The Maine filmmaking scene is thriving. Let’s discover some of the reasons why in the first part of an ongoing series where we meet Maine’s best and brightest:

ALLEN BALDWIN: STRONGPAW PRODUCTIONS (www.strongpawproductions.com)

Baldwin’s first film, the Portland-set indie comedy ‘Twelve Steps Outside” (2002), can be rented locally at Videoport. His second feature, also a Portland-set indie comedy, “Up Up Down Down,” had its first test screening this past winter. He is currently submitting it to several film festivals.

Baldwin’s got several screenplays for his third feature cooking, and is working on a short horror film for this fall’s “Damnationland” horror film festival (watch this column for more details).

He has this to say about the Maine movie scene: “I’m embarking on a venture to create a production company in Portland (alongside local filmmaker David Meiklejohn) that creates quality independent films but maintains the healthy DIY attitude of the traditional Maine artist. Our goal is to act entirely in support of film as art, and to walk to work every day to do it.”

 

ALLEN COGNATA (www. theputtputtsyndrome.com)

Cognata’s directorial debut, “The Putt Putt Syndrome,” shot in Winthrop (where Cognata lives), Lewiston and Manchester, stars local talent alongside Hollywood stars such as Jason London (“Dazed and Confused”) and “Scrubs” actor Robert “The Todd” Maschio. The film premieres at the Connecticut Film Festival this month, and has been submitted to the KahBang Film Festival.

On the Maine scene: Cognata was planning to shoot in Massachusetts “because they offer a 25 percent tax incentive package,” but is glad he decided to shoot in Maine and that “the community embraced us.”

SHAWN FRENCH: WISDUMB PRODUCTIONS (thewronghousemovie.com)

French’s first movie, the Maine-set horror film “The Wrong House,” will premiere at the Nickelodeon in Portland at 7 p.m. May 20, and will be available nationally on DVD the day after. He has another horror film planned for 2011.

On the Maine scene: “Wisdumb Productions is focused on bringing great stories to life, in any genre.”

KATE KAMINSKI and BETSY CARSON: GOTGO PRODUCTIONS/ALL ART MEDIA INC. (www.willardbeach.tv and www.allartmedia.com)

Kaminski and Carson have been making movies since 1992, including the features “(I’m Living) A Charmed Life” (2000) and “The Barghest” (2001). They’re collaborating on the Maine-set Web series “Willard Beach,” and are working on a horror short for this fall’s “Damnationland” film fest.

On filmmaking: “Our filmmaking philosophy is to provide an alternative to mainstream, commercial entertainment. Our micro-budget films and outsider vision place us on the fringe of the Maine media community; nevertheless, we maintain an unswerving commitment to professional presentation and nobody tells us what kind of movies to make.”

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.