For a state 3,000 miles from Hollywood, Maine’s doing all right in the film festival department with the Maine International Film Festival, Maine African Film Festival, Maine Jewish Film Festival and Camden International Film Festival.

And now there’s KahBang.

Founded just last year in Bangor (get it?), the KahBang festival (Aug. 6-14) is the creation of a group of young Bangor natives, including founder/co-director Josh Whinery, who decided that a “cutting-edge indie festival” was what his region lacked.

After the welcome success of the 2009 music-only festival, Whinery and his cohort have expanded KahBang to include both art and film in the festivities this year.

Maine film, to be exact.

Whinery explains that, in addition to best short, documentary, experimental and first films, KahBang offers a category called “Maine on Main,” “so Maine filmmakers will have their own category, which will highlight the best of the best in our state. This industry has so much potential, it will be great to showcase the talent we have here,” he said.

Whinery says that out of the 50 or so films submitted to KahBang so far, a dozen are from Maine, but the organizers stress that there’s room remaining for Maine filmmakers to submit and be seen.

In fact, the deadline for film submissions has been extended to June 21 (submission guidelines can be found at

Of course, KahBang’s the new kid on the block, and while the Maine International Film Festival (now entering its 13th year) can boast past participants like John Turturro, Ed Harris, Arthur Penn and others, Whinery concedes that KahBang cannot, as yet, promise celebrity guests.

But he promises that “some of the filmmakers with films in the festival will make appearances, as well as some very good discussion-panel guests.”

Those participants will be announced in July.

As someone who’s gotten to know the Maine film scene and the hustling, creative men and women in it, I know how committed those filmmakers, and the people who appreciate them, are. So does Whinery.

“We all work on KahBang because we love it,” he said. “We love what it can be, and we see the potential it has in the Bangor area. Festivals stimulate the local economy and eventually the state as a whole. The whole goal of KahBang is to discover artists at the beginning of their journey to greatness.”

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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