My second film was made from a 5-page scenario rather than a screenplay. It combined techniques of documentary and fiction and allowed for more improvisation from my non-professional cast. According to the Maryland Film Festival program notes, "the film's central thread comes from a group of friends and family preparing for the wake of Cory, a Baltimore man whose life was taken by a heroin overdose. As characters reconnect and mourn, many are interviewed by an off-screen voice about who they are and how they live, bringing the narrative into points of intersection with documentary and experimental film. Skate parks, living-room tattoo parlors, paint-gun melees, and karaoke bars provide the visually stunning backdrop for a chorus of scarred but dignified voices calling out for better lives. As with HAMILTON, neighborhood is another integral thread, weaving us through uniquely Baltimorean rural spaces on the edges of our urban experience."
Made possible with a grant from IFP and Panasonic, shot for $18K, PUTTY HILL premiered at the 2010 International Forum of New Cinema in Berlin. It won "Best Picture" at the Santiago Festival Internacional de Cine, the Festival International du Film de La Roche-sur-Yon, the Festivala Autorskog Filma in Belgrade and the Atlanta Film Festival, as well as the Cinema Eye Honors Award for Nonfiction Filmmaking from The Museum of the Moving Image and Filmmaker Magazine. In 2012, PUTTY HILL was included in the Whitney Biennial. MoMA acquired the film for its permanent collection in 2013.