Maryland Film Festival to premiere 'Sollers Point' from Baltimore writer-director Matthew Porterfield

Baltimore filmmaker Matthew Porterfield watches "Sollers Point" actors as they rehearse a scene inside Holiday House on Harford Road in 2016.
Baltimore filmmaker Matthew Porterfield watches "Sollers Point" actors as they rehearse a scene inside Holiday House on Harford Road in 2016. (Kim Hairston / Baltimore Sun)

"Sollers Point," the latest movie from Baltimore's Matthew Porterfield, will have its local premiere at next month's 20th Maryland Film Festival.

Porterfield's fourth film, "Sollers Point" tells the story of a small-time drug dealer under house arrest in his father's home, trying to work his way back into a community that isn't always welcoming. Baltimore native McCaul Lombardi ("American Honey") plays the main character, Keith, with Jim Belushi playing his father. The cast also includes Zazie Beetz (TV's "Atlanta").


The movie was shot in summer 2016, mostly in Dundalk but also in Turner's Station, Fort Howard, Hamilton (the neighborhood where Porterfield grew up) and other Baltimore-area locales.

"Sollers Point" had its world premiere at the September 2017 San Sebastian International Film Festival in Spain. Reviewing it in the Hollywood Reporter following its festival screening, critic Sheri Linden said "the well-cast, handsomely shot movie unfolds as a series of encounters, each one an attempt by the central character to find his footing in his hardscrabble working-class community, on the edges of the city near the waterfront. Those attempts aren't always calm, wise or productive — in fact, they can be exasperatingly foolish. But under Porterfield's compassionate gaze, the deliberately paced drama builds toward a quickening of emotional connection."

Festival organizers also announced John Waters' pick for his annual Friday-night screening: directors Petr Kazda and Tomás Weinreb's "I, Olga Hepnarova." Waters picked the film as one of his favorites of 2017.

Writing in Artforum, he called the movie "a hypnotic black-and-white docudrama based on the case of a pretty, twenty-two-year-old chain-smoking lesbian from Prague who in 1973 hopped in a truck and mowed down twenty pedestrians on a sidewalk. Deadpan indeed."

In another tradition, the three-piece Alloy Orchestra's annual presentation of a vintage silent film with live musical accompaniment will be the long-thought-lost 1929 Japanese drama "A Page of Madness." Directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa, the movie tells the story of a former sailor struggling to care for his wife, who has recently been committed to an asylum.

Organizers also announced that a screening of Don Bluth's 1988 animated film "The Land Before Time" will launch the festival's new family friendly film series, Generation Parkway.

The 20th Maryland Film Festival is set for May 2-6 at the Niarchos Foundation Parkway, 5 W. North Ave., and other nearby venues.