July 12, 2013

Maine International Film Festival stirs anticipation as previews start to roll

Films of Keith Carradine, Jonathan Demme and Robert Altman among those to be featured during the festival's 10-day run, starting July 12

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE — The Maine Film Festival is still two weeks away, but Mary Carpinito is already excited.

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Sam Ranger, center, romes the aisles at the Waterville Opera House as the Maine International Film Festival mascott Dragon as film goers take their seats before the showing of Vacationland on July 13, 2012. The film festival returns to Waterville on July 12.

Staff file photo by Michael G. Seamans

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Shannon Haines

Staff file photo by David Leaming

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What: Maine International Film Festival

Where: Railroad Square Cinema, Waterville Opera House

When: July 12-21

For information and tickets: www.miff.org; 207- 861-8138

The co-owner of the downtown eatery Amici's Cucina, Carpinito knows full well the impact the annual event has on the city.

"We definitely get a lot of business from it," said Carpinito, who will host two festival receptions at the restaurant. "The more business we have in downtown Waterville, the better off we all are."

Aside from being an economic boost, the festival starting July 12 creates a flurry of excitement during its 10-day run as thousands of film enthusiasts from around the world gather at both Railroad Square Cinema and the Waterville Opera House to view 100 independent American and foreign films.

They stay at area hotels, eat at local restaurants and shop locally. Carpinito said she sees a dramatic increase in business during the festival run.

A restaurant patron from Oklahoma was in town during a prior festival, learned about it and is returning this year to attend, according to Carpinito.

"The people that come are wonderful," she said. "We have extra staff on hand. We prepare for it."

Christian Savage, program assistant at the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, said his organization sees a huge influx of visitors to the Waterville area during the festival. They not only sleep, shop and eat here, they also take advantage of recreational activities, both in and outside of Waterville during their stay.

"It definitely benefits the entire region," Savage said.

Actors, film directors, writers and producers share their craft with audiences in various festival venues, including public receptions and question-and-answer sessions before and after movie screenings.

Festival Executive Director Shannon Haines is on the home stretch as the festival nears, finalizing schedules for about 50 visiting filmmakers and wrapping up other details.

"I know I say this every year, but it feels like one of the most exciting festivals to date," she said.

The festival is a project of the Maine Film Center, of which Haines also is executive director, and is sponsored by Colby College and Bangor Savings Bank.

Carradine honored

Keith Carradine, actor, producer and songwriter, will receive the festival's 2013 Mid-Life Achievement Award.

The award ceremony will be 6:30 p.m., July 15, at the Waterville Opera House and will coincide with a screening of Carradine's 1976 film, "Nashville."

Carradine won both an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Song, with "I'm Easy," which was featured in the film. He was nominated for a Tony Award this year for his role in the Broadway show, "Hands on a Hardbody."

Other Carradine films to be showcased during the festival are "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" and "Thieves Like Us."

Honoring Carradine also has been a longtime goal of festival officials. He is a great actor, whose music is nearly as important to him as his acting, according to festival programmer Ken Eisen.

"His new film, 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints,' is a wonderful film," he said.

Mid-Life Achievement winners include Ed Harris, Sissy Spacek, Lili Taylor, John Turturro, Peter Fonda, Jonathan Demme, Thelma Schoonmaker, Terrence Malick, Malcolm McDowell, Jay Cocks, Bud Cort, Walter Hill and Jos Stelling.

Carradine's appearance will accompany a festival highlight honoring the late director Robert Altman, "Celebrating Robert Altman."

Altman's widow, Kathryn, as well as Carradine and other actors who appeared in Altman's films — Michael Murphy, Allan Nicholls and Mike Kaplan — will introduce and discuss Altman's films.

"He is one of the greatest directors of all time, and to be able to celebrate him in this way is a huge honor for us," Haines said.

Altman films to be shown include "Short Cuts," "Luck," "Trust & Ketchup: Robert Altman in Carver Country," "McCabe and Mrs. Miller," "Kansas City," and "A Prairie Home Companion."

(Continued on page 2)

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Keith Carradine

AP file photo

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Jonathan Demme

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