Putty Hill

2010 Drama

An unexpected death brings together a disjointed community of family, friends, and casual acquaintances in this independent drama from filmmaker Matt Porterfield. Putty Hill is a working-class neighborhood in Baltimore that has seen better days; the economic downturn has hit the town hard, and many of the area's young people seem to have little in the way of ambition or a future. Cory was a young man from Putty Hill who has died of a heroin overdose; while it seems that everyone knew him, no one knew him very well -- not even his family, who had fallen out of contact with him as his drug use increased. Despite that, Cory's family and circle of friends come together for his funeral, and in the day leading up to the memorial, people gather in the neighborhood hangouts to remember who they've lost and talk about their own lives and where they want to go. A semi-improvised project created when another film by Porterfield fell apart during pre-production, Putty Hill received its world premiere at the 2010 South by Southwest Film Festival. more..

Director: Matthew Porterfield

Starring: Sky Ferreira, Zoe Vance, James Siebor, Dustin Ray, Charles Sauers


  • Putty Hill makes no statement. It looks. It looks with as much perception and sympathy as it is possible for a film to look. It is surprisingly effective.

    Roger Ebert - The Chicago Sun-Times

    27 April 2013

  • Putty Hill doesn't strive for overt social commentary. It drops you into a world that the director, who grew up in the area, knows firsthand: a suburban fringe of stasis, downward mobility and lowered expectations.

    Stephen Holden - The New York Times

    27 April 2013

  • A deeply felt evocation of a place and a people by writer-director Matt Porterfield, who set this largely improvised film in his own lower-class Baltimore neighborhood.

    Kyle Smith - New York Post

    27 April 2013

  • Porterfield intersperses these delicately underplayed scenes with doc-style question-and-answer exchanges that, while initially jarring, achieve maximum cumulative impact.

    Mark Holcomb - Village Voice

    27 April 2013

  • The movie is a sharply observed if formally bloated addition to the canon of visceral tales from the Baltimore city - if "tale" is the right word for a movie that puts so much energy into the avoidance of plot.

    Ella Taylor - NPR

    27 April 2013


  • Matthew Porterfield

    Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema (2010)