The Maryland Film Festival is set to return to Station North, and 10 of the initial selections were revealed on Thursday. A couple have local connections, and at least one has big star power.
The flicks that will feature Baltimore have a couple of spins on life here. Beloved local beatboxer Shodekeh is one of the stars of Sho-De, which looks at the time he met Tuvan Throat Singers. Another documentary puts us in the same sentence as Ferguson, but not for the exact reasons we’re used to hearing about. Do Not Resist looks at how local police forces are using military weapons, and how they get them.
Other selections feature a film set in the world’s largest salt flat (called Salero), and an adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s novel High Rise starring Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons and Elizabeth Moss. A recent SXSW premiere, called Collective: Unconscious, features five directors using film to interpret each other’s dreams.
The Film Fest is set for May 4-8, and features 120 selections in all.
Below is the full description of the first 10 from the Film Fest:
Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari, Greece) When a group of men gather on a luxury yacht, a spontaneous mind game expands into an internecine struggle fueled by domination and shame —a darkly comedic look at competition and male ego.
Collective: Unconscious (Lily Baldwin, Frances Bodomo, Daniel Patrick Carbone, Josephine Decker, Lauren Wolkstein) Five independent filmmakers take a dream by another member of the collective and bring it to vivid life as a short film interwoven into a hypnotic and compelling new whole (Fresh from its premiere at SXSW 2016).
Do Not Resist (Craig Atkinson) Recent protests in Ferguson, Baltimore, and many other cities around the country have brought into focus a startling phenomenon: the flow of military equipment and weaponry to local police forces. This jaw-dropping documentary probes a disturbing nationwide trend—one with high financial stakes and powerful interests at its core.
The Fits (Anna Rose Holmer) An 11-year-old boxer finds a new passion when she joins a dance drill squad—but as her new teammates start experiencing bizarre fainting episodes, her life takes a mysterious turn (Premiered at Venice and screened in Sundance 2016’s NEXT FEST).
High-Rise (Ben Wheatley, UK) The residents of a new luxury apartment tower develop their own social pecking order—one that quickly takes a precipitous dive into class warfare and chaos. Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Luke Evans, and Elisabeth Moss star in this adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s novel, from the director of “Kill List” and “A Field in England.”
How Heavy This Hammer (Kazik Radwanski, Canada): On the surface, married father-of-two Erwin looks like a functioning member of society. But the deeper we look into his life, from his obsessive marathon sessions of computer fantasy games, to the extreme irritation with which he experiences most real-world interactions, we see a troubled man-child who’s barely getting by.
Nuts (Penny Lane) This inventive documentary tells the true story of John Romulus Brinkley, a Kansas doctor who tried to treat impotence by transplanting goat testicles into men and went on to become a player in state politics and the early days of radio. The director of “Our Nixon” returns with another fresh approach to a unique narrative.
Salero (Mike Plunkett) This sumptuous, meditative documentary transports viewers to Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. There we meet a traditional salt gatherer whose generations-deep lifestyle is on the brink of change, with the discovery of a precious mineral bringing international attention and big-money interests to the remote region.
Shu-De! (Michael R. Faulkner) When Baltimore-based beatboxer and vocal percussionist Shodekeh meets the Alash Ensemble, masters of the art of Tuvan throat singing, his life and art take on an exciting new dimension. This joyous, exploratory documentary follows him on his travels to Kyzyl, Tuva, to study their music and culture, and participate in a prestigious music festival.
Slash (Clay Liford) Two high-school students—shy and awkward Neil (Michael Johnston) and brash, confident Julia (Hannah Marks)—form a unlikely bond when they find they both publish work in an adult forum for erotic fan fiction. But their relationship becomes more complex once they both come to the attention of the site’s moderator, Denis (Michael Ian Black).
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