World premieres from filmmakers Stephen Cone and Josh Crockett are among first batch of narrative features announced for this year's Maryland Film Festival, the first to play at the newly renovated Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Theatre.
Cone's film, "Princess Cyd," was described by MdFF director of programming Eric Hatch as "a "nuanced coming-of-age drama." Hatch went on to describe Crockett's "Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks," about estranged siblings who are reunited after the death of their parents, as "hilarious and insightful."
The festival will also feature the U.S. premiere of Ashley McKenzie's "haunting and uncompromising" film "Werewolf," about two homeless drug addicts in their 20s, Hatch said.
"An aimless teenager on the outer edges of Brooklyn struggles to escape his bleak home life and navigate questions of self-identity as he balances his time between his delinquent friends, a potential new girlfriend, and older men he meets online. From the director of 'It Felt Like Love' (MdFF 2013)."
"Dr. Brinks & Dr. Brinks" (Director: Josh Crockett)
"Estranged siblings Marcus and Michelle Brinks are reunited after the sudden death of their parents, two globe-trotting aid workers who they barely knew. In the days following the wake, the siblings can't help but turn their current lives and relationships into chaos as they're forced to reckon with their shared past. A comedy about tragedy. The first feature from the director of such short films as 'Dogsbody' (MdFF 2016)."
"Family Life" ("Vida de Familia") (Directors: Alicia Scherson, Cristián Jiménez)
"While housesitting for a distant cousin, a lonely man fabricates an ex-wife and estranged daughter in order to win over the single mother he has just met. From Chile comes this dark, insightful, and sexually explicit exploration of domestic space, relationships, and human idiosyncrasies."
"Golden Exits" (Director: Alex Ross Perry)
"Nick has settled into a safe existence in a small pocket of Brooklyn, where he currently toils on an archival project for his father-in-law. Soon, 20-something Naomi arrives from Australia to assist Nick for the semester. She has no acquaintances in the city beyond a loose family connection to Buddy, a music producer who lives in the same neighborhood. For the few months she spends around Nick, Buddy, and their families, Naomi's presence upsets the unpleasant balance holding these two households together. Stars include Adam Horowitz, Emily Browning, Mary-Louise Parker, Lily Rabe, Jason Schwartzman and Chloë Sevigny.
"The Human Surge" (Director: Eduardo Williams)
"Buenos Aires. Exe, 25 years old, has just lost his job and is not looking for another one. His neighbors and friends seem as odd to him as they always do. Online, he meets Alf, a boy from Mozambique who is also bored with his job and who is about to follow Archie, another boy who has run away into the jungle. Through the dense vegetation of the forest, Archie tracks ants back to their nest. One of them wanders off course and comes across Canh, a Filipino, sitting on top of a giant heap of earth and who is about to go back to his strange, beautiful home town."
"Lemon: a person or thing that proves defective, imperfect, or unsatisfactory. A man whose blind girlfriend is leaving him, whose career is going nowhere and whose family is disappointed in him — Isaac Lachmann is 40. He doesn't know how he got there. Things were supposed to work out differently. Stars include Brett Gelman, Judy Greer, Michael Cera, and Nia Long."
"The Little Hours" (Director: Jeff Baena)
"Medieval nuns Alessandra (Alison Brie), Fernanda (Aubrey Plaza) and Ginevra (Kate Micucci) lead a simple life in their convent. Their days are spent chafing at monastic routine, spying on one another, and berating the estate's day laborer. After a particularly vicious insult session drives the peasant away, Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly) brings on new hired hand Massetto (Dave Franco), a virile young servant forced into hiding by his angry lord. Introduced to the sisters as a deaf-mute to discourage temptation, Massetto struggles to maintain his cover as the repressed nunnery erupts in a whirlwind of pansexual horniness, substance abuse, and wicked revelry."
"A glimpse into one family's romantic, boisterous, messy, treacherous life, 'Love After Love' catalogues the reunions and departures of a mother and her two grown sons over the course of several years. In the tradition of Woody Allen and John Cassavetes, 'Love After Love' takes an unblinking look at a family navigating their way forward in the shadow of a shared tragedy. From the director of the short 'Rolling on the Floor Laughing' (MdFF 2012)."
"Mimosas" (Director: Oliver Laxe)
"A caravan escorts an elderly and dying Sheikh trough the Moroccan Atlas. His last wish is to be buried with his loved ones. But death does not wait. The caravaneers, fearful of the mountain pass, refuse to continue transporting the corpse. Ahmed and Said, two rogues traveling with the caravan, promise to take the body to its destiny. But do they really know the way? In another world, parallel and remote, Shakib is chosen to travel to the mountains where the caravan is. His assignment is clear: he has to help the improvised caravaneers to reach their destination. Shakib also doubts, this is his first mission."
"Park" (Director: Sofia Exarchou)
"Gathering in the parched concrete wasteland of Athens' crumbling Olympic village, a group of teenagers engages daily in boisterous horseplay. The eldest of them, doe-eyed Anna and timid Dimitri, begin courting and soon become a couple. Coming alive in each other's company, they explore the attractions of a seaside tourist resort with gleeful curiosity and juvenile excitement. Yet with the passing of time, their relationship goes from summery bliss to autumnal anguish, and the impact of the social body on the individual is keenly, painfully felt."
"This ensemble drama depicts a day in the life of a handful of New Yorkers, including two newspaper reporters investigating a possible murder, a slacker hunting for a rare vinyl record, and two teens playing hooky from school. From the director of 'Bad Fever' (MdFF 2011). Stars include Abbi Jacobson, Michael Cera, Tavi Gevinson, and Philip Baker Hall."
"Princess Cyd" (Director: Stephen Cone)
"Eager to escape life with her depressive single father, 16-year-old athlete Cyd Lugging visits her novelist aunt in Chicago over the summer. While there, she falls for a girl in the neighborhood, even as she and her aunt gently challenge each other in the realms of sex and spirit. From the director of 'Henry Gamble's Birthday Party,' which had its world premiere within MdFF 2015."
"The Strange Ones" (Directors: Lauren Wolkstein, Christopher Radcliff)
"Mysterious events surround the travels of two brothers as they make their way across a remote American landscape. On the surface all seems normal, but what appears to be a simple vacation soon gives way to dark and complex truths. This first feature from Wolkstein and Radcliff expands the world first explored in their short 'The Strange Ones,' which was part of MdFF 2011's Opening Night.
"Sylvio" (Directors: Albert Birney, Kentucker Audley)
"It's the story of a small-town gorilla, Sylvio, who is stuck in his job at a debt collection agency. Deep down he just wants to express himself with his hand puppet, Herbert Herpels, and his puppet show that highlights the quiet moments of life. He accidentally joins a local TV program and a series of on-air mishaps threaten to shatter his identity, sending him on a journey of self-discovery. Made in Baltimore, and fresh from its premiere at SXSW 2017."
"Thirst Street" (Director: Nathan Silver)
"Reeling from a devastating breakup, eager-to-please American flight attendant Gina works a trip to Paris with her colleague Lorraine. Feeling adrift and lonely on her layover, Gina is dragged by Lorraine to a fortune teller, who predicts Gina will encounter her soulmate in the City of Lights: 'a man with something in his eye.' After a one-night stand with nightclub bartender Jérôme, Gina thinks she's found her man, but Jérôme's new girlfriend Clémence has something to say about it. As she stays on in France and leaves Lorraine behind, Gina barrels face-first into Jerome's life — and down a spiral of miscommunication, masochism, and madness. An all-out operatic assault, 'Thirst Street' burrows deep into the delirious extremes we go to for love. From the director of MdFF 2015's 'Stinking Heaven.'"