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Matt Porterfield's new movie accepted into Sundance Film Festival

MoviesFilm FestivalsSundance Film FestivalMatt PorterfieldArtscape

"I Used to be Darker," the latest movie from Baltimore's Matt Porterfield, will be shown at January's Sundance Film Festival, organizers announced Wednesday.

"I was in a bit of a state of shock," said Porterfield, who was on a return bus trip from New York when he got the news. "I'm ecstatic."

The movie, Porterfield's third feature as a writer-director, tells the story of a runaway from Northern Ireland who moves in with her aunt and uncle in Baltimore, and the family crises that ensue. It stars Deragh Campbell, Hannah Gross, Kim Taylor, Ned Oldham, Geoff Grace and Nick Petr.

"I Used to be Darker" will be shown as part of the festival's out-of-competition NEXT section, which spotlights "pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling." It is one of 10 movies being shown in the section.

The Sundance recognition, Porterfield said, should make the broader film community more aware of his work, especially "I Used to be Darker." Since he's currently shopping the movie around, in search of representation and a distributor, it couldn't come at a better time.

"It's such a big industry event," he said of the annual festival, which has grown from a small indie-oriented gathering into one of the world's premier film showcases.

Porterfield shot "I Used to be Darker" last year, in Baltimore and Ocean City. About $42,000 of the film's budget — enough to fund the Ocean City shoot — was raised through a campaign on Kickstarter.

The 35-year-old Baltimore native's previous films are "Hamilton" (2006) and "Putty Hill" (2010), both set and shot in his native Baltimore. In 2011, he won the $25,000 Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. He teaches screenwriting, film theory and production at the Johns Hopkins University.

Porterfield said he already is preparing his next project, a movie centering on a 35-year-old man under house arrest, living with his father. He plans to shoot in it Baltimore, with luck next year.

Having his newest movie's world premiere at Sundance "should help get the ball rolling on the next project," he said.

chris.kaltenbach@baltsun.com

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