KahBang is here!

(That’s just fun to say.)

Yup, the Bangor-based music, art and film festival returns Friday and runs through Aug. 13. It’s the second year that KahBang has included films, and I checked with founder Josh Whinery about how last year’s festival went, what’s on tap this time around and how this young KahBang Film has evolved.

KahBang’s roster of films (kahbang.com/film) is slightly smaller than last year’s, a change Whinery explains as a refinement of the festival’s mission.

“It wasn’t intentional,” he said, “we just wanted to screen the best of the best. We wanted to add a few more categories, went heavier into indie comedies, music documentaries and up-and-coming filmmakers, and really showcase those. It’s slightly smaller, but there’s more of a selection.”

Showcasing its new direction, KahBang features film categories such as “Gen-Next” (for those up-and-coming filmmakers), “LMFAO” (Twitterers will understand that this is where the indie comedies live), “Music Docs,” “Short Cuts” (for short films) and “MaineStream” (for Maine-made films).


Whinery’s got effusive praise for all the films on the schedule this year. He’s especially excited for attendees to see the thriller “The Deposition”; the opening-night documentary “Bob and the Monster,” about the addiction battle and comeback of Thelonious Monster frontman Bob Forrest; and the stirring and hilarious “Dying to Do Letterman,” about comedian Steve Mazan’s quest to appear on “The Late Show with David Letterman” before a diagnosis of liver cancer can stop him.

Barry Dodd’s webseries “Ragged Isle,” this year’s lone entry in the “MaineStream” category, points to KahBang’s evolution.

“A number of festivals have cropped up for Maine talent, so we wanted to showcase the newest, freshest, most innovative thing on the scene this year,” Whinery said.

“And ‘Ragged Isle’ — what an effort by Barry. Look at the production value, creativity, cinematography — he’s a true indie artist.

“That’s the plan for the future, to focus on the one big thing in Maine. We had some great Maine submissions, but ‘Ragged Isle’ really set itself apart.”

In addition, KahBang has introduced two out-of-competition categories designed seemingly just to delight the true film fan: “Murray vs. Murray,” setting three Bill Murray movies head to head to head, and “So Bad It’s Good,” where anti-classics are trotted out for nostalgic mockery. This year, it’s “Over the Top,” “Roadhouse” and “Starship Troopers.”


“We wanted to make something fun for everyone,” Whinery said. “We saw these films as kids and, looking back now, it’s fun to watch them again and see how awful, and great, they are.”

And as for KahBang’s Bill Murray worship?

“We just love Bill Murray,” he said. “The joke every year will be that he’s too busy to attend.”

KahBang drew more than 900 people to the film festival last year, and hopes are high this year.

“The first year was just about getting started and hoping that people showed up,” Whinery said.

“This year, we wanted to mix it up and find our niche in the festival circuit in Maine.”

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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