The 2017 Maryland Film Festival is set to kickoff on May 3 in Baltimore, showcasing a diverse selection of films curated by industry leaders. A total of 11 documentaries will play at Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Theatre, which will also be celebrating its grand opening and other venues in the Station North area.
Independent films, “Rat Film” and “MotherLand”, created by two Baltimore filmmakers will provide viewers with an in-depth look at Baltimore’s rat problem and the most hectic maternity ward in the world.
“Austerlitz” directed by Sergei Loznitsa, explores several European factories with harrowing histories. Today, thousands of visitors tour the now memorial sites every year, bringing back painful memories of the Holocaust.
“The Blood is at the Doorstep” directed by Erik Ljung, is about Dontre Hamilton, an African-American male who suffered from schizophrenia. Hamilton was fatally shot by police in Milwaukee – his family is still struggling with this death.
“The Departure” directed by Lana Wilson, shows the life of a Buddhist priest living in Japan. After spending a portion of his life living as a punk, he underwent a major transformation and now provides counseling services to people suffering with depression and suicidal ideation.
“Finding Joseph I: The HR from Bad Brains Documentary” directed by James Lathos, chronicles the life of Paul “HR” Hudson, an eccentric punk rock reggae singer. The legendary artist’s work and performances pioneered hardcore punk, but on the inside he suffered from mental illness.
“I Am Another You” directed by Nanfu Wang, who took to the street to capture the life of Dylan, a young drifter, on camera. Dylan’s life experience is different than many other homeless people, in that he left behind a loving family and wonderful home.
“Mainland” directed by Miao Wang, follows the life of wealthy Chinese teenagers with big American dreams. The teens enroll in a boarding school in Maine and as their aimless journey finally finds a new path, they gain new insight to their relationship with home.
“Motherland” directed by Ramona S. Diaz, provides viewers with an opportunity to see how the busiest maternity ward in the world operates, while exploring the hardships of Filipinos.
“Rat Film” directed by Teo Anthony, exposes how Baltimoreans deal with the most loved and hated animal, the rat.
“The Stairs” directed by Hugh Gibson, is ultimately a character study focusing on the margins of society. Stereotypes are defied through in-depth portraits of the subjects, while delivering a variety of emotions.
“Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities” directed by Stanley Nelson, shows black colleges and universities in a way that they have never been portrayed before. These institutions have educated people from all walks of life, providing more than education, but also encouragement and a gentle push whenever needed.
“Whose Streets?” directed by Sabaah Folayan and Damon David is a comprehensive documentary about the unrest in Ferguson, following the death of Michael Brown. Residents were grief stricken over the tragedy that occurred on their doorsteps.