Maryland Film Festival is an annual four-day event that takes place the first weekend of each May, presenting top-notch film and video work from all over the world. Each year the festival screens approximately 50 feature films and 75 short films of all varieties — narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, and hybrid — to tens of thousands of audience members.
Enough exposition, lets begin our coverage with our picks of the weekend fest!

OPENING NIGHT SHORTS Hosted by Ann Hornaday!

A Maryland Film Festival tradition, they devote our opening night to a program highlighting the variety and high quality of work being done in short film and video, with each director present to discuss their work. Our 2011 Opening Night Shorts are: David Lowery’s Pioneer; Jessica Edwards’ Seltzer Works; Zachary Treitz’s We’re Leaving; and Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein’s The Strange Ones. Just announced: host Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post!

May 5, 2011
08:00 PM
MICA Brown Center

This is the night to get your All Access pass before they’re GONE! All access is the best thing that could happen to a movie buff like YOU! It allows you to get into any screening without a ticket, and ahead of regular ticket holders! All-Access passholders also get into Opening and Closing Night, all MFF parties, and the Filmmakers Lounge! AA Pass HERE!

You can’t see ’em all, so hopefully our picks will keep you happy, little film-goer. 🙂

WUSS (Clay Liford)
Directed By: Clay Liford
Hosted/Presented By: Clay Liford and Nate Rubin
Starring: Nate Rubin, Alicia Anthony, Ryan Anderson, Alex Karpovsky, Tony Hale, Jonathan Lisecki

(96 minutes)

Former high-school mega-nerd Mitch Parker (Nate Rubin) pulls a “Welcome Back, Kotter” and returns to McCloud High as a substitute English teacher in this offbeat dark comedy. The scruffy-faced, titular wuss is tormented daily by nearly everyone: his slimy vice-principal Wally (Tiny Furniture’s Alex Karpovsky) whose pet name for him is “Mitch the bitch”; his students (including a Native American named True Blood); and his overbearing older sister. When he decides to take a pro-active interest in one of his troubled youths, 15-year-old Re-Up (Ryan Anderson), Mitch starts losing control of every aspect of his life.

May 6, 2011
11:30 AM
Charles Theater 2

RESTLESS CITY (Andrew Dosunmu)
Directed By: Andrew Dosunmu
Hosted/Presented By: Andrew Dosunmu

Starring: Dania Gurira, Anthony Okungbowa, Sy Alassane, Sky Grey, Babs Olusanmokun
(80 minutes)
With his first narrative feature Restless City, director Andrew Dosunmu gives us a rare glimpse into the world of African immigrants living in a rough-and-tumble New York City. Djibril (Sy Alassane) is a musician who dreams of fame and fortune, but faces a harsh daily reality filled with loan sharks, pimps, and prostitutes. Violence is all around him, and he yearns to escape the bleak confines of his life by becoming a successful pop musician. Unfortunately, he is the main obstacle to his own dreams. All too often, Djibril whiles away his days wandering the streets or hustling bootleg CDs on the corner–that is, until he finds a sense of purpose in a beautiful young woman named Trini (Nicole Grey), a prostitute controlled by the ruthless criminal Bekay (Anthony Okungbowa). (J. Scott Braid)
May 6, 2011
11:00 AM
Charles Theater 5

FAKE IT SO REAL (Robert Greene)
Directed By: Robert Greene
Hosted/Presented By: Robert Greene and Sean Price Williams

(95 minutes)

The close-knit men of Millennium Wrestling Federation of Lincolnton, North Carolina work hard to deliver the goods week after week: vivid costumes, elaborate backstories, gripping choreography, and high-octane simulated violence. Performing to small crowds of locals, some of these wrestlers still dream of getting discovered and making it big; others own the in-the-moment reality of performing on this small scale, living for the weekends when they get to be the kinds of heroes and villains they idolized in childhood. Robert Greene’s riveting, insightful documentary follows this troupe of costumed dreamers over the course of a pivotal week. An injury threatens to make Millennium leader Jeff miss his first performance in a decade, while clean-cut, wide-eyed rookie Gabriel hungers to prove himself in a tight-knit brotherhood heavy on initiation rites and cutting humor.

May 6, 2011
04:00 PM
Charles Theater 5

DOMAINE (Patric Chiha) — Presented by JOHN WATERS!
Directed By: Patric Chiha
Hosted/Presented By: John Waters

(35mm, France, 110 minutes)

Domaine opens at an informal outdoor gathering around a campfire of French artists and academics. Closely observed by the young, attentive Pierre (Isaïe Sultan), the adults are hoping the party goes on, that their champagne glasses get refilled. We see that the woman at the center of this gathering, for everyone but especially for Pierre, is the riveting Nadia (Beatrice Dalle), a respected mathematician, Pierre’s aunt, and the most important adult in his life.

May 6, 2011
07:30 PM
Charles Theater 1

EVERYDAY SUNSHINE: The Story of Fishbone (Lev Anderson & Chris Metzler)
Directed By: Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler
Hosted/Presented By: Lev Anderson and Chris Metzler

(107 minutes)

Truly groundbreaking musicians often work hard with little reward, their deserved success landing instead in the laps of their followers. Straddling obscurity and the mainstream since 1979, L.A. sextet Fishbone has paid their dues as a long-running, hard-working, highly influential band that, despite expectations from critics and fans, has yet to achieve a major breakthrough. Not easily categorized, Fishbone’s “no compromise,” proudly democratic approach to creating music makes them a multi-legged monster, with one foot in punk rock, one in heavy metal, one in ska, one in jazz, one in hip-hop, one in soul, one in funk, one in pop music, and so on. Further, all those feet only account for the range of their sonic palette; to call their legendary live performances energetic would be an understatement.

May 6, 2011
10:00 PM
Windup Space

UNCLE KENT (Joe Swanberg)
Directed By: Joe Swanberg
Hosted/Presented By: Joe Swanberg
Starring: Kent Osborne, Josephine Decker, Joe Swanberg, Kevin Bewersdorf

(72 minutes)

Hip, forty-something Kent (Osborne) works in Los Angeles as an animator. His life revolves around his work, his cat, the internet, marijuana, and masturbation, all of which coalesce into a daily routine he finds not only comfortable but genuinely enjoyable. Still, we also sense in Kent a nagging urge to forge deeper connections with other people – or to at least have actual sex with Kate (Jennifer Prediger). She’s an environmental journalist he met on the internet, and who plans to crash at Kent’s pad the next time she’s in LA—but can Kent’s self-sufficient lifestyle make room for a female visitor?

May 6, 2011
10:30 PM
Charles Theater 2

BOXER’S OMEN — Presented by members of ANIMAL COLLECTIVE!
Directed By: Chi-Hung Kuei
Hosted/Presented By: Avey Tare, Deakin, and Geologist
Starring: Phillip Ko, You-hsing Lai, Tien-chu Chin, Wai Lam, Hak Shun Leung, Somjai Boomsong, Chih Tai Lin

It’s not often a film festival gets to dip into the canon of classic, crazed Hong Kong cinema, and we couldn’t be happier to present this rare 35mm screening of the 1983 Shaw Brothers’ title Boxer’s Omen (aka Mo). And we mean rare: the print we’re presenting was part of a treasure-trove of Hong Kong films unearthed in a defunct Vancouver, BC theater a little over a year ago, with no other known prints circulating on the continent.

May 6, 2011
11:00 PM

OUR PICKS PART 2 COMING IN A FEW! Meanwhile, get your tix HERE!