MdFF 2019: Maryland Film Festival Announces First Wave of Docs

The first wave of documentaries have been announced for the 2019 Maryland Film Festival, taking place in Baltimore May 8 – 12.

Take a look below for the 10 films announced today, and click here to check out the previously announced first wave of narrative features. For more information, head over to the official website at

American Factory
Directors: Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert

Winner: Directing Award: U.S. Documentary — Sundance Film Festival
In 2014, a Chinese billionaire opened a Fuyao factory in a shuttered General Motors plant in Dayton, Ohio. For thousands of locals, the arrival of this multinational car-glass manufacturer meant regaining their jobs—and dignity—after the recession left them high and dry. Sundance selection American Factory takes us inside the facility to observe what happens when workers from profoundly different cultures collide.

Boy Howdy! The Story of Creem Magazine
Director: Scott Crawford

Capturing the messy upheaval of the ’70s just as rock was re-inventing itself, the film explores Creem Magazine’s humble beginnings in post-riot Detroit, follows its upward trajectory from underground paper to national powerhouse, then bears witness to its imminent demise following the tragic and untimely deaths of its visionary publisher, Barry Kramer, and its most famous alum and genius clown prince, Lester Bangs, a year later.

Cold Case Hammarskjöld
Director: Mads Brügger
Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Belgium
Winner: Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary — Sundance Film Festival

In 1961, United Nations secretary-general Dag Hammarskjöld’s plane mysteriously crashed, leaving no survivors. It’s understood that because Hammarskjöld was, at the time, advocating for Congo’s independence, the “crash” was an assassination. With the case still unsolved fifty-plus years later, Danish journalist, filmmaker, and provocateur Mads Brügger leads viewers down a wild investigative rabbit hole to unearth the truth. Scores of false starts, dead ends and elusive interviews later, Brügger begins to uncover a critical secret that could send shockwaves around the world.

Decade of Fire
Directors: Gretchen Hildebran and Vivian Vazquez
Hosted by Director Vivian Vazquez

In the 1970s, the Bronx was on fire. Left unprotected by the city government, nearly a half-million people were displaced as their close-knit, multiethnic neighborhood burned, reducing the community to rubble. While insidious government policies caused the devastation, Black and Latino residents bore the blame. In this story of hope and resistance, Bronx native Vivian Vazquez exposes the truth about the borough’s sordid history and reveals how her embattled and maligned community chose to resist, remain and rebuild.

  • Save

Midnight Traveler
Director: Hassan Fazili
USA, Qatar, Canada, UK

Winner: Special Jury Award for No Borders — Sundance Film Festival
When the Taliban puts a bounty on Afghan director Hassan Fazili’s head, he is forced to flee with his wife and two young daughters. Capturing their uncertain journey, Fazili shows both the danger and desperation of their multi-year odyssey and the tremendous love shared between them.

Mike Wallace Is Here
Director: Avi Belkin

An unflinching look at the legendary reporter, who interrogated the 20th century’s biggest figures in his over fifty years on air, and his aggressive reporting style and showmanship that redefined what America came to expect from broadcasters. Unearthing decades of never-before-seen footage from the 60 Minutes vault, the film explores what drove and plagued Wallace, whose storied career was entwined with the evolution of journalism itself.

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
Director: Stanley Nelson

Featuring never-before-seen archival footage, studio outtakes, and rare photos, the film tells the story of a truly singular talent and unpacks the man behind the horn, inviting viewers to explore the life and career of musical giant and cultural icon Miles Davis, a true visionary, innovator and originator who defied categorization and embodied the word: cool.

Other Music
Directors: Puloma Basu and Rob Hatch-Miller

In the summer of 2016, New York City lost a beloved and influential hub of independent music culture. Other Music was THE place where a generation of New Yorkers at the dawn of the Internet age went to discover groundbreaking music. Featuring Vampire Weekend, Animal Collective, Interpol and more, the film celebrates what spaces like these have meant to people in the past — and explores how their spirit can live on in an increasingly digital world.

mdff 2019
  • Save

Directors: Ivete Lucas and Patrick Bresnan

Four high-school students embark on their senior year in Pahokee, a small Florida town on the shores of Lake Okeechobee. The teens navigate all of the sometimes exciting, sometimes heartbreaking rite-of-passage rituals as they make profound decisions about their futures. As they do, the pressure of Pahokee’s economic hardships weighs heavily on their shoulders—the community has placed all hopes for opportunity on them, the next generation.

Well Groomed
Director: Rebecca Stern

Competitive creative dog grooming is the most colorful competition in America. Follow four champion groomers and their gorgeous, vibrant dogs through a year in the life on the technicolor competition circuit, playfully exploring their creative process. From South Carolina to California, New York to Arkansas, these women are revolutionizing the age old question – what is art?

  • Save