You’re a local low/no-budget filmmaker. You’ve written your screenplay, you’ve found your actors, your crew. You’ve bought or borrowed (or borrowed to buy) your equipment. You work around other people’s schedules and grab snatches of filming on weekends, late nights, whenever you can. You scrounge locations, pay for everything out of pocket, and hold fast to the dream against every conceivable obstacle, every doubt.

And then your movie is done.

But what happens now?

That’s the question Portland filmmaker Allen Baldwin is still trying to answer about his film “Up Up Down Down” — almost four years after he started it.

“Wow,” says a taken-aback Baldwin when asked how long ago he began his second feature. “I really can’t think of that.”

“Up Up Down Down,” an indie comedy/drama about a young couple (Erik Moody and Kristina Balbo) whose aimlessly amiable relationship is tested by an unexpected pregnancy, finally wrapped last year. Since then, it’s had its test screening at the Nickelodeon and made the festival circuit (including the KahBang and Lewiston-Auburn film festivals) to some acclaim. And on Saturday, the film will make its DVD premiere with a screening at the St. Lawrence Arts Center (

So, is that the end of the line?

“I’m done,” Baldwin said. “At, least my wife says I’m done. As I was preparing it for the DVD, she asked, ‘Does this mean you’ll never go back to editing or changing it anymore?’ and she gave me a look. She’s seen it like, 17 times. They say you’re never done with a manuscript until the editor pries it from your hands. It’s been a lot of time and effort, and I always think I might be able to make it better, but it’s time to move on.”

That highlights a hidden, final challenge for the truly independent filmmaker. “It’s a boon and a curse that there’s no producer yelling at me that it’s done,” he said.

Of course, independence also teaches another, often dispiriting lesson: “There’s a whole other business involved once the film is done. It involves a lot of selling yourself, which is not necessarily what you got into it for. You work your butt off, and now all the fun stuff is over. Now every ticket you sell is because of hitting the pavement.”

So has it all been worth it? “Ideally, we’d play at Sundance and sell for a million, but that’s sort of a myth,” Baldwin said. “The concept of doing it had to be worthwhile in and of itself. Every Portland filmmaker I know agrees, I think. At our level, it can’t be gone into with the idea that it’s going to be picked up and sold.”

Baldwin’s next move includes raising his baby daughter, Nora, writing screenplays and working on producing more (including the upcoming “Damnationland 2011”). “But,” he says, “my weekends have become so precious with (Nora) that I just can’t see giving them up shooting all night.”

As for “Up Up Down Down”? “I’ll sell the DVDs, get them into Videoport and Bull Moose,” Baldwin says. “DVD is sort of the last place a movie goes, but that’s it.”

He does concede that the film is still being submitted to festivals. It screens at the SNOB (Somewhat North of Boston) Film Festival in Concord, N.H., next week.

It seems that filmmakers just don’t give up that easily.

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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