Wrapping up Maryland Film Festival 2009

12 May

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May 11th, 2009-

Well, it was a crazy hectic weekend for the Bartleby clan but everyone made it to Monday with all limbs intact and in the end, I had alot of fun; spent some time with our relatives, pseudo-celebrated Jen’s birthday, hosted two picnics at the house and then shoved  as much of the Maryland Film Festival into the corners of the weekend as I could manage. And save for a late night incident on Friday involving a vanishing vehicle, my excursion into the MFF was a great time. This year boasted alot more interesting films and, at least to my eyes, a wider range of directors and recognizable faces than usual.

I arrived a little late to the Fest Friday afternoon with my traveling buddy Chris in tow. Chris, a full blown film fan and just generally entertaining guy, is one of the few friends I know who will talk art-house symbolism and still find some way to extoll the virtues of the latest Sci-Fi Pictures original; in short, he’s alot of fun at stuff like this.

Chris at the MFF, no doubt setting up a three picture deal with Sci-Fi Channel

Chris at the MFF, no doubt setting up a three picture deal with Sci-Fi Channel

So we boogied on over to the MFF tent, across the street from The Charles, and grabbed our tickets, at which point I learned that the three film deal was alot better than I initially thought. For the price of 20 dollars you can buy tickets on the spot to any three movies playing the fest on any of the three days. In the past it was 3 on the day you bought them, and they had to be before 6 p.m. So, that’s a nice surprise and something I hope they keep around for next year.

One of the enigmatic "Deagol Brothers", directors of the dark comedy Make Out With Violence; one of the movies I actually did see at the fest.

One of the enigmatic "Deagol Brothers", directors of the dark comedy Make Out With Violence; one of the movies I actually did see at the fest.

 So, Friday was a whirlwind of three films back to back, no food, and an incident involving me, an empty parking space where my car used to be, my wife heading to an ATM at midnight like something out of a hostage film, and a jaunt through downtown Baltimore and an encounter with the grouchiest towing attendant I’ve ever seen. In between that we saw some great stuff, hung out in the eclectic lobby of The Charles and watched the filmmakers mill in and out.

Bobcat chilling at the concession stand...

Bobcat chilling at the concession stand...

The festival is definitely a great scene for anyone into films, and in particular, into Baltimore. I’m considering a pass to all the films and events next year. Theres so much going on, so much to see, and always someone willing to talk film and just generally hang out that popping in and out sort of robs the experience a little bit. I’ve also got to say that the directors and guests themselves were very friendly and laid back types that slipped in and out of the mileu and chatted up the crowd without drawing attention. Possibly the most mellow was Bobcat Goldthwait, who looked like a kid at Christmas even as he was talking to the guy behind the concession stand. He just looked delighted to be there. Pity to have missed his film on Saturday night. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for it elsewhere.

Bobcat hanging out before a movie on Friday night. Goldthwait's own film, World's Greatest Dad aired at the MFF on Saturday night.

Bobcat hanging out before a movie on Friday night. Goldthwait's own film, World's Greatest Dad aired at the MFF on Saturday night.

I’ll be posting  individual reviews over the next two days for the films I did manage to see. Of the 8, the tally includes no bad films, four solidly good, and three that were excellent. My biggest regret: that The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle didn’t play other than sunday. It sounded so insanely bizarre and up my alley that only something like Mother’s Day could have gotten in it’s way.

Stay tuned for my review of the first movie I saw, Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo!

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