The 2010 Maine movie scene marches on with the world premiere of director Andy Davis’ “Adelle” Wednesday at the Nickelodeon on Temple Street in Portland. (And let’s hear it for the Nick, by the way. This is the third premiere of a Maine-made movie it has held in the last three months.)

The eerie, disturbing tale of an 11-year-old deaf girl (Biddeford-born Megan McNulty, who co-starred with Robin Wright Penn and Winona Ryder in “The Private Lives of Pippa Lee”). Abandoned in the wilderness of 1930s Maine, she finds herself stumbling into a world of secrets, danger, sinister circus sideshows and an equally ominous cousin of “Donnie Darko’s” bunny-man. It’s Davis’ seventh feature (his 2007 zombie opus “2” had zombies shambling into Monument Square), and he’ll be on hand to talk about “Adelle,” Maine filmmaking, and all things indie.

Despite the undeniably disturbing trailer (abandonedcinema.com/trailers.htm), Davis insists “Adelle” is not a horror film so much as “a trippy art film,” which he compares more to cult classics like “Eraserhead” and “2001: A Space Odyssey” (with a dark “Alice in Wonderland” vibe).

According to Davis, “Adelle,” like those polarizing works, “is not a typical movie. I think people who don’t like it will absolutely hate it, and people who like it will love it.”

Working with such a young actress in this intense film could have proved challenging, but Davis asserts that his star was a consummate pro. “She blows me away with her ability to be a kid and take on the long hours of the filming day with ease,” he said. “There are some very tense and creepy moments in ‘Adelle’ the tone on the set, especially with a young person around, is to make it fun.”

Davis, who cut his fangs scaring the unwary at the Haunted Mansion in Saco’s Funtown, is full of praise for his moviemaking peers (Olin Smith, Dana Packard, Richard Searles, Christian Matzke) who, like him, are making their way in Maine.

“The great thing about Maine … is that people still get excited about films,” he said. “We have a strong sense of community here.”

For Davis and “Adelle,” the Wednesday premiere is just the beginning, with the film receiving its worldwide DVD/Blu-Ray release in the fall.

 

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.