Take a look below for the full list of docs and be sure to visit the official website at mdfilmfest.com for more information.
This is Home
Director: Alexandra Shiva
This Is Home is an intimate portrait of four Syrian refugee families arriving in America and struggling to find their footing. Displaced from their homes and separated from loved ones, they arrive in Baltimore with only eight months of assistance from the International Rescue Committee to become self-sufficient. As they learn to adapt to challenges, including the newly imposed travel ban, their strength and resilience are further tested.
Director: Marilyn Ness
Acclaimed producer Marilyn Ness (Cameraperson, Trapped) helms this complex look at police and community relations in Baltimore in the years since the tragic death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Charm City delivers an unexpectedly candid, observational portrait of the police, citizens, and government officials navigating the fault lines of the complicated issues facing the city .
Sickies Making Films
Director: Joe Tropea
Sickies Making Films explores the history of American movies by focusing on the nation’s longest surviving censor board, the Maryland State Board of Censors (1916-1981). In seven states and dozens of cities, censors banned and altered movies citing reasons such as sex, violence, politics, and race issues. Historian and documentarian Joe Tropea traces the battles, hangups, and eventual demise of the film censors in this hilarious and informative documentary.
Director: Sophie Dros
Genderbende is a story about five young people who neither feel male nor female, but rather position themselves somewhere in between. Everyday they are confronted with being different, yet they are proud to be who they are. The young people portrayed in this film all have their own struggles and together they create a compelling story about acceptance.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Director: Morgan Neville
From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom), Won’t You Be My Neighbor? takes an intimate look at America’s favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers. A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this emotional and moving film takes us beyond the zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe, and into the heart of a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.
Director: Khalik Allah
Constructed out of a series of fleeting yet indelible interactions with Jamaica’s residents, Black Mother is a dazzling audio-visual symphony that speaks to the island’s current state: its relationship with pain, outsiders, child rearing, colorism, sex work, nature, and God. As he builds relationships with strangers, Allah reconnects with his grandfather William Case, whose wisdom and blessings are woven into the film’s intricate soundscape.
Directors: Véréna Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor
A new documentary from the pioneering filmmakers behind Leviathan, Caniba reflects on the discomfiting significance of cannibalistic desire in human existence through the prism of one Japanese man, Issei Sagawa, and his mysterious relationship with his brother, Jun Sagawa. As a 32-year-old student at the Sorbonne in Paris, Issei Sagawa was arrested on June 13, 1981 when spotted emptying two bloody suitcases containing the remains of his Dutch classmate, Renée Hartevelt. Two days earlier, Mr. Sagawa had killed Hartevelt and began eating her.
Director: Lenny Feinberg
Father Divine was born in poverty, the son of emancipated slaves. At his peak, he was one of America’s most controversial religious leaders. His movement, dedicated to integration and communal living, was an innovator in desegregating neighborhoods, schools, businesses, and the ballot box in the 1930s and 40s. He preached that he himself was an incarnation of God. Though he was once a celebrity, and was decades ahead of his time fighting for civil rights, he has largely been written out of history because of the audacity of his religious claims, and doubt about his motives.
Director: Adam Weingrod
An intimate glimpse into the rich human mosaic of the St. Louis French Hospital- a Hospice for terminally ill patients, situated on the tense border between East and West Jerusalem across from the walls of the Old City. For two years, the director accompanied patients and caregivers – each one with their own story. The film shines with moments of humor and sadness that are the essence life itself between the hospital walls.
Director: Jenny Murray
¡Las Sandinistas! uncovers the untold stories of women who shattered barriers to lead combat and social reform during Nicaragua’s 1979 Sandinista Revolution, and the ensuing US-backed Contra War, as these same women continue to lead the struggle for justice today against the current government’s suppression of women’s rights and democracy.
Director: Stephen Loveridge
Matangi / Maya / M.I.A. is drawn from a cache of personal tapes shot by Maya Arulpragasm and her closest friends over the last 22 years, capturing her remarkable journey from immigrant teenager in London, to the international popstar M.I.A. Inspired by her roots, M.I.A. created a mashup, cut-and-paste identity that pulled from every corner of her journey; a sonic sketchbook that blended Tamil politics, art school punk, hip-hop beats and the voice of multicultural youth.
Milford Graves Full Mantis
Director: Jake Meginsky
Milford Graves: Full Mantis is the first ever feature-length portrait of renowned percussionist Milford Graves, exploring his kaleidoscopic creativity and relentless curiosity. Graves has performed internationally since 1964, both as a soloist and in ensembles with such legends as Albert Ayler, Giuseppi Logan and Sonny Sharrock. He is a founding pioneer of avant-garde jazz, and he remains one of the most influential living figures in the evolution of the form.
On Her Shoulders
Director: Alexandria Bombach
Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Yazidi, survived genocide and sexual slavery committed by ISIS. Repeating her story to the world, this ordinary girl finds herself thrust onto the international stage as the voice of her people. Away from the podium, she must navigate bureaucracy, fame and people’s good intentions.
The Pain of Others
Director: Penny Lane
The Pain of Others is a found footage documentary about Morgellons, a mysterious illness whose sufferers say they have parasites under the skin, long colored fibers emerging from lesions, and a host of other bizarre symptoms which could be borrowed from a horror film. The film is composed entirely of videos shared by a group of “Morgies” who have turned to YouTube for community and to prove they’re not crazy.
Director: Leilah Weinraub
“Shakedown” was a weekly club night in the Los Angeles urban lesbian strip club scene in the early 2000s. Created from over 400 hours of footage shot over 15 years, the documentary examines the culture that surrounded it and features female performers from the party in leading roles.
Director: Finlay Pretsell
Time Trial gives us an exhilarating and terrifying place in the race, providing an immersive experience as close to actually competing as you will ever see on film. Cyclist David Millar, shrouded in darkness, declares an intention to rise again. Featuring an incredible score by Baltimore-based musician and composer Dan Deacon.