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Maryland Deathfest: The Movie is Out Now

Posted in Uncategorized on June 17, 2010 by hndshkinc

Maryland Deathfest: The Movie is Out Now

…as well as a movie poster from the cover of the DVD case. The movie is about three hours in length, covering the three days of Maryland Deathfest VII from 2009, and we’ve added an interview reel of bandmembers, fans, and even club security as a bonus.

Putting this movie together involved a lot of late nights, long distance phone calls, hair pulling and arm twisting, and frankly we’re glad to see the back of it. But we’re also proud of all of the work we poured into the project, and how much the look and feel of the film changed from start to finish.

It was a fine day when the Handshake Inc. film crew arrived at the Sonar in Baltimore, site of the last several Maryland Deathfests, on the day of the pre-fest party that kicked off Maryland Deathfest VIII this year, to find that the shipment of DVDs and posters had arrived as scheduled. With DVD player, projector, and screen in hand, we set up our booth outside, stacked up the DVDs on tables, and began screening the film for all who cared to sample the film as they passed from or to the gate.

Many who pre-ordered the film online came to booth and went with a copy of the film and a poster in their hands, along with the t-shirts, CDs, cups of beer, and whatever else they carried.

Interested parties can order not only the DVD but the poster through

Links to reviews of the DVD to come.


About “Maryland Deathfest: The Movie” out now on DVD

Posted in Uncategorized on June 17, 2010 by hndshkinc

For better, worse, or indifference, Maryland Deathfest: The Movie is on DVD.

We wanted to capture some part of what it was like to watch all of the bands at Maryland Deathfest VII, which took place Memorial Day weekend in 2009 in Baltimore. We took pains to represent every band who gave their consent to be in the film. Two bands for which we didn’t have video, we featured the audio.

Grace from Landmine Marathon was one of two interviewers who spoke to bands, fans, and security, local people and international travelers who came to experience some or all of the then-latest installment of the festival series. Selections from those conversations are featured on the disc.

At the same time we were selling the DVD at our booth and screening the film throughout the Maryland Deathfest VIII weekend, Handshake Inc.’s expanded camera crew was filming the festival to create another movie to release next year. Several bands had us film their entire sets so they could release DVDs, and we interviewed many bands, attendees, and festival workers for another interview reel for next year’s edition.

We’ve already decided on the trip back home after the festival that this documentary that we shot at MDF VIII has to be better in every way from the first film we just released. And we believe it will be.

Maryland Deathfest: The Movie is out now. And you can order it on DVD as well as the movie poster here.

Last May, a ten-person crew – led by myself and my business/creative partner Dave Cardoso – headed to Baltimore to film three days of underground metal insanity. Close to 60 of the most relevant and brutal acts in underground metal played for 3000 adoring fans. We filmed every band we could and accumulated over 80 hours of footage. Since June 18th, 2009, I’ve been editing, getting in touch with labels and bands, getting release forms and permissions, dealing with damaged audio files, and doing my best to create a film that is going to please some of the most critical fans on the planet and be of high artistic merit. So yes, the MDF film is coming. It’s almost done, and it’s gonna screen continuously and be for sale at MDF 2010. It’s a raw, gritty, and incredibly real portrayal of the festival. And if nothing else, the movie is a testament to the amazing time I had at MDF, and a tribute to America’s biggest metal party of the year and all the people who made it happen.

– David Hall

“Grind Verite”

Posted in Uncategorized on March 5, 2010 by hndshkinc

“Grind 24 hours a days, seven days a week. Some days I don’t eat or sleep, only grind.” Richard Hoak

“Cinema Verite”  a style of documentary filmmaking, combining naturalistic techniques with stylized cinematic devices of editing and camerawork, staged set-ups, and the use of the camera to provoke subjects. It is also known for taking a provocative stance toward its topics. In French the term means, roughly, “truthful cinema”.

I guess this is really pretentious, having some term or whatever for the kind of work you do, but since the beginning we’ve been all about doing things our own way – making movies how we want to make them.  I think the way you make a movie is just as important as what the movie is about…and the way we make movies is to grind, and keep it real.

Here’s a list of suggestions that we try to follow whenever possible:

  • No assistants
  • No tripods
  • No video assist or playback
  • Crew only on set
  • Whenever possible, crew members must hold multiple positions
  • no one but the director talks to the actors
  • the director must edit the film
  • the d.o.p must operate too
  • no one, ever, at any time, is to say anything about continuity
  • no late night shoots when subject matter permits
  • technical error is not an option
  • you must have fun
  • you have to satisfy your own artistic needs
  • be selfish

What Maryland Deathfest is Like for First Timers…And How MDF THE MOVIE came to be.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 16, 2010 by hndshkinc

Okay, so a couple of years ago I stumbled upon MDF in a google search.  As I’ve mentioned before, I am a relative ‘new comer’ to metal.  I didn’t grow up with it, I didn’t worship it in high school and I never went to metal shows or got all underground or anything until like 1998.  I’m a firm believer that there are two types of music: good and bad…eventually i came to the metalz, so I don’t know, some might question my credibility, and maybe I’m a bit insecure about it but whatever.  I love music and I love heavy shit.  I played bass in Fuck the Facts for 15 secs if that’s worth anything.  Probably not.  So that’s what it is.

In 2007 my first film ‘Axis of Eden the Feature Film’ came out.  It was a massive achievement for me; not only was it produced on less than a shoe-string (I think it maybe cost $1000 to make) but half-way through the production I lost access to all the equipment I was using. (I used to teach at Fanshawe College in London and I got fired or ‘let go’ which I see as a huge compliment bcuz that place is fucking crazy!!!  It also didn’t help that I refused to pay for parking and informed the parking office that I was on a fixed income and moving to Australia so please could I not pay to park.) Anyway, I somehow overcame and six months later the film was in the can.  Fast-forward to October 2007, a month before I was about to leave to go on tour with Today is the Day to project the film behind them as they played, and I randomly googled ‘Today is the Day’ (I often scour the net for any mention of any projects I am related to.  I am a HUGE egomaniac and extremely paranoid about what people say about me!) and ended up at Maryland Deathfest’s website.

When I first discovered MDF I thought it was a joke.  How could Brutal Truth, Napalm Death, Pig Destroyer, Asphyx, Wolves in the Throne Room, Sigh, Birdlflesh, Venomous Conept, Mayem, Flesh Parade, Atheist, Bolt Thrower etc., etc., etc., etc all be playing the same fest?  (At the time Today is the Day were scheduled to play, they later bowed out.)  I don’t know, that shit blew me away – it was like a fest featuring my CD collection, you know?  I quickly, without really thinking about what was involved or what it would cost or any of the rights or logistics, fired off an email to the or whatever the email address was.

The day before I was set to leave to tour with TDITD I got an email back from Ryan Taylor – one half of the team that makes the fest happen every year. “Hi Dave.  We are interested in making this film happen, let’s talk. Ryan.”  In what I came to learn was Ryan’s trademark short and sweet demeanor came the answer I was looking for.  A few weeks later, on the night of the Presidential election (Obama vs what’s-his-name) I met Ryan face-to-face at the Sonar in Baltimore.  Triac opened for Today is the Day and Ryan and all the Misery Index dudes (minus Sparky) came down to check out the show and hang out with TDITD’s touring drummer Julien Granger.  Ryan and I chatted briefly, then after the show we all drove back to Ryan’s place – through the streets of cheering and dancing Americans.  We all crashed at Ryan’s that night – one the comfiest floors I had slept on all tour – then got up the next morning and headed for NYC.

Ryan was and is a totally chill dude.  One of those people who I bet doesn’t yell or get really mad that often, but when he does…I wouldn’t want to be there if it happened.  Anyway, that brief moment of hospitality – also extended by Misery Index’s drummer Adam – sort of gave me a glimpse into the world of MDF: everything is chill, down-to-earth and waaaay normal.  Ryan and his MDF partner Evan are like the most normal and nicest guys ever…so meeting and hanging with Ryan in Baltimore was sort of like a litmus test and sort of put my mind at ease.  These guys are cool and chill as fuck so yeah I can enter into a partnership with these total strangers and feel comfortable.  That kind of thing is really important when you’re making a movie because you don’t want any surprises when it’s showtime.  That’s really the birth of the film.  All the work that came between then and now and that is still going on. I’ll get to that another day.


Maryland Deathfest is like Disney World or the Olympics or Carnivale but for fans of underground metal.  Attending the fest last year was seriously the best experience of my life short of meeting my wife and the birth of my two kids.  That shit is off the fucking hook for realz.  Everyone is chill.  I didn’t experience any negativity the whole festival and despite some of the snarky message boarders, people were really supportive of the movie and what we were doing.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but I’m always on the lookout for the next band to get into or record/cd/digital download to add to my collection.  I used to have a list in my wallet so I wouldn’t get sidetracked when I went into record shops.  And, as I said, getting into metal a bit later in life means that a lot of sweet shit is either out of print or unavailable.  I’m such a junkie that from 1999 until the first time I went to MDF (2009 – ten years exactly!) I had reoccurring dreams where I ‘d find a totally rad record store that had anything and everything I’d ever wanted.  I always wanted these dreams to last forever so I could savor the moment and go slowly, bin by bin, row by row, stack by stack, checking out the best music money could buy.  These dreams were so bitter-sweet because seriously, it was like waking up from my own personal nirvana.  So close, yet so far.  My wife and I used to have this agreement that when she finished med-school she’d fly me out to Amoeba or some shit and let me drop a few thousand on records.  Well, we don’t have that agreement any more and I don’t have those dreams anymore because I discovered the place I’d been dreaming about all those years: MDF.  I swear to god.  It hit me the first afternoon.  Wandering around the merch areas and vendors with limitless sweet shit available: MDF was the place that basically had anything to offer that I wanted…it provided me with such a sense of personal fulfillment and happiness rivaled only by a hug from one of my daughters or a fat bag of White Widow.  And that was all before any band had even hit the stage.  I knew then and there that I had made the right decision to make a film about MDF.  If you like underground metal – if that shit is your life – then MDF is your Mecca and you owe it to yourself to get there at least once in your life.

And if you can’t get there – well – buy my movie!!!

Richard “The Grindfather” Johnson signs on as Co-Producer of “Maryland Deathfest: The Movie.”

Posted in Uncategorized on February 5, 2010 by hndshkinc

Holy fuck was I naïve when I first had the idea of making a film about Maryland Deathfest – I had no idea whatsoever what I was getting myself into or the pressure involved with such a project.

Up until 2007 I had never even heard of the festival.  I’m not afraid to admit I was a latecomer to metal.  As a child, my neighbor used to scare the shit out of me with tales of the members of Kiss eating feces off the floor, and Ozzy Osbourne eating puppies and drinking semen at concerts.  Another neighbor, a good twenty years my senior, found Jesus one day and spontaneously gave me his old record collection.  This was in 1984, in the heat of the break-dancing craze.  My first attempt at “scratching” was done on a first-print vinyl edition of Black Sabbath’s ‘Sabotage.’  A record I know consider to be near perfect (minus ‘Am I going Insane (Radio)’ of course.)

My first real exposure to metal came in 1995 when I was hired to write a script that involved Ozzy Osbourne in a round-about way. (That script was actually put in the hands of Sharon Osbourne and we were in talks to maybe start producing.  Then “The Osbournes” dropped and I never heard from the again!) I randomly ordered ten metal albums from Columbia House for research purposes and from that point on I’ve been hooked.

So the point of all this is, prior to releasing the ‘Axis of Eden’ film, I had no idea how protective and serious fans of underground metal could be.  I got a little taste of it on tour with Today is the Day (I screened the film behind the band while the played) – at one show a fan had to be escorted out for heckling the movie so badly! But it wasn’t until word got out that we were making a film about MDF that I realized I had really fucking stepped in it.  When news of the film dropped, the message board lit up with negative and suspicious comments. And ever since that went down, I’ve been extremely conscious of how I approach the film, and making sure I “keep it real.”

Well, one of the best dudes at keeping it real, especially in the world of underground metal, is Richard Johnson, the “Grindfather.”  Agoraphobic Nosebleed was one of the first truly underground metal bands I got in to.  ‘Altered States of America’ was a life-changing record for me, and Enemy Soil is the shit too.  He’s been writing about and creating extreme music for over two decades, and he’s one of the most knowledgeable people you could ever talk to about music.

I first met Richard at MDF 2009.  His band ‘Drugs of Faith’ played on the second day, and our producer Curran Reynolds introduced us.  We chatted a bit, and I later contacted Richard to get his approval for the use of a clip of him from the fest.  That first correspondence began a series of emails that led to phone calls and serious discussion of the MDF film and underground music and music in general.  Richard gave up honest feedback about the various cuts of the film I was showing him, and that feedback began to help shape the movie. As I began to rely on Richard’s thoughts and suggestions, I invited him to co-produce the film and luckily for me, and the people who are going to watch this film, he said yes.

As the fine-tuning of the film continues, Richard and I continue to collaborate on the footage and cut of this enormous undertaking.  We want to make the bands happy, and the fans happy and make a unique and groundbreaking film about the best music in the world.  If you’ve ever been to Maryland Deathfest, you can understand the kind of pressure I feel in creating a film about such a special and important festival.

Honestly, I’m happy just to have gone and filmed and pulled the whole damn thing off.  But if fans can connect with film, and if we’ve managed to even capture ten-percent of the energy and ethos of MDF, I think we’re going to have a really great movie on our hands…and if ‘The Grindfather’ likes it, well, you know it has to be good!

World Premiere of “Maryland Deathfest: The Movie” Confirmed for Maryland Deathfest 8; Brand New Trailer Online Now

Posted in Uncategorized on February 4, 2010 by hndshkinc

World Premiere of “Maryland Deathfest: The Movie” Confirmed for Maryland Deathfest 8; Brand New Trailer Online Now

The world premiere screening of “Maryland Deathfest: The Movie” is scheduled for Maryland Deathfest 8, May 28-30, 2010 at Sonar in Baltimore, Maryland.  The film will be shown in a special screening tent and will run continuously throughout the three days of the festival.

“Maryland Deathfest: The Movie” is director David Hall’s official feature-length documentary film that chronicles all the music and mayhem of last year’s festival, Maryland Deathfest 7.  The film features live footage of Napalm Death, Brutal Truth, Absu, Pig Destroyer, and dozens of other bands, as well as exclusive interview footage with an array of band members and metal luminaries, conducted by Landmine Marathon frontwoman Grace Perry.

A brand new trailer for “Maryland Deathfest: The Movie” can now be viewed here:

“Maryland Deathfest: The Movie” is the brainchild of director David Hall and his production company, Handshake Inc.  Hall and Handshake Inc are best known for Axis of Eden: The Movie, a feature film based upon Today Is The Day’s Axis of Eden album, and for Disgorge, Mexico: The Movie, a feature film based upon Fuck The Facts’ Disgorge Mexico album.  Hall and Handshake Inc have also created music videos for such bands as Jucifer, Sigh and Hail of Bullets.

Co-producer on “Maryland Deathfest: The Movie” is Agoraphobic Nosebleed’s Richard Johnson.

“The world better make room for a new incredibly talented filmmaker named David Hall.”

-Steve Austin, Today Is The Day

Welcome to the Maryland Deathfest The Movie Blog

Posted in Uncategorized on February 2, 2010 by hndshkinc

This is the official blog of the producers of Maryland Deathfest The Movie; the film that is being made about Maryland Deathfest 2009.  We are currently in post-production and so far, the film is looking amazing.  I honestly did not know what to expect when the ten of us from Handshake Inc., drove down to Baltimore from London, Ontario, Canada to film the three day underground metal festival.  I knew going in that I wanted to produce a gritty and hyper-real documentary about the fest that would include performances from all bands who wanted to take part, and I knew I wanted this film to be a testament to the energy and philosophy and sound of the scene.  I gave the camera operators the instruction to just go out there and live it and feel it and take some beautiful pictures.  And they did.  This film is going to look like no other metal film ever made.  Watching the movie is like being at the festival.  And now, eight months later, as I approach finalizing the rough cut of the film, I’m still not sick of watching the performances, interviews and material we captured for this movie.

As we continue through the final leg of producing this film, myself and the other producers and crew involved with the production will post blogs and recall their memories of MDF 2009, shooting the film, how the final cut is shaping up, and any other adventures we’ve encountered on the way.  Thanks for reading and see you at MDF 2010

David Hall – producer/director