Lights, Camera, Action
Film Fest Frenzy Introduction
TicketsIndividual tickets for regular festival screenings and events cost $10 ($8 for seniors and students with valid ID). Midnight screenings are $5, panel discussions are free. A 3Pass, good for admission to any three screenings, is $20 and is available at the Charles Theatre box office on the day of the show only. An all-access pass, good for all screenings, parties, and other fest events, is $250. Tickets for the opening-night event, a screening of Investigation of a Flame at the Senator Theatre and a reception to follow at the Evergreen House, cost $50 and benefit Southwest Baltimore's Viva House and the cause of film preservation. Tickets for Unforgiven and the closing-night party at the National Aquarium are $25. TIckets are available at the door or from Tickets.com ( 481-6500).
Charles Theatre: 1711 N. Charles St.
What is MFF? A showcase for up-and-coming filmmakers destined to leave the underground for the mainstream? A chance to catch offbeat documentaries, animation, and shorts we'd never see otherwise? A rare opportunity to watch some cherished oldies and cult faves on the big screen? An excuse for filmmakers and film lovers to party and schmooze?
Yes, yes, yes, and yes. (It's also a chance to assist film-preservation efforts, to which some of the fest's proceeds are directed.) MFF 2001, running May 3 through 6, continues the event's sampler-platter approach, with more than 70 features and shorts. The lineup is all over the place, but a few threads run through it. Nearly half of the 43 full-length films this year are documentaries, a testament to the current technology-enabled boom in nonfiction cinema. (All hail the mighty digital-video camera!) Fans of cheesy vintage horror will find a mini-fest awaiting them, with a gore-centric panel discussion that includes scaremeister Herschell Gordon Lewis, a pair of Lewis' bloodiest oldies, and both a film by and a documentary about Brazilian gore master José Mojica Marins on tap. And there are some very special special events, starting with the opening-night world premiere of Investigation of a Flame, a documentary about the Catonsville Nine (a group of anti-war activists who were arrested for stealing and burning draft records in 1968), at which several members of the Nine are slated to reunite. There are also panel discussions, post-screening Q&A's with many of the filmmakers, and a few celebrity guests, including Smithereens leader Pat DiNizio, National Public Radio's Scott Simon, Ravens coach Brian Billick, and MFF perennial John Waters.
To help you sort out the many mysteries of MFF, we've compiled this film-fest buddy. Inside you'll find reviews of most of the scheduled films, stories spotlighting a couple of particularly noteworthy selections, and a handy schedule, suitable for carrying around with you all weekend. Below, you'll find a chance to win a pass giving you the run of all screenings and events, to indulge in whatever face of the fest curries your favor.
Film Fest Frenzy (not affiliated with the Maryland Film Festival) was written by Jaimie Baron, Lee Gardner, Ian Grey, Heather Joslyn, Andy Markowitz, Adele Marley, and Jack Purdy. David Baker and Jaimie Baron provided invaluable editorial assistance. Nolen Strals provided the cover illustration. Thanks to Jed Dietz, Skizz Cyzyk, Dan Krovich, and the rest of the MFF crew for their cooperation.
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Baltimore, MD 21201