pollack|
|2014||Matmos||Barbarella||Roger Vadim||The Baltimore-based electronic-music duo will present the film from which they derived their band name.|
|2014||DJ Spooky||Putney Swope||Robert Downey, Sr.|
|2015||Alan Resnick and Dina Kelberman||Showgirls||Paul Verhoeven|
|2015||Abdu Ali||Do the Right Thing||Spike Lee|
|2016||DeRay Mckesson||Fresh||Boaz Yakin|
|2017||Beach House||Vagabond||Agnès Varda||The Baltimore-based duo's introduction on Saturday, May 6, 2017 marked the first 35mm print presented in the newly restored Parkway Theatre.|
Alloy Orchestra presentations
A recurring highlight within each Maryland Film Festival since 2003 has been a silent film presented with Alloy Orchestra performing their new, original scores for these vintage films. Alloy Orchestra has also presented films at Maryland Film Festival stand-alone events throughout the year; this list is limited to presentations within the annual festival weekend.
|Festival Year||Film Title||Film Director||Year of Original Release|
|2003||The Black Pirate||Albert Parker||1926|
|2006||The Eagle||Clarence Brown||1925|
|2007||Nosferatu||F. W. Murnau||1922|
|2008||Underworld||Josef von Sternberg||1927|
|2009||Man with a Movie Camera||Dziga Vertov||1929|
|2010||Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness||Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack||1927|
|2011||"Masters of Slapstick" Shorts Program||Charlie Chaplin, Roscoe Arbuckle and Buster Keaton||1916-1920|
|2012||From Morning Till Midnight||Karlheinz Martin||1920|
|2013||The Lost World||Harry O. Hoyt||1925|
|2014||He Who Gets Slapped||Victor Sjöström||1924|
|2015||The Son of the Sheik||George Fitzmaurice||1926|
|2017||Variety||E. A. Dupont||1925|
|2018||A Page of Madness||Teinosuke Kinugasa||1926|
Vintage 3-D film presentations
Beginning in 2002 and extending through 2012, each Maryland Film Festival presented a vintage 3D film in the two-projector 35mm format. Each screening was hosted by Baltimore Sun film writer Chris Kaltenbach.
|Festival Year||Film Title||Film Director||Year of Original Release|
|2002||House of Wax||André de Toth||1953|
|2003||Creature from the Black Lagoon||Jack Arnold||1954|
|2004||Fort Ti||William Castle||1953|
|2005||Gorilla at Large||Harmon Jones||1954|
|2006||The Mad Magician||John Brahm||1954|
|2007||Man in the Dark||Lew Landers||1953|
|2008||Miss Sadie Thompson||Curtis Bernhardt||1953|
|2009||Inferno||Roy Ward Baker||1953|
|2010||Jesse James vs. The Daltons||William Castle||1954|
|2011||The Stranger Wore a Gun||André de Toth||1953|
|2012||Those Redheads From Seattle||Lewis R. Foster||1953|
List of features played at the festival
Each Maryland Film Festival has presented forty or more feature films, with the screenings of each U.S. film hosted by one of its filmmakers.
Gunky's Basement Film series
Gunky’s Basement was a Maryland Film Festival series curated and hosted by musician Dan Deacon, video artist Jimmy Joe Roche, and MdFF programmer Eric Allen Hatch. Each title screened from a 35mm print and was promoted in part with original screenprinted posters created by Baltimore-based artists.
Gunky’s Basement was a year-round extension of the Maryland Film Festival Guest-Host program, in which a person best known for work outside the world of film selects and hosts a favorite film. Prior to Gunky’s Basement, Dan Deacon was a guest host in Maryland Film Festival 2010, selecting Total Recall.
The series originally took place in The Charles Theatre. Beginning with the July 12, 2017 screening of The Shining, all Gunky's Basement screenings took place in Maryland Film Festival's year-round venue, The Parkway Theatre. The series came to a close when film curator Eric Allen Hatch departed MdFF in February, 2018.
Night Zones with Jimmy Joe Roche
As an offshoot of Gunky's Basement, Maryland Film Festival and video artist Jimmy Joe Roche partnered for a series exploring Roche's love of horror films. As with Gunky's Basement, each title screened from a 35mm print, and was promoted in part with original screenprinted posters created by a Baltimore artist.
|Date||Film Title||Film Director||Year of Release|
|September 26, 2012||Lifeforce||Tobe Hooper||1985|
|October 31, 2012||The Texas Chain Saw Massacre||Tobe Hooper||1974|
|November 28, 2012||From Beyond||Stuart Gordon||1986|
|October 7, 2015||Brainscan||John Flynn||1994|
|October 14, 2015||Slither||James Gunn||2006|
|October 28, 2015||Phantasm II||Don Coscarelli||1988|
- Official page for Maryland Film Festival
- The New Yorker's Richard Brody discusses Maryland Film Festival 2011
- "A Great Day in Baltimore" -- Filmmaker/Blogger Michael Tully discusses Maryland Film Festival 2011 for Indiewire
- New Yorker discusses Maryland Film Festival 2013
- "Weird and Wonderful" -- Artforum discusses Maryland Film Festival 2013
- Parkway Theater - Explore Baltimore Heritage
- "Why I Am Hopeful": Programmer Eric Allen Hatch on the Future of Arthouse Programming in Filmmaker Magazine, June 2018
- Eric Allen Hatch, "Why I Am Hopeful: Programmer Eric Allen Hatch on the Future of Arthouse Programming", Filmmaker Magazine, June 11, 2018
- Jacques Kelly, "Parkway Theatre to get tax credit to help with planned renovations", The Baltimore Sun, December 20, 2013
- Michael Dresser, "Five city projects receive historic tax credits", The Baltimore Sun, December 23, 2013