Nuotama Frances Bodomo is a Ghanaian filmmaker based in New York City. She grew up on four continents—in Ghana, Norway, California, and Hong Kong—before moving to New York to attend Columbia University as a Kluge Scholar. She received her B.A. in English Literature and Film Studies in 2010. Her thesis focused on making African-generated images part of the popular image of Africa. Her work features doppelgangers, imaginary friends, ventriloquist dummies, and the un-institutionalized crazies who constantly break society’s view of itself. Her ultimate goal is to make conceptually strong films that bring African images to the forefront. She is currently an MFA Candidate and Dean’s Fellow at NYU’s Graduate Film Program. She was inspired to make Boneshaker for a generation of kids that have nowhere to call home.
Dara Bratt moved to NY to complete her MFA in film at NYU, Tisch School of the Arts. Since graduating with distinction, she has been directing numerous indie films, from a poetic documentary shot in the jungles of Vietnam, to a dark comedy set in Brooklyn. Collectively, her films have screened all over the world, from the Tribeca Film Festival to SXSW, Abu Dhabi International Film Festival, to ShortShorts Asia in Tokyo. Dara has been the recipient of many grants including the Alfred P. Sloan Production grant, the FAP grant from the National Film Board of Canada, the Tribeca Film Institute/Sloan Award, and the documentary grant from the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts, and Sciences. Dara also writes, directs and produces commercial and corporate videos for clients including L’Oreal Paris, Maybelline NY, Sally Hansen, Avon and John Frieda. These projects have won numerous Cine Golden Eagle awards.
Chetin Chabuk is a documentary filmmaker with interests in the merger of culture and technology. He has been working in documentaries for the past 11 years, producing and editing for institutions PBS Frontline and HBO Documentary Films. Jujitsuing Reality marks his solo directorial debut. He is currently in production on the story of the world's first internet celebrity. Based in Los Angeles, Chetin holds a Masters Degree from Emerson College and was raised in Silver Spring, MD.
Grainger David is a director and screenwriter from Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina. He is a graduate of Princeton University and holds an MFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts Graduate Film program, where he was the WTC Johnson Fellow. He has been awarded grants from the Tribeca Film Institute, the Sloan Foundation, and the National Board of Review, as well as a MacDowell Colony residency. His short film THE CHAIR won the Short Film Jury Prize at the 2012 South by Southwest Film Festival and was an official selection in the Short Films Competition at the 65th Festival de Cannes. Grainger is currently in post-production on a new short, The Edge of the Woods, starring Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men).
Originally from Austin, TX, Riley Stearns began his "career" as a writer on the live action series TOWER PREP on Cartoon Network. After the show was cancelled he wrote and directed the arthouse-horror short MAGNIFICAT starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Stephen Tobolowsky. In the beginning of 2012 he wrote and directed the experimental short CASQUE, also starring Winstead. His short film THE CUB was selected as part of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and has gone on to play festivals throughout North America. He has a script written for a short that will never happen and is currently putting together a feature film that probably will.
Lauren Wolkstein is an award-winning filmmaker who received her MFA in film directing from Columbia University’s graduate film program and a BA in computer science and film from Duke University. She was named one of the top twenty-five emerging filmmakers through The Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Independent Filmmaker Project’s inaugural Emerging Visions program at the 2011 New York Film Festival. With Christopher Radcliff, she co-directed The Strange Ones, which screened within MFF 2011's Opening Night shorts program.
David Lowery has received widespread acclaim for his forthcoming feature, the Cannes-bound Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, starring Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, and Rooney Mara. Among Lowery’s previous films as director, Maryland Film Festival has screened his short film A Catalog of Anticipations in 2008, his feature St. Nick in 2009, and his Will Oldham-starring short Pioneer within MFF 2011’s Opening Night Shorts Program. Lowery has also made waves in recent months with a series of profile-raising announced projects, ranging from a reinvention of Disney’s Pete’s Dragon to a crime drama with Robert Redford attached as star and producer, The Old Man and the Gun. This marks the first time an alum of MFF's Opening Night Shorts has hosted a subsequent MFF Opening Night.
Boneshaker (Frances Bodomo, 12 minutes)
An African family, lost in America, travels to a Louisiana church to find a cure for its problem child.
The Chair (Grainger David, 12 minutes)
A mysterious outbreak in a rural Southern town leads one young boy to a hauntingly poetic consideration of the wonder, mystery, and menace of the natural world.
The Cub (Riley Stearns, 5 minutes)
Wolves make the best parents.
Flutter (Dara Bratt, 8 minutes)
John Bedford is a 76-year-old amateur butterfly collector. Immensely visual, the film follows John on his excursion to the jungles of Vietnam, plunging audiences into a world of wonder and childlike excitement. But as the film reveals, our subject is as fragile as the habitat he loves and seeks to preserve. Extending beyond the exotic and gorgeous butterflies, this is the reflective and meditative portrait of a lonely man seeking companionship in the arms of nature.
Jujitsuing Reality (Chetin Chabuk, 16 minutes)
Despite living with ALS, screenwriter Scott Lew maintains his voice in the world through his scripts, giving added meaning to the expression "living to write".
Social Butterfly (Lauren Wolkstein, 14 minutes)
A 30-year-old American woman enters into a teenage party in the South of France. Some of the guests wonder who she is and what she is doing there.
NOTE: Attendees to our Opening Night Shorts program also have access to MFF 2013's Opening Night party directly after the screening!