Posts Tagged ‘Matt Porterfield’

Take What You Can Carry

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

This past summer, I made a film with some friends in Berlin. My first narrative short (and my first film made outside of Baltimore), it’s my most personal and formally playful work yet. Inspired by Georges Perec’s text Species of Spaces, it imagines a character in transition, living in a foreign city for an indeterminate amount of time, trying to balance the various and distinct public and private manifestations of her personality.



photo by Iris Janke


A character study as well as a meditation on communication, creativity, and physical space, Take What You Can Carry is a picture of a young woman seen through the interiors she occupies and the company she keeps. A North American living abroad, Lilly (Hannah Gross) aspires to shape an intimate and private place of her own while connecting to the world around her. When she receives a letter from home, it provides the conduit she needs to fuse her transient self with the person she’s always known herself to be.

Lilly’s grandmother, the film’s other central character, is never seen, only heard through the letter Lilly receives from her and reads aloud, an actual letter written by my grandmother to me. For the supporting roles, I cast a number of actors I’ve admired from afar, including Angela Schanelec, Jean-Christophe Folly, and members of the Berlin-based theatre company Gob Squad. The excellent technical and producing team was European and the film was funded through a grant from The Wexner Center for the Arts and a fellowship from the Harvard Film Study Center. It was written and produced in a summer.

“I would like there to exist places that are stable, unmoving, intangible, untouched and almost untouchable, unchanging, deep-rooted; places that might be points of reference, of departure, of origin…

Such places don’t exist, and it’s because they don’t exist that space becomes a question, ceases to be self-evident, ceases to be incorporated, ceases to be appropriated. Space is a doubt: I have constantly to mark it, to designate it. It’s never mine, never given to me, I have to conquer it.”

- Georges Perec

Take What You Can Carry had its world premiere in competition at the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival and its North American premiere at Lincoln Center’s “Art of the Real”. Keep an eye out for it on the festival circuit throughout the year!


I Used To Be Darker on DVD

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Matt Porterfield’s third feature I Used To Be Darker is now available on DVD and VOD in the US and will be available to stream on Netflix May 27th! ED Distribution will release the DVD in France on May 6! Arsenal will pair with Filmgalerie 451 for the German-language DVD this fall!

“Best of Sundance. A true original” – IndieWire (USA)

“Reveals that another kind of American cinema is possible.” – Le Passeur critique (FRANCE)

“A welcome indie surprise from the Baltimore-based filmmaker, brilliantly integrating music into a deconstructed family conflict.” — Les Inrockuptibles (FRANCE)

“Among other things, this is a love letter to American folk music, melancholic and buoyant at the same time. Porterfield is currently one of the most exciting filmmakers of young American independent cinema. Süddeutsche Zeitung (GERMANY)



Friday, December 7th, 2012

We’re ecstatic to announce that Matt Porterfield’s new film, I Used To Be Darker, will premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, as part of the festival’s NEXT section, which highlights films “that stretch limited resources to create impactful art.” The film stars newcomers, Deragh Campbell and Hannah Gross, and musicians, Ned Oldham and Kim Taylor.

The screenplay was co-written by Amy Belk, who will collaborate with Porterfield on his next project, Soller’s Point. It was shot by cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier (Hamilton, Putty Hill, Septien, See Girl Run) and edited by Marc Vives (Putty Hill, The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye). It was co-produced by the Hamilton Film Group, Nomadic Independence Pictures, and Steady Orbits. The soundtrack features music by Bill Callahan, Dope Body, Dustin Wong, Jana Hunter, Entrance Band, Amanaz and UGK, as well as original music by Ned Oldham and Kim Taylor.

Like Porterfield’s previous work, I Used To Be Darker is firmly grounded in narrative tradition while pushing outward and turning inward in surprising and formally adventurous ways. Taking a cue from 18th century modes of melodrama, it’s full of big emotions, broad gestures and song. But like the best cinematic realism it also finds time for the quotidian, posing questions of craft, utilizing formal devices that shatter the illusion of reality, while honoring the potential for naturalism inherent in working with a non-professional cast and real environments.

Sundance Screenings of I Used to be Darker

January 19, 3:00 P.M. Yarrow Hotel Theatre // Park City, UT
January 20, 6:00 P.M. Temple Theatre // Park City, UT
January 21, 9:00 P.M. Broadway Centre Cinema 6 // Salt Lake City, UT
January 22, 3:00 P.M. Holiday Village Cinema 2 (Press & Industry Screening) // Park City, UT
January 25, 9:00 P.M. Temple Theatre // Park City, UT

For more information, please contact Ross Clark or Carla Sacks at Sacks & Co., 212.741.1000, or