Notice to local filmmakers: Getting your work shown in public just got a little bit easier.

The St. Lawrence Arts Center (76 Congress St., Portland) is about to swell the ranks of Portland venues — such as the Nickelodeon, Space Gallery and Geno’s — that are eager to spotlight Maine-made movies with the start of a new local film series on June 17.

First up is “Rated Local,” an excitingly eclectic collection of shorts from local directors David Meiklejohn, David Camlin, Derek Kimball, Petra Simmons and others, which, according to St. Lawrence theater manager and screening series founder Whitney McDorr, will be the first in a monthly run of Maine movies.

“I was inspired by local film events like the rooftop movie series,” said McDorr, “and originally I wanted to show classic and cult films, but, for a nonprofit like us, the distribution costs were prohibitive.

“I really thought the community of the East End would respond to a monthly movie night, so I asked around for ideas and Eddy Bolz (one of the organizers of ‘Rated Local’ and ‘Damnationland’) suggested local films. I have to confess that once I thought of doing local movies, it seemed brilliant.”

With films shown via digital projector on a 12-by-24-foot screen on the theater stage and a selection of beer, wine and light snacks for patrons, the St. Lawrence promises to be an appropriately funky and unique venue for Maine moviemakers to show their wares. And, with a very reasonable $5 admission and seating for 110, Portland’s film fans will find it easy to check out the best the Maine film community has to offer.

As to that, McDorr is throwing the field wide open to local directors for the July entry.

“I’d love to take submissions from local filmmakers,” McDorr said. “We’re open to whatever. It would be great to start with shorts shown paired together, but really anyone interested should contact us as soon as possible.” (Interested parties should send an email to [email protected] or call 347-3075).

Echoing those of us excited about the growing Maine moviemaking community, McDorr added, “What has stood out to me since trying to create a local monthly screening here is how extremely helpful, accepting and wise the people involved in Portland’s local film network have been in helping me get this going. I look forward to meeting new filmmakers and producers in the Portland area, and helping them showcase their craft.”

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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