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MFF Closing Night: Star-studded 'Mother and Child'

The Maryland Film Festival closing-night feature, Rodrigo Garcia's "Mother and Child," all by itself will load the May 6-May 9 event with star-power. Announced by festival director Jed Dietz at a special preview for MFF members last night, the movie stars Naomi Watts (right), Annette Bening and Kerry Washington in a three-pronged storyline, as, respectively, a woman put up for adoption 36 years ago, the then-14-year-old mother who gave her up, and a woman hoping to adopt a child.

Garcia's ensemble also includes Samuel L. Jackson, David Morse, Amy Brenneman and S. Epatha Merkerson. To introduce the movie and answer questions afterward, Dietz says, "it looks like we are going to have cast – not everybody, but they didn't even have everybody at Sundance."

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Writer-director Garcia's attendance is definite.

Dietz says, "He's always worked with actors like these because they adore him, even though none of his films have been big-budget movies. It should be interesting for people to see how that dynamic plays out this time -- and also think about why actors make choices like this and how Rodrigo makes it easier for them to make those choices."

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Garcia has a long association with this area and the MFF. He won the Maryland Filmmakers Fellowship Award, a $10,000 prize given to a participant in the Sundance Labs, to develop the script that became his first film, "Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her" - and came straight from Cannes to Baltimore to screen it for his local supporters. He has also carved out his own space in quality television, not only directing episodes of established hits such as "The Sopranos" but developing the riveting HBO embattled-shrink series "In Treatment" as well as writing and directing multiple episodes of it. Let's see if "Mother and Child" cements his rep as the auteur of lyrical analysis.

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