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Films from Chris LaMartina and Michael Tully to highlight 2014 Maryland Film Festival

April 9, 2014
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PING_PONG_SUMMER-web-350With the Maryland Film Festival’s first lineup announcement out today, City Paper spoke with festival director Jed Dietz and director of programming Eric Hatch (a former CP contributor) about some of this year’s highlights. Following up on last year’s Maryland-centric entries (12 O’Clock Boys, I Used to Be Darker), MFF 2014 will feature local filmmaker Chris LaMartina’s Call Girl of Cthulhu, an H.P. Lovecraft-driven “horror-sex comedy.” Those familiar with LaMartina’s previous work, including WNUF Halloween Special and Witch’s Brew, will expect his signature mix of hilariously gory low-budget horror flick, this time with a hybrid octopus-dragon monster at the film’s core. This will be LaMartina’s first appearance in the festival.

Another entry with a Maryland bent will be Ping Pong Summer (pictured) from Cocaine Angel director Michael Tully. Tully, who grew up in Bowie and Mount Airy, based his script on childhood summers spent in Ocean City, Md. Susan Sarandon, Lea Thompson, and Amy Sedaris star in the film, which premiered at Sundance and which Tully has said he’s wanted to make since he studied film at UMBC in the early ’90s. This will be Tully’s third film appearing at MFF.

Another UMBC grad takes the screen in Point and Shoot, which follows freedom fighter/lecturer Matthew VanDyke, who motorcycled around the Middle East before participating in the Libyan revolution and, later, being captured for a brief time. Dietz says the documentary—directed by Street Fight filmmaker Marshall Curry—contains some Grizzly Man elements that should shed some new light on VanDyke’s exploits.

Among other, non-Maryland highlights, Hatch includes Who Took Johnny, a documentary looking at the disappearance of Johnny Gosch, an Iowa paperboy who was one of the first missing children to appear on a milk carton. From Metallica: Some Kind of Monster and Blair Witch 2 director Joe Berlinger comes Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, a documentary featuring an interview with the infamous Boston gang leader, now imprisoned.

Other entries announced in today’s release include coming-of-age drama Club Sandwich, Happy Christmas from celebrated mumblecore director Joe Swanberg (who screened Drinking Buddies at last year’s MFF), and Thou Wast Mild and Lovely, from director Josephine Decker, who premiered Butter on the Latch at MFF 2013.