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Expanded Maryland Film Festival to feature Matthew Porterfield's latest movie

Filmmaker Matthew Porterfield - Steve Ruark
Filmmaker Matthew Porterfield - Steve Ruark
When we asked Matthew Porterfield how his life has changed since releasing his lauded film “Putty Hill” three years ago, he said, simply, that he travels a lot more.
Indeed, the Baltimore filmmaker has hit film festivals in Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Lisbon and Berlin, along with several U.S. cities, to promote his third movie “I Used to Be Darker.”
The movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, and showed this month at the Nashville Film Festival, where it won the Best Original Song award. Porterfield also won the Best Director Award this month at the Buenos Aires Independent Film Festival. “Darker” tells the story of Taryn, a runaway Irish teen who winds up in the Baltimore home of her aunt and uncle, just as their marriage is ending. 
Next week, Porterfield will be sticking closer to home while “I Used to be Darker” plays at the Maryland Film Festival. The 2013 festival, which runs May 8-12, starts one day earlier and features an extra day of screenings. The festival will show 50 features and 80 shorts in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. Organizers expanded the event because some attendees last year were frustrated because they didn’t get into their movie of choice, Maryland Film Festival Director Jed Dietz says. 
"Darker" will screen Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. A party featuring live music from some of the cast members will be held at the Metro Gallery following the Saturday night viewing. (See the complete schedule here.) 
After the Maryland Film Festival, Porterfield says he will continue to tour festivals in the summer and fall. Movie distribution company Strand Releasing, which acquired the movie rights to the film this month, will release the movie in select theaters. It will also be available through video on demand and on DVD.
Porterfield chatted with BmoreMedia from the Nashville Film Festival to talk about his latest movie.
Where was “Darker” filmed?
The film is shot principally in two homes in Roland Park and Hamilton. We see the interiors of the Copycat building, [former nightclub] Sonar and the Prime Rib. It’s also filmed in Ocean City.
What was the inspiration for the film?
I think all of my films are relationship drams, films about families. In this case, this one is about the end of a marriage told from multiple perspectives.
It appears that this movie has more of a traditional story arc than your previous films.
There’s a structure where things happen in the first act that have reverberations in the middle, which are fully realized in the third. There’s a short window of time, a few days. Like my other films, there’s time to explore the daily routine of these characters.
How else is this film a first for you?
It’s my first time writing with another writer. Amy Belk teaches at MICA [Maryland Institute College of Art] and CCBC [Community College of Baltimore County]. It’s a true collaboration in that sense. Also music is a big part of the film, that [makes] the story arc. I like to think of it as a melodrama, with emotion and character development through song.
How does this film represent your evolution as a filmmaker?
Every film is a reaction to the one that came before. “Hamilton” was fully scripted. “Putty Hill” was entirely improvised. The actors [in “I Used to Be Darker”] are new to the screen but have a level of professionalism. There was a focus on trying to get the most out of my lead actors through rehearsal of the material. We gave them a lot more time for preparation. I think this has been my most fully developed feature.
What’s next for you after “Darker?”
As soon as we rollout [“Darker"], I’ll be working on a new picture, another Baltimore film. I’ll be wrapping up the script and shooting it next summer. I can’t talk more about it now.

Top photo of Matthew Porterfield by STEVE RUARK. Second Porterfield photo courtesy of Andrew Laumann.

Click photos to read captions.
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