Places, everyone. Cue the lights. Everyone to their spots. It’s time to meet two more of Maine’s best and brightest filmmakers:

KYLE RANKIN, Cocksure Entertainment,
www.newbornpix.com

If there’s such a thing as a big dog in Maine filmmaking, it’s Rankin. He and his erstwhile partner, Efram Potelle, brought the Portland scene to national attention when they were chosen as the season two winners/victims of the HBO “Project Greenlight” contest/series.

(If I may be allowed, the whole “Project Greenlight” thing was a mixed blessing; sure, it was nice for Damon/Affleck to throw a million at aspiring filmmakers, but the need for drama in the attendant reality show made sure that those filmmakers were undermined at every turn in the name of “sexy” conflict. Infuriating.)

But Rankin and Potelle’s Newborn Pictures produced witty, low-budget flicks before the outside world ever tried to exploit them, like “Pennyweight” and “They Came to Attack Us.” The pair emerged largely intact from the “Greenlight”-funded “The Battle of Shaker Heights” (starring the young Shia LeBeouf).

Now Rankin’s on his own (although he assures that he and Potelle are still buddies), with the SyFy-debuted horror comedy “Infestation” and the upcoming post-apocalyptic thriller “Nuclear Family.”

Rankin shot the latter film in California, explaining that “Maine was an awesome place to start my film career and I look forward to returning there with a big budget once the state government passes better tax incentives.”

ERIC BAILEY, Munjoyful Productions,
www.vimeo.com/offair

An alumnus of the Maine Studios (www.mainefilmstudios.com/index.php), Bailey is also a former employee of WMTW in Portland. What effect did that have on him? Well, perhaps attending the premiere of the pilot episode of Bailey’s news station-set sitcom “Off-Air” will answer that.

According to Bailey, the pilot episode follows the on- and off-air employees of a “bottom-feeding local TV news station in Portland” as it deals with the (presumably) wacky turmoil of changes intended to increase their dismal ratings. (Bailey asserts that, while his work experience informed his new project, none of the characters or situations reflect actual people or events.)

Bailey’s first film project, “Off-Air” mines the same fertile workplace comedy ground as such classics as “NewsRadio,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Sports Night,” and stars Bailey and a cast of notable Portland actors and comedians.

It will air on CTN, (Portland’s cable access channel 5) following its world premiere party at the Maine Studios on June 18, which is open to the public and promises food, “On-Air”-themed homemade beer and saucy local humor.

Dennis Perkins is a Portland freelance writer.