Gas up the car, film fans, it’s time for a road trip.

The Lewiston Auburn Film Festival is just around the corner (or rather, just about 45 minutes up I-95), opening April 2 with a rich inaugural crop of local and international films and yet another welcome outlet for Maine’s filmmakers and movie fanatics to come together. To get the scoop on Maine’s newest film festival, I spoke via e-mail with Molly McGill, LAFF board member and communications director.

McGill said LAFF’s birth has a threefold purpose: to bring something new and exciting to the Lewiston-Auburn community; to promote the arts (as the area has not been exposed to high-caliber independent film on a festival level); and to bring visitors to the Lewiston-Auburn community and share how that community is changing.

As part of the third goal, LAFF is eschewing theater screenings in favor of nontraditional viewing venues at L-A landmarks and businesses such as Fishbones American Grill, Holly’s Own Deli, Hilton Garden Inn, Auburn Riverwatch, both Auburn and Lewiston public libraries, the Franco-American Heritage Center and others in order to, as McGill explains, “help promote some of our wonderful downtown establishments” and “expose people to our community. This is a real community-based festival.”

When asked if any of LAFF’s lineup stood out to her, McGill said: “There are just too many to mention, and all so different and poignant in their own ways.” But she did go on to mention a few (you can check out the entire roster of films and venues at

“PAL Hops Days” — “A documentary based on the ’50s and ’60s musical phenomenon that occurred at Lewiston City Hall.”

“Blondes in the Jungle” — “A creative and humorous film set in the Honduras jungle where a group of teenagers set out to find the fountain of youth.”

“The Empress” — “A great animated film about the pangs of love that is incredibly touching and moving.”

“Cat Window” by Craig Saddlemire and “Motion Picture” by Taylor McIntosh — Both locally made and described as “amazing experimental films that look at life through a different lens, making the viewer reflect about how we perceive reality.”

The Maine International Film Festival, the KahBang Film Festival, the Maine Jewish Film Festival, the Portland Maine International Film Festival, the Camden International Film Festival and more — and now LAFF. Can Maine support another film fest? McGill sure thinks so.

“If we can bring independent film here to our community, a community that might not otherwise have been exposed to it, then we are helping to facilitate this wonderful art form and garner the filmmakers the respect and audience they deserve,” she said.


Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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