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September 24 – September 25

A Visit From Matt Porterfield

After leaving his hometown of Baltimore for New York, Matt Porterfield (b. 1977) eventually dropped out of NYU film school, instead taking jobs in restaurants and teaching kindergarten while writing scripts and dreaming up what would become his first film. Hamilton took him back to Baltimore and towards an unembellished style featuring the long pans, wide angles, precisely timed structure and detailed tableau of dramatic fiction united with a raw documentarian regionalism. Despite his early success, Porterfield continues to pare down rather than up – crafting his atmospheres with miniature budgets, amateur actors and a spare aesthetic within the close reaches of his physical and emotional backyard. – Brittany Gravely


Special Event Tickets $12
Saturday September 24 at 7pm

Putty Hill

Directed by Matt Porterfield, Appearing in Person.
With Sky Ferreira, Zoe Vance, James Siebor, Jr.
USA 2010, digital video, color, 89 min

After funding fell through at the last minute for a fully-scripted feature, Metal Gods, Porterfield dispensed with the script and rehearsals, reconvened the cast of non-professionals culled from the working-class outskirts of Baltimore, and reanimated the spirit of the original idea onto the bare bones of a simple scenario: the death of a 23-year-old from a heroin overdose. The tragedy serves as an axis around which stories from the actors' personal lives intertwine with the largely-improvised fiction. Their relationship to the dead boy sometimes the only bond, alienated family members and old friends reunite – to variously apathetic, uncomfortable, or painful ends. Divulging more freely to an off-screen interviewer whose identity is never revealed, the characters' interactions with one another are usually mediated via paint ball, graffiti, drugs, video games, tattoos – culminating in an awkward karaoke-and-beer funeral for the departed. The self-conscious authenticity and quiet nihilism of Putty Hill matter-of-factly returns its gaze to a broken, disaffected reality of the American present.

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Sunday September 25 at 7pm

Hamilton

Directed by Matt Porterfield, Appearing in Person.
With Stephanie Vizzi, Chris Meyers, Sarah Seipp-Williams
USA 2006, 16mm, color, 67 min

In Porterfield's debut, his cast of mostly non-actors spends long, languid summer days in the Baltimore neighborhood of the title. Narrative tension and melodrama never quite erupt; instead they simmer obliquely beneath blank looks, passive gestures and sparse dialogue. Lena and Joe, young unmarried parents, appear attached by indirect, inarticulate communication and clumsy, fleeting affections. Friends and family look on amid the mid-summer Hamilton sounds and spaces which are also given ample room to sprawl in the suburban haze. Starkly circumventing exposition and plot device with a measured composition and unhurried observation, Porterfield's Hamilton basks in summer's simple pleasures and its quiet conflagrations.

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