"Shot in silvery black-and-white by writer-directors S. Cagney Gentry and Thom Southerland, Fort Maria is what the filmmakers call "an unscripted filmic experiment" — a description that might suggest something arch or humorless. But it's neither, avoiding heavy-handed artifice and narrative cliche and finding the tenderness, fire and everyday absurdity beneath its contained-verging-on-deadpan surface." -- The Hollywood Reporter
"[P]owerful and surprising...full of essential human moments and authentic considerations of race, culture, love, and what truly makes up a family." -- Ashland Independent Film Festival
 

Maria is a woman with no country. A Bulgarian immigrant and adoptive mother of a black daughter, she finds herself suddenly stricken with agoraphobia following a break-in at her home in Kentucky. When her daughter’s aging dog dies, Maria’s confinement puts her into equally painful and funny situations that soon entangle her neighbors.

As Maria copes with the issues that have led her - a world traveler - into her self-inflicted prison, her daughter Meredith discovers her own identity through a search for her biological family. 

STILLS

A collection of stills from the film and behind-the-scenes moments

 
 
 

Katerina Stoykova

Maria

Katerina Stoykova grew up in Bourgas, Bulgaria. In 1995, she immigrated to the United States and for over a decade, worked as a software engineer in high-tech companies. In November, 2009, she graduated from the brief-residency MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University. Katerina writes poetry and prose in both Bulgarian and English. She enjoys translating between the two languages, as well. Her poems and stories have appeared in numerous literary publications in the United States and in Europe. Proud Citizen marked her film debut for which she won acting awards from the Florida Film Festival and River's Edge International Film Festival.

Jamie Hickman

Clara

Jamie Hickman is a Knoxville, Tennessee based actor, producer, and writer/director. She lived a few years in New York and Los Angeles performing in films and plays. Her own short play was produced off-off Broadway, and she wrote and directed her first short film while in Los Angeles.

Joan Brannon

Violet

Joan Brannon leads a Spirit-Guided life. Her passions are revealed through percussion, writing, performance and media arts. She has appeared on-stage in the plays, The Man who Died at Twelve O’clock and Spunk. She is a featured poet in the documentary, Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky. Joan is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, whose work has been screened at festivals throughout the US and in France, England, Japan and South Africa.

Meredith Frankie Crutcher

Meredith

Meredith Frankie Crutcher was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. Meredith's love for acting stemmed from her mother, a theatrical stage manager, who let her tag along to many rehearsals for much of her childhood. Growing up she attended theater camps and classes and went on to study theater and film at Bluegrass Community and Technical College and the University of Kentucky. Of all the roles she's played and hopes to play in the future, her most cherished is her role as a mother to her vivacious seven year old daughter, Tristan.

S. Cagney Gentry and Thomas Southerland

Co-Directors

S. Cagney Gentry is a filmmaker from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He is a faithful Demon Deacon and a child of Appalachia. His debut feature, Harvest (2015), was an exploration of aging and solitude deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The film played several festivals across the country and was awarded one of the top prizes at the Athens International Film + Video Festival.

Thomas Southerland's first narrative feature, Proud Citizen won the Jury Prize at the New Orleans Film Festival in 2014 and eight other Jury and Audience awards at festivals around the country and is streaming on Fandor. His two short documentaries, Lamp and Lonely Kingdom have screened at numerous festivals in 2016 and 2017. Lonely Kingdom won the Best Documentary Short Jury Prize at the Charlotte Film Festival. 

Paul Harrill

Producer

Paul Harrill is the writer/director of Something, Anything, named  by IndieWire as one of the “Top 25 First Features” of 2015. His short films have screened on five continents, and include a Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival. He lives in Knoxville where he teaches at the University of Tennessee. 

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