Baltimore City Paper

Our guide to the 2012 Maryland Film Festival

★ 12 O'Clock Boys

Directed by Lotfy Nathan

(See story)




★ 16 Acres

Directed by Richard Hankin

In the old America, giant Manhattan buildings got built in a few years, sometimes faster. Post-9/11, it takes more than a decade, especially on the site of the World Trade Center, or "the most valuable 16 acres on the face of Earth," as one observer describes it.

Aatsinki: The Story Of Arctic Cowboys

Directed by Jessica Oreck

Director Jessica Oreck spent a year in the Finnish Lapland, above the Arctic Circle, with modern-day cowboys the Aatsinki brothers, Aarne and Lasse, herders of the last group of wild reindeer in Finland.


★ After Tiller

Directed by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson

(see review)




Directed by Alice Winocour

A star neurologist in 19th-century France, Jean-Martin Charcot (Vincent Lindon), finds that a patient, Augustine (Soko), who arrives at his institution's door because she's suffering gran male seizures, has such alarming fits that he makes her a fundraising spectacle and, perhaps, a paramour, thereby unsettling his wife, Constance (Chiara Mastroianni).

Before You Know It

Directed by PJ Raval

This documentary offers rare insight into an oft-overlooked segment of the LGBT community: seniors. Over the course of a year, three gay men living in different LGBT retirement communities around the country navigate the challenges of aging.



Berberian Sound Studio

Directed by Peter Strickland

A British sound engineer working on an Italian horror flick begins having strange experiences that escalate in a terrifying depiction of art imitating life imitating art.




Directed by Lance Edmands

When a tragic accident occurs in a blue-collar, paper-mill-sustained town in beautiful, isolated northern Maine, the lives of two families suffer the consequences. Stage actress Amy Morton and John Slattery, Mad Men's Roger Sterling, star.

★ Boy Eating the Bird's Food

Directed by Ektoras Lygizos

The economic crisis should have made Knut Hamsun's classic novel Hunger required reading. But hey, even if things are bad here, they're worse in Greece, and Greek director Ektoras Lygizos is way ahead of us with this recreation of Hamsun's novel in modern Athens.

Butter on the Latch

By Josephine Decker

The premise of Josephine Decker's feature might sound like the setup for a joke: a love triangle at a Balkan folk-singing and dance camp in California. But this movie, inspired by a Bulgarian folk song about dragons entwined in women's hair, is much darker than that.


★ By and By: New Orleans Gospel at the Crossroads

Directed by Matthew T. Bowden and Joe Compton

The Electrifying Crown Seekers are a 45-year-old traditional gospel band from New Orleans, and first-time filmmakers Matthew T. Bowden and Joe Compton (an erstwhile CP contributor) trace their attempts to survive Katrina and changing times. Special Bonus: The Electrifying Crown Seekers will perform on May 11 at the Trinity Community Church.

★ Computer Chess

Directed by Andrew Bujalki

Tech geeks shut themselves in at a hotel for a weekend in the 1980s, competing to program computer software that can best win at chess. Tech-geek chest-thumping ensues-not actual contact, but rhetorical gymnastics that true nerds may appreciate most.


★ Downloaded

Directed by Alex Winter

The internet revolution-and Napster's role in particular-is spotlighted in this cross between a tech and music documentary made with backing from VH1. Billy Corgan, Noel Gallagher, and Henry Rollins are among those interviewed.

Drinking Buddies

Directed by Joe Swanberg

A couple of buddies working at a craft brewery start seeing stars in each other's eyes but, as both are already in committed monogamous relationships, drama ensues.


Fill the Void

Directed by Rama Burshtein

(see review)




★ Good Ol' Freda

Directed by Ryan White

(see story)




Here Comes The Devil

Directed by Adrian Garcia Bogliano

This Mexican horror film from the director of Cold Sweat and Penumbra pushes the boundaries of the genre. While at a rest stop near Tijuana, two children disappear for a short spell. When they return, something is very amiss.

★ Hit & Stay

Directed by Joe Tropea and Skizz Cyzyk

This doc details the events and characters surrounding the infamous Catonsville Nine, who burned draft cards in Catonsville and sparked similar actions around the nation. On the event's 45th anniversary, Joe Tropea (an occasional CP contributor) and Skizz Cyzik push deeper than the usual approach, which tends to focus on the charismatic Berrigan brothers.

★ I Am Divine

Directed by Jeffrey Schwarz

(see review)




★ I Used to be Darker

Directed by Matt Porterfield

(see review)




★ If We Shout Loud Enough

Directed by Gabriel DeLoach and Zach Keifer

(see review)



★ It Felt Like Love

Directed by Eliza Hittman

The obsessive hazards of intergenerational intimacy turn dangerous as Lila (Gina Piersanti), a 14-year-old in Brooklyn, tries to keep up with her racy BFF Chiara (Giovanna Salimeni) by taking a shine to older man Sammy (Ronen Rubinstein).

★ Leviathan

Directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel

Shot with small digital cameras placed on parts of a New England fishing vessel, this experimental documentary, about the commercial fishing industry, promises an original visual experience that has been earning major accolades in the film-festival circuit.

The Lost World

Directed by Harry O. Hoyt

This classic silent movie from 1925 is the ancestor of every dinosaur and monster flick ever. Based on an Arthur Conan Doyle novel about a group of English explorers who discover that dinosaurs still exist on an uncharted island, this classic will be accompanied the Alloy Orchestra, who provide a live musical score.

Mother of George

Directed by Andrew Dosunmu

A newlywed couple with a restaurant in Brooklyn wants to start a family, but being Nigerian, matters are complicated by conflicting cultural notions of marriage and maternity. A Sundance favorite, thanks to cinematographer Bradford Young and notable acting by Danai Gurira (Treme) and Isaach De Bankole (a Jim Jarmusch-ista).

★ Museum Hours

Directed by Jem Cohen

An unlikely friendship forms between a woman and an elderly art-museum guard who meet upon the woman's unexpected visit to Vienna, Austria. The works of Pieter Bruegel and the city of Vienna provide a stunning backdrop for this drama.

★ Paradise: Love

Directed by Ulrich Seidl

In the first part of the Paradise trilogy, which follows three Austrian women from the same family, a woman travels to Kenya to engage in some sex tourism with the locals but, of course, finds more than she expected.

★ Paradise: Faith

Directed by Ulrich Seidl

The second installment of Ulrich Seidl's trilogy focuses on a middle-aged woman who tries to spread Catholicism to the poor-but there's more to it, because it is John Waters' choice as a favorite film for this year's fest.

Paradise: Hope

Directed by Ulrich Seidl

The final installment in Seidl's trilogy focuses on a teenage girl who undergoes a sexual awakening at a summer diet camp.


★ The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

Directed by Sophie Fiennes

Brit filmmaker Sophie Fiennes puts wildly smart neo-commie Slovene philosopher Slavoj Zizek in front of a camera to talk about famous movies in ways that explain his central thesis: that ideology is an unconscious collective fantasy that shapes cultural reality.

Pit Stop

Directed by Yen Tan

Two gays in a small Texas town who gas up at the same filling station finally find one another, after Gabe (Bill Heck) keeps up family-style appearances with his ex-wife and daughter, and Ernesto (Marcus DeAnda) supports his floundering ex, Luis (Alfredo Maduro).

Post Tenebras Lux

Directed by Carlos Reygadas

(see review)




★ Prince Avalanche

Directed by David Gordon Green

The director of George Washington and Pineapple Express sends a pair of citified highway workers with a bumpy history out to the sticks, where misadventure ensues.



The Rambler

Directed by Calvin Reeder

Dermot Mulroney plays a man-the Rambler-just released from prison, hitchhiking his way to Oregon. Along his journey he encounters some bizarre characters, resulting in this romance/horror hybrid.



Remote Area Medical

Directed by Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman

A timely documentary about a pop-up health clinic that takes over a NASCAR racetrack in Tennessee for three days to provide treatment for the thousands of uninsured people in the area.


Swim Little Fish Swim

Directed by Lola Bessis and Ruben Amar

Hardworking Mary is a nurse who wants to change her life. Her frustration with her idealistic husband mounts when a vivacious young French woman comes to live with them.


A Teacher

Directed by Hannah Fidell

(see review)


This Is Martin Bonner

Directed by Chad Hartigan

Fifty-something Martin Bonner moves to Reno to start anew, working with released prisoners for a faith-based organization, leaving his family behind. His friendship with a recently released prisoner tests him.


Touchy Feely

Directed by Lynn Shelton

Massage therapist Abby (Rosemarie DeWitt) suffers a career-shattering phobia, and as her brother Paul (Josh Pais) hits on something that brings business to his flailing practice, Paul's daughter Jenny (Ellen Page) develops a crush on Abby's boyfriend, Jesse (Scoot McNairy), who's just asked Abby to move in with him.

★ V/H/S/2

Directed by Eduardo Sanchez, et al

The follow-up to the 2012 breakout hit, Frederick resident Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project) presents a melange of nightmarish found footage from directors Gareth Evans, Jason Eisner, and more. Sanchez himself contributes a zombie segment said to be worthy of George Romero's praise.


Directed by Pelin Esmer

A man takes a job at a remote fire tower while a woman, also running from her past, holes up in a bus station. Their lives collide.


We Always Lie To Strangers

Directed by AJ Schnack and David Wilson

Five years went into documenting the workings of one of the nation's largest tourist destinations, Branson, Missouri: "the live music show capital of the world." Branson's musicals tout "old-fashioned values" and are reputed for their wholesomeness-but directors Schnack and Wilson go deep to get to the small town's core.

White Reindeer

Directed by Zach Clark

This feature by the director of Modern Love Is Automatic and Vacation! is not your typical Christmas flick, a genre not known for the kind of surreal melancholy the main character's search for the true meaning of the holiday in a Virginia suburb inspires.

Willow Creek

Directed by Bobcat Goldthwait

Longtime fest favorite Bobcat Goldthwait presents a documentary-style flick about Bigfoot. A man and his girlfriend visit a California town near where Sasquatch was seen, and against their better judgment, they go camping.

Zero Charisma

Directed by Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews

The only thing Scott Weidemeyer (Sam Eidson) has ever been really good at is being a gamer of the fantasy role-playing persuasion, so when his game is taken over by a good-looking sociable guy, Scott is shaken-and his condition spirals downward as his granny gets sick and his troubled, distant mother arrives in town to torment him with her new fiance.

Film Fest Frenzy

It's 12 O'clock in Baltimore | I Used to Be Darker | Good Ol' Freda

I Am Divine | After Tiller | Post Tenebras Lux
If We Shout Loud Enough | Fill the Void | A Teacher


Film Fest Frenzy Guide | Maryland Film Festival Schedule