So the closest I’ve come to a film festival – indoors or outdoors – was when triple features of Woody Allen or James Bond played at one of the drive-ins back in Connecticut. You remember drive-ins, right? How fun were they? The huge screen, the speakers (which for the most part worked fairly well) that hooked onto the car window, the treats and what not you’d bring along, pillows, blankets … Loved, loved, loved the drive-ins – who didn’t? What could be better? Mmmm, how about watching films outside? On a blanket on the grass?
The Maine Outdoor Film Festival (MOFF) now has – for the first time – a Lincoln County location for the festival: Brad and Danielle Betts’ Down East Gallery at 146 Boothbay Rd./Route 27 in Edgecomb, Thursday, Sept. 27. The couple have been fans of the Camden International Film Festival for years.
“Last year we became aware of MOFF and caught the finale showing at Sugarloaf,” said Danielle. “It was inspiring.”
MOFF was founded in 2012 by Nick Callanan, Nick Bowie and Joe Christopher. Brad and Danielle spoke with Nick Callanan at the Sugarloaf event to express their interest in hosting the festival in Lincoln County.
“We were all pretty excited about it,” said Brad. “Nick said he wanted to show the films in all 16 counties, but hadn’t been able to find a location in Lincoln County. We have a natural outdoor amphitheater here. It should be a neat place for MOFF.”
“Yeah this is the first location in Lincoln County -EVER,” Nick Callanan said.
There are 68 films in this year’s MOFF to be distributed among 16 locations. How does Nick decide which films to show in each county?
“Programming is tough. But, I’ve lived in Maine my whole life and traveled around the state. You get a sense of what they’d like in each place,” Nick said. “Plus, all of our films are awesome so you can’t go wrong!”
The 9 foot x 12-foot screen will be set up in front of the inflorescence of sunflowers behind the galleries in the 1906 house and 1904 barn.
Special guests include filmmaker Dave Weich, whose work “This Place Called Nuka – Courting Adventure in Wild Alaska,” will be shown at Down East Gallery. Film synopsis: Jeff and Angela wanted to have a camping trip that never ended, and to see if they could live off the land. So they dropped out of college to attend the school of life. They hired a boat captain to ferry them (along with kayaks, snowboards and 30,000 pounds of building materials) to a patch of spectacular wilderness tucked between a glacier and the Gulf of Alaska, 70 miles from the nearest outpost. Run time: 22:20
The film “Fly Girls” includes local Edgecomb bike enthusiast Brynna Nelson whose whole family is super keen on mountain biking. “Fly Girls,” by filmmaker Phoebe Parker, brings audiences along for the second year of the Girls Mountain Bike Camp put on by the Portland Gear Hub. “(The camp) teaches girls 10 to 14 years old about biking and mechanic skills.” (quote from MOFF website). “Fly Girls” is the Audience Winner for the 2018 Summer Broke and Stoked short outdoor film contest and recipient of a $500 prize from Three Rivers Whitewater.
The other films playing at this Lincoln County MOFF event are:
“Bailey and the Alewives” – Bailey Bowden of Penobscot unexpectedly becomes a fisheries activist to save the dwindling alewife population of the Bagaduce River Watershed. Collaborating with various organizations such as the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Bowden spearheads the construction of natural fishways in place of dams on the rivers in his community. His award-winning volunteer conservation work with alewives, a key species in the food chain, is contributing to the preservation and revival of entire ecosystems. (Video produced for Maine Coast Heritage Trust, 2018) Run time: 5:19
“After the Man” – A profile of a fishing guide in Mexico made by a group of young people in Blue Hill. Run time: 15:36
“One Week At A Time” – Over three decades, four good friends circumnavigated New England via sea kayak. We follow them on the last leg of their voyage down the Hudson to the foot of the Statue of Liberty. Run time: 11:17
“Playing On the Pinn” – Sometimes having to face something as challenging as grief can trigger healing. This film by Filmuphigh takes a personal journey to a dagger of rock on the Cuillin ridge on the Isle of Skye known as the Inaccessible Pinnacle. After the sudden loss of her mountaineering musician husband, Rachel Bolton decides not only to climb the Pinnacle but to play her fiddle to him on the top. A moving film with an original score and plenty of breathtaking and dizzying footage of Skye’s mountains. Run time: 10:50.
“Freediving the Deepest Blue Hole in the World” – At 663 feet deep, Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas is the deepest saltwater blue hole on the planet and this piece gives an inside look into the mind of the most extraordinary free divers in the world. Hundreds of feet below the ocean surface with one breath, they risk their lives to redefine what is possible. Run time: 6:21
Brad and Danielle have some fantastic pre-show events planned for MOFF fans from 5 to 7 p.m. First off, there’s the plein air art show featuring Brad’s latest divine paintings and sketches. There’ll be two CD release celebrations: Ben Betts’ first CD, “Reveling,” and Ben’s friend and former music student Persephone’s first CD “Honeyblood.” Both CD’s feature all original songs. Ben has been writing and recording his songs for a number of years here in Boothbay and Amherst, Massachusetts. Persephone wrote and performed all of the music on her CD (Ben produced the album). Both performers are multi-instrumentalists – piano, guitar, and theremin.
Expect performances by both Ben and Persephone individually and as a duo. In the meantime, give their tunes a listen on Spotify.
What’s a theremin? Why, it’s one of the earliest electronic instruments created by Léon Theremin, circa 1930. This instrument is played without actually touching it. The sound it produces has been compared to the human voice. From the How Stuff Works website: “Inside the first theremins, a circuit of vacuum tubes, oscillators, coils and wires created electromagnetic fields around the instrument's two antennae. Players fluttered their fingers and waved their hands near the antennae to raise or lower the Theremin's pitch and volume.” Intrigued? Ben’s theremin will be out and ready to play.
“When you first experience it, it’s interesting … It will respond to you whether you like it or not,” Ben said with a laugh.
Boothbay Craft Brewery will also be on the scene for the MOFF donating beer at the inaugural event. And the Two Maine Guys food truck there serving burgers, pulled pork and grilled chicken or fish tacos during the pre-show from 5-7 pm.
The Maine Outdoor Film Festival is free, but … a donation of $3 to $5 is suggested. All donations will go to the Teens To Trails program that supports Maine high school outdoor clubs. Since 2013, MOFF has raised $3,500-plus!
The first film screening will be at 7:30 p.m. Total running time is 71 minutes – not including a brief intermission, with a free door prize raffle. The Betts confirmed parking is A-OK at Edgecomb Eddy School across the street from the gallery.
So pack a picnic, or go for some of the yummy food at the Two Maine Guys truck, and a blanket or two and be at Down East Gallery for this happening event! The gallery is just a 1/2 mile south of Route 1; two miles from Wiscasset; and seven miles from downtown Newcastle-Damariscotta.