Maine Mayhem is coming.

Sure, that might sound like 1) a new professional roller derby team, 2) a Ben & Jerry’s flavor with whoopie pie pieces in coffee brandy-flavored ice cream, or 3) an Avengers supervillain from Biddeford.

Instead, it’s the name of the student film festival showing at 7 p.m. today at the Nickelodeon Cinemas in Portland (patriotcinemas.com/nickelodeon.html).

“Well, the name explains what the festival is in a few ways,” explains Maine Mayhem co-executive producer Jimmy Crocco. “It takes place in May, they’re Maine-made films, ‘mayhem’ is definitely a theme (since there’s a lot of action) and, when you’re making films — especially at the student level — there’s generally a lot of mayhem involved.”

All that filmmaking mayhem is the end result of students’ hard work in Southern Maine Community College’s advanced video and audio production applications course, taught by Corey Norman (chairman of SMCC’s communications and new media department and a local filmmaker).

As part of their final, students must have a film ready to present at Maine Mayhem, now in its second year, and Norman expresses his admiration for this year’s student filmmakers and former student Crocco.

“Part of the class last year, Jimmy was the one who said we should take it to the next level and have a public screening,” said Norman. “He did so well, he came back as an executive producer. I am so incredibly proud of all the work these students have done, and the growth they’ve shown.”

Crocco, who’s now in his final year at SMCC, credits his participation in the course — and Maine Mayhem — with furthering his educational experience.

“Learning all these skills has been absolutely life-changing,” he said. “Studying under Corey and working on films with him has changed how I look at the world.”

As for the four films in this year’s Maine Mayhem? Crocco explains:

“‘Marshmallow’ (directed by Justin Lacroix) is a journey into the bizarre. A man loses his whole family and ends up squatting in an abandoned northern Maine sawmill, becomes friends with a cat, takes a lot of PCP, and things get very strange. It has a great soundtrack of original Maine-made music.

“‘Stage Delusions’ (directed by Jeff Ferguson) is an amazing special-effects piece, a superhero story about an invisible man.

“‘Vigilance’ (by director Sean Martin) is an intense crime drama.

“‘Ushers’ is a mockumentary in the style of ‘The Office’ and ‘Parks and Recreation’ about a group of theater ushers on the night of release of a ‘Twilight’-type movie.”

Crocco says this year’s Maine Mayhem film program (running about 80 minutes total) would probably get a PG-13 rating for “a decent amount of violence, aggressive language, some drug use.”

Sounds pretty mayhem-y to me.

“Marshmallow” trailer

Vigilance trailer

Ushers trailer

 

 

Dennis Perkins is a Portland freelance writer.