Last year the Maryland Film Festival was awesome. I was blogging for school..basically on a mission to get interviews and was lucky enough to talk to some very nice people. I saw Putty Hill, Tiny Furniture and Gabi on the Roof in July.
This year I volunteered and had to restrain myself from interviewing people. I had a really great time volunteering and met a lot of really cool folks both filmmakers and volunteers. I want to say that I’m really proud to be from Baltimore, a city that hosts such a great film festival. Every filmmaker who I talked to said that it was one of there favorite festivals.. with what I read as sincerity!
First there was opening night. I worked before the ceremony and then stayed for the shorts and gala. All of the shorts were amazing. The one that stood out was “The Strange Ones,” which was directed by Christopher Radcliff & Lauren Wolkstein. The look of it, the crazy strange vibes and the performances were on point. Each shot was so interesting. I don’t know that much about short filmmaking ..I don’t know if the goal is to leave people wanting more, but it left something stirred within me. The other shorts “Pioneer,” “Seltzer Works” and “We’re Leaving” were all really amazing in completely different ways. I talked to Rusty Blanton an actor in Zachary Treitz “We’re Leaving” during my shift in the Filmmakers Lounge…what a cool alligator owning dude! (The short is about a man who has to find a place to move with his pet alligator…and Rusty is seriously a man who has a pet alligator. . . yes really.)
On Saturday, I worked in the filmmakers lounge setting up food, getting coffee and checking in filmmakers. Everyone that I worked with was awesome, I did a lot of people watching and ate some free food.
After my shift I went to see Sophia Takal’s “Green.” It was cool to see her and her gang take on a dramatic film, because although last year’s “Gabi on the Roof on July” had dramatic moments it was more of a comedy. “Green” had some really awesome moments particularly a fight where the lead characters jealousy was pouring out. The dialogue was very realistic, Genevieve’s persistent mentioning of there being “two couples” present, trying to mark her territory and Robin’s whatsgoingonhere vibe were really well played. Kate Lyn Sheil did a really great job in that scene. One thing that I love about Levine and Takal’s films is that they aren’t afraid to have banter, but that banter never goes on too long and it’s funny. Overall, I really enjoyed the film and I thought it ended perfectly.
Next I took the shuttle over to see “The Dish and the Spoon.” The shuttle driver told me that some people hadn’t liked the movie so I was little like..oh..ok.. but hey everyone is different. But, I really liked Greta Grewig and Olly Alexander’s chemistry. I also loved that the film took place in Delaware because as a child I used to always go to Ocean City, Md and whenever we drove out to the Delaware beaches I felt like they were really desolate and sad.. which was exactly what director Allison Bagnall was going for. A few things in the film that I thought were borderline indie film cliche were explained by Bagnall during the Q&A .. a lot of the quirkier scenes came out of legit Delaware culture. I thought the film was funny..and sad and I’m glad that I got a chance to see it.
This morning (May 8 ) I saw “Bad Fever.” I haven’t really seen anything like it. It was pretty sad, but it was also borderline hilarious. I found myself laughing really hard and then feeling super sad. It was about a man named Eddie who wants to be a comedian, but isn’t funny. He’s a really sweet guy that isn’t the best at communicating.. and he still lives with his mom. All of his interactions with people are awkward, but he has good intentions. The performances by Kentucker Audley (who played Eddie the lead character) and Eleonore Hendricks (who played Irene) were both really great. I loved how both characters were lonely, but they weren’t really on the same page. She was aware of how he was “unfunny” which is kind of greater message for the whole relationship. Her leaving him at the end played on the fact that they weren’t really compatible, Eddie was just a time filler for her. In the beginning the moderator quoted the director Dustin Guy Defa saying something like “I love weird, funny but sad films” ..pretty much summing it up.