Frances Ferguson directed by Bob Byington
Frances Ferguson directed by Bob Byington

The Maryland Film Festival has announced the first 10 narrative films selected for the 21st edition taking place from Wednesday, May 8 through Sunday, May 12 in Baltimore’s Station North Arts and Entertainment District. Also included in these 10: John Waters’ annual pick.

The first 10 films are: Fig Tree directed by Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian, Frances Ferguson directed Bob Byington, Ham on Rye directed by Tyler Taormina, Knives and Skin directed by Jennifer Reeder, Manta Ray directed by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng, Mom And Dad directed by Brian Taylor, The Mountain directed by Rick Alverson, Premature directed Rashaad Ernesto Green, Ray and Liz directed by Richard Billingham, and Tito directed by Grace Glowicki.

Fig Tree
Director: Aäläm-Wärqe Davidian
Ethiopia, Israel, Germany, France

A startlingly confident feature directorial debut that tells the story of lives torn asunder by civil war.

Set in Addis Ababa in 1989, Fig Tree follows a teenage girl’s harrowing coming of age.

Frances Ferguson
Hosted by Director Bob Byington

Frances is discontent. Like a lot of us, she does a bit of “acting out” and pays the price — an arrest, a trial, incarceration. And then a new identity, one that’s not terribly comfortable. Nick Offerman narrates this deviant comedy, based on actual events.

Ham on Rye
Hosted by Director Tyler Taormina

A bizarre rite of passage at the local deli determines the fate of a generation of teenagers, leading some to escape their suburban town and dooming others to remain.

Knives and Skin
Hosted by Director Jennifer Reeder

In rural Illinois, a young girl’s disappearance traumatizes the small town residents. Soon, secrets are revealed, destroying some relationships and strengthening others and further deepening the mystery.

Manta Ray
Director: Phuttiphong Aroonpheng
Thailand, France, China

Near a coastal village of Thailand, by the sea where thousands of Rohingya refugees have drowned, a local fisherman finds an injured man lying unconscious in the forest. He rescues the stranger, who does not speak a word, offers him his friendship and names him Thongchai. But when the fisherman suddenly disappears at sea, Thongchai slowly begins to take over his friend’s life – his house, his job and his ex-wife.

Mom And Dad
Hosted by John Waters
Director: Brian Taylor

And as always, Baltimore film icon John Waters will select and host one of his favorite films. John’s choice this year is Mom and Dad, the off-the-wall 2017 horror-comedy starring Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair.

The Mountain
Hosted by Director Rick Alverson

Set against the 1950’s “golden age” of American male supremacy, an introverted young photographer (Tye Sheridan) joins a renowned lobotomist (Jeff Goldblum) on a tour to promote the doctor’s recently-debunked procedure

Hosted by Co-Writer/Actor Zora Howard
Director: Rashaad Ernesto Green

The summer before she leaves for college, Ayanna meets handsome and mysterious outsider, Isaiah; and her entire world is turned upside down as she navigates the demanding terrain of young love against a changing Harlem landscape.

Ray and Liz
Director: Richard Billingham

On the outskirts of Birmingham and the margins of society, the Billingham family perform extreme rituals and break social taboos as they muddle through life. At times shocking and laced with an unsettling humor, three episodes unfold as a powerful evocation of the experience of growing up in a Black Country council flat.

Hosted by Director Grace Glowicki

Tito is trapped. With lank black hair, curlicue sideburns, and an emergency whistle dangling from his neck, Tito is so stricken with fear that he’s developed a hunch in his back. Starved for food and security, Tito’s terrorized existence threatens to overwhelm him — until the sudden arrival of a cheerful intruder, offering breakfast and protection

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