Roar: John Waters on the Bizarre Adventure

Beginning with its inaugural year in 1999, each Maryland Film Festival has included a favorite film selected and hosted by cult Baltimore filmmaker, provocateur, and board member John Waters

Yours truly with John Waters, one of the directors in my new book, Gay Directors, Gay Films? at his annual bash in Provincetown, August 2016.

This year, the Festival takes place from May 3 through May 7, and on Friday evening (May 5), John Waters will introduce the bizarre action-adventure cult film ROAR (1981) from director Noel Marshall.

Marshall, his wife at the time, Tippi Hedren, and her daughter Melanie Griffith star in the movie about a family who visits Africa to meet their father, a man living with wild, uncaged jungle cats.

Drafthouse Films released the largely forgotten feature film in U.S. theaters in 2015, billing it “the most dangerous film ever made.”

Waters’ prior picks have included period pieces, challenging art-house dramas and raucous cult films such as Killer Joe (2015), Abuse of Weakness (2014) and his first Festival pick in 1999, Joseph Losey’s Boom! (1968), over-the-top production written by Tennessee Williams and starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton at the height of their stardom.

Waters is the writer-director of such iconic films as Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Polyester, Hairspray, Cry-Baby, and A Dirty Shame. A new 4k digital restoration of Waters’ early feature Multiple Maniacs has recently been released as part of the prestigious Criterion Collection. Waters is also renowned as a visual artist, public speaker, and author. His books include Shock Value, Crackpot, Role ModelsCarsick, and 2017’s Make Trouble.

Waters will introduce ROAR in the 414-seat auditorium at the new Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway, located at the corner of North Avenue and Charles Street. Filmgoers will experience an unforgettable night of humorous commentary from the “Pope of Trash” as Waters shares his unique and colorful observations about the film and why he selected it for the screening.  When describing ROAR (one of his top picks for ARTFORUM), Waters stated that audiences can: “Watch, slack-jawed, as Tippi is scalped and Melanie Griffith mauled by the wild animal extras who turn out to be the real stars of this nutcase action film.”

“What a privilege for us and our audiences to have John presenting a film at every Maryland Film Festival. He always presents something that fascinates him. It’s always fun, and we all learn something about the incredibly broad movie art form,” said MdFF Founding Director Jed Dietz. “We’re excited to share this special event with Festival filmgoers at our new home, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway.  We can’t wait to announce the rest of the film lineup that includes close to 100 films carefully curated and selected by our programming team.”

Wholly unpredictable as action-adventure, ROAR follows wildlife preservationist Hank (The Exorcist producer Noel Marshall in his sole and career-derailing turn as an actor and director), who lives harmoniously alongside a menagerie of over 100 untamed animals, including cheetahs, elephants, lions and tigers on a preservation in the African plains. When his wife and children arrive (real-life wife Tippi Hedren, The Birds, and step-daughter Melanie Griffith, Working Girl and John Waters’ Cecil B Demented, and his sons John and Jerry Marshall) for a visit, a long-brewing battle for dominance between the lions erupts and threatens their very lives.

Tickets for ROAR will go on sale beginning April 19th and are expected to sell out. All-Access Passes for the Festival are available now and can be purchased here: www.mdfilmfest.com/tickets-passes