Over Indulge! (a Guide To Viewing Yourself Silly) The Maryland Film Festival

April 27, 2000|By Ann Hornaday | Ann Hornaday,sun film critic

So many movies, so little time.

One hot ticket at this year's Maryland Film Festival will be tonight's local premiere of "King Gimp," Susan Hadary and William Whiteford's Academy Award-winning documentary about Towson artist Dan Keplinger. The screening at the Senator is sure to be splashy, but the weekend offers numerous other hot tickets. In fact, you'll have more than 100 films and shorts to pick from. To help you make the tough choices, we've created a road map of movie-going for each day of the festival.

SATURDAY

APRIL 29

I plan to see "I Am Cuba," Mikhail Kalatozov's 1964 cinematic poem about the Cuban revolution, on Friday. So I'm going to make my first Saturday movie the fascinating other side of the coin presented by Kalatozov's film. You should, too.

10:15 a.m. -- Chris Hume made "This Is Cuba" in 1995, engaging Cuban citizens in uncensored conversations about life under Fidel. Afterward, with luck, you'll have time to sneak out to the Charles lobby for a snack before catching the next screening.

Noon -- Zeinabu Irene Davis' debut feature, "Compensation," explores African-American culture in both turn-of-the-century and present-day Chicago. The film, which was inspired by a Paul Laurence Dunbar poem, stars deaf actress Michelle A. Banks, who will attend the screening. After the "Compensation" screening, you'll have a half-hour to grab lunch at the new Spike & Charlie's cafe at the Charles, which will open during the festival. Then it's off for more screenings.

1:30 p.m. -- The comedy "Another Planet," by Canadian filmmaker Christene Browne, reportedly has terrific cinematography and a magical-realist touch, which will come in handy considering its subject matter: An African-Canadian woman finds her identity while working on a pig farm.

"Another Planet" ends at 3 p.m., which gives you a full hour to stare into the middle distance (and probably gulp down a cup of coffee) before the next screening.

4 p.m. -- Kevin McKiernan, an independent television journalist, has made "Good Kurds, Bad Kurds," a documentary about the ethnic cleansing of Kurds in Turkey and the contradictions of U.S. policy regarding this embattled group. The film has had good buzz since making its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival in January.

5 p.m. -- The end of the film will bring you to the cocktail hour and the inevitable question: Repair to the Club Charles or take the cinematic equivalent of a tequila shot? You should opt for the latter, with the program of Kuchar brothers' films. Mike and George Kuchar are legendary figures from the underground film scene of the 1960s and will be showing some of their greatest hits at this screening, including "Hold Me While I'm Naked" and "Sins of the Fleshapoids." Who needs booze when the Kuchars are in the house?

The Kuchar program is scheduled to let out at 5:40, giving you just enough time to zip over to the Zodiac for a quick dinner. Then it's back to the Charles.

7:30 p.m. -- Aaron Barnett's documentary about an attempt to find the Duran Duran star-turned-recluse is called "Searching for Roger Taylor." Folded into this personal journey is said to be a trenchant history of how MTV came to be a dominant (and homogenizing) force in the music industry.

9:30 p.m. -- There's time to visit the theater lobby for a caffeine fix before attending the screening of "La Esquina Caliente," Michael Skolnik and William O'Neill's documentary about the historic 1999 baseball games between the Baltimore Orioles and the Cuban National Team. (The Maryland Film Festival marks the U.S. premiere of the movie.)

11 p.m. -- "La Esquina Caliente" lets out at 11 p.m. Tired? But how can you miss "The Scott and Gary Show?" The subject is enticing enough: "The Scott and Gary Show" was a public-access cable show in New York that introduced several bands in the 1980s, including the Butthole Surfers and Half Japanese. Even better, the documentary was made by Jeff Krulik, who directed two of my all-time favorite docs, "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" and "Neil Diamond Parking Lot."

Bed will surely beckon again when "The Scott and Gary Show" ends, but you've just got to catch Jad Fair, one half of Half Japanese, who will perform at the Charles after the movie.

You can sleep when you're dead.

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