FILMS A to Z

The Baltimore Sun

Films A to Z

Adrift in Manhattan -- A hit from this year's Sundance Festival, this movie shows how lives can intersect in important and unexpected ways on the streets of Manhattan. Heather Graham and Victor Rusak star.

Alice Neel -- The titular character is the late, celebrated portrait painter, known for spending six decades as a self-described "collector of souls." This documentary was helmed by the artist's grandson, Andrew Neel, co-director of Darkon, a 2006 Maryland Film Festival selection.

American Fork -- An overweight grocery clerk tries to find his place in life while exploring poetry, acting and mentoring in this dark comedy from director Chris Bowman and members of the Napoleon Dynamite/Sasquatch Dumpling Gang camp.

Analog Days -- Those difficult years of self-definition as high school fades into adulthood are the subject of Mike Ott's hip, energetic film. A cool soundtrack and winning cast fuel this fresh alternative to Hollywood coming-of-age stories.

Blood Car -- An accident in Archie's makeshift lab during his quest for an alternative fuel source reveals that his experimental motor works best on human blood -- a discovery that drives the once-vegan Archie to diabolical ends.

Blood, Boobs, and Beast -- The world premiere of this loving documentary look at Baltimore-area filmmaker Don Dohler, who in the late 1970s began producing his own psychotronic, proudly independent alternatives to Hollywood sci-fi and horror films (including cult classics such as The Alien Factor and Nightbeast).

Brand Upon The Brain! -- The latest from Guy Maddin is a silent, expressionist, horror/suspense film about a dysfunctional family's island lighthouse/orphanage and the mysterious goings-on surrounding it.

Charlie Obert's Barn -- Charlie Obert's Barn is a charming, witty documentary about a Baltimore filmmaker's efforts to painstakingly dismantle his grandfather's Pennsylvania barn and reconstruct it as his new family home in Maryland.

Chops -- First-time documentary director Bruce Broder follows a remarkable group of students from a public arts school in Jacksonville, Fla., as they compete in the prestigious national Essentially Ellington contest organized by Wynton Marsalis and his Jazz at Lincoln Center team.

Companeras -- Companeras is a documentary about the first all-female mariachi band. Co-directed by Matthew Buzzell, whose previous documentaries on Jimmy Scott, Luna and Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint have been festival favorites across the world.

Crazy Love -- Produced and directed by the team of Dan Klores and Fisher Stevens, this nonfiction story about Burt Pugach's and Linda Riss' inexplicable but undeniable attraction for each other over decades is too strange to be anything but real.

Dante's Inferno -- Melding live-action graphic-novel art with Victorian-era toy theater, Dante's Inferno is a subversive, darkly satirical update of the 14th-century literary classic.

East Of Euclid -- This black-and-white period film noir, set in frozen Winnipeg, Manitoba, of 1972 is a labyrinthine story of lust, greed and revenge, centering on a small-time Russian gambler hiding from the KGB in a dreary perogie factory.

Frownland -- Frownland follows a nervous, awkward pest of a man as he annoys everyone he comes in contact with.

Golden Days -- This documentary follows struggling indie-rock band the Damnwells as they are courted and eventually signed to a major record label -- only to have their album and their career nearly destroyed by the company that signed them.

Great World of Sound -- Director Craig Zobel uses a hybrid form of narrative and documentary to explore that quest for fame and success in the world of music that dominates every minute of prime television.

Hannah Takes the Stairs -- This darkly comic "mumblecore" feature details the tangled romantic lives of urban hipsters.

Have You Heard From Johannesburg?: Apartheid and the Club of the West -- This film, the first of a series, chronicles an amazing story of democracy at its best. As protests against apartheid built to a peak in South Africa in the mid-1980s, a group of ordinary citizens in the United States set out to help.

Hip-Hop Project -- Director Matt Ruskin's documentary follows a hip-hop-based youth-outreach program headed by rapper Chris "Kazi" Rolle as it struggles to produce its first album. Features appearances from Doug E. Fresh, Russell Simmons and ... Bruce Willis.

I Don't Want to Sleep Alone -- A stoic young man is nursed back to health by a stranger after falling prey to urban bandits in Kuala Lumpur.

Inside the Circle -- Director Marcy Garriott's eye-popping, gravity-defying doc follows two young, Austin, Texas-based b-boys with dreams of making it big and perfecting their craft on the increasingly international breakdancing scene.

Kamp Katrina -- Miss Pearl, a colorful resident of New Orleans' Upper Ninth Ward, converts her garden into an impromptu shantytown for displaced people in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Killer of Sheep -- Charles Burnett's 1977 graduate student film has taken on legendary status, despite the fact that for 30 years it was seldom seen.

Last Days of Left Eye -- Just prior to her tragic death at age 30, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes of the hip-hop-flavored R&B; trio TLC began making a documentary intending to set the record straight on her personal struggles. Lauren Lazin, who worked similar magic on the Oscar-nominated Tupac: Resurrection, recovered the footage and lets Left Eye tell her story in her own words.

Life Support -- A fictionalized account of filmmaker Nelson George's family, the film centers on terrific central performances by Queen Latifah and The Wire's Wendell Pierce. It tells the story of an HIV-positive AIDS activist who will use every tool she can to fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS in her beloved Brooklyn, N.Y.

The List -- Lewis Bonds (Wayne Brady) proposes to his girl on national television and gets turned down. Then he makes a list of all the qualities that he wants in the perfect woman and tries to find her.

Man In The Dark ... in 3-D! -- Edmond O'Brien starts in the annual 3-D showing, presented in beautiful two-projector 3-D. This 1953 thriller is famous for its roller-coaster climax scene.

Maxed Out -- (hosted by Henry Rollins) Rollins has chosen a documentary sure to make each of us rethink basic notions about how our nation's economy works -- and who those credit cards and credit reports really benefit.

Monday -- After his kleptomaniac girlfriend leaves him, an agoraphobic loser gets locked out of his home with nothing but an MP3 player and a pair of stolen gardening boots. This comedy combines physical slapstick, absurd situations and all-voiceover dialogue.

Murder Party -- A lonely man attends a Halloween "Murder Party," unaware that his invitation is really a ploy for a group of dimwitted Brooklyn, N.Y., hipsters to commit murder in the name of art.

My Nappy Roots: A Journey Through Black Hair-itage -- This documentary explores the history, traditions, innovations, socio-political influences and sometimes humorous evolution of black hair. Vivica A. Fox, Patti LaBelle, Malcolm Jamal Warner, Kim Fields, Morgan State Professor Tendai Johnson and others take part in the discussion.

Nosferatu (1922) -- (live music by Alloy Orchestra) A young real estate agent, Hetter, is sent by his strange boss, Knock, to the Land of the Phantoms to close a deal with the mysterious Count Orlok.

On a Tightrope -- The Uighur are China's biggest Muslim population, more than 8 million people living under stringent governmental religious restrictions. They are also famous tightrope performers (literally and metaphorically), and this film overcomes a stunning chasm of official separation to give us remarkable access to an even more remarkable town and its inhabitants.

Orphans -- Five years after the death of their parents, two estranged sisters reunite in the isolated farmhouse where they spent childhood summers and holidays.

The Paper -- By taking an intimate look at the staff of Penn State's daily paper during a pivotal school year, this documentary gives us real insight into the chaotic, troubled world of contemporary journalism.

Quiet City -- Two young people slowly inch toward each other after a chance meeting in a New York subway station.

Rocket Science -- With Baltimore standing in for New Jersey, director Jeffrey Blitz provides a fresh take on a familiar genre: the coming-of-age story. When a shy youth with a stutter gets pulled into the debate team by its attractive female star, there's a lot more on the line that just another state championship.

Sense of Loss -- (guest-hosted by filmmaker Lodge Kerrigan) Banned by the BBC, this extraordinary work about the "troubles" in Northern Ireland remains controversial.

Silver Jew -- This film follows poet, musician and Silver Jews frontman David Berman, his wife, Cassie, and other band members as they spend a few days in Israel on their first world tour.

Sleeping Dogs Lie -- (hosted by John Waters) Waters will present Bobcat Goldthwait's funny, outrageous exploration of just how honest you should be with your fiance about past sexual experiences. Goldthwait will join Waters for this screening.

Standing Silent Nation -- Documentary about a Lakota Indian family's yearly troubles with the Drug Enforcement Administration over attempts to harvest industrial hemp in South Dakota.

Syndromes and a Century -- Apichatpong Weerasethakul's cutting-edge Thai masterpiece begins as a gentle romance in a Wong Kar-wai mode but evolves into a mind-bending stream of imagery worthy of Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and Antonioni's L'Eclipse.

Time and Tide -- A large group of New Zealanders of Tuvaluan descent make a pilgrimage to their homeland, revealing the cultural divide between Tuvaluan elders, the island's youth and, especially, the highly Westernized teenage girls rocked by extreme culture-shock on this life-altering trip home.

The Visit -- Maryland-based filmmaker Mary Hardcastle looks at the remnants of a modern suburban family after the death of one of its members. Her setting is bucolic -- the film was shot in attractive county settings around Baltimore -- but the lives of the people who live there are in turmoil.

Viva -- A sheltered housewife breaks out of her shell to explore the swinging sexual revolution and conquers it on her own terms.

War/Dance -- Documentary filmmakers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine follow children who defy the violence around them and sing and dance and become the first northern Ugandans to get into the finals of the national music and dance competition.

Zoo -- Startling re-creations and extensive audio testimonials power Robinson Devor's controversial, fresh-from-Sundance film about a Seattle man who died as a result of a sexual encounter with a horse.

For a complete list of film descriptions, including shorts programs, go to md-filmfest.com.

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