I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again now: “Damnationland” is kind of a big deal.

“Damnationland: The Way Life Should Bleed” is the brainchild of co-organizers/local film impresarios Eddy Bolz and Allen Baldwin, who last year had the mad scientist-worthy idea to put together an annual all-Maine horror anthology film that featured short films from a disparate roster of professional local directors.

It paid off.

Showing in a half-dozen Maine theaters last year around Halloween, the inaugural “Damnationland” drew impressive crowds, sold a healthy number of DVDs, and introduced Maine moviegoers to some of the best talent — both on and off the screen — that our filmmaking community has to offer. And now it’s back.

“Damnationland 2011” premieres at the Nickelodeon Cinema (patriotcinemas.com/nickelodeon.html) tonight with five brand-new, set-in-Maine tales of terror from a (mostly) new set of filmmakers. “We kind of went out of our way to find new people this year,” said Bolz. “We’re just looking for people who are talented; our goal is to get new filmmakers every year.”

This year’s lineup includes:

Derek Kimball — Director of the award-winning short “The Bully,” he brings us “Are You the Walkers?,” a supernatural tale of two friends trapped at an isolated Maine cabin by a blizzard and the things that lurk out in the darkness. The trailer (vimeo.com/23979113) looks great.

Jeff Griecci — The one returning filmmaker from last year’s “Damnationland” (the excellent “A Bell in the Yard”) contributes “Telephoto,” which Bolz describes as “a Hitchcockian thriller, along the lines of ‘Rear Window,’ about a man seeing something he shouldn’t.”

Mike Hadley — A local artist and filmmaker (he did the poster for last year’s film) will bring the first animated horrors to “Damnationland.” According to Bolz, “They’re very short, very dark animated films that will run throughout.” (For a taste, check out a “Damnationland” teaser trailer of Hadley at work at tinyurl.com/damnationlandtrailer.)

David Meiklejohn — The director of the acclaimed documentary “My Heart Is an Idiot” contributes “Forgiveness,” a supernatural spy thriller he describes thusly: “Aly Spaltro (aka Lady Lamb the Beekeeper) plays a vengeful spy who survives an assassination attempt and then takes revenge on the man who tried to have her killed.”

Ben Kahn and Jayson Lobozzo — Described by producer Baldwin as perhaps “the most experienced filmmakers involved in ‘Damnationland,’ they craft “The Keeper.” Filmed on Seguin Island, it’s a vintage tale of a lighthouse keeper and his wife haunted by a creeping terror, all in one of the most isolated places in Maine.

This year’s “Damnationland,” fulfilling its founders’ nefarious dreams, is expanding further into Maine, with 10 separate screenings in the coming weeks, from Portland to up as far as Bangor.

And, as Bolz explains, they’re setting their nefarious sights even further next year.

“We’d love to get filmmakers from central and northern Maine involved as well. We really want to reach out; this year will be a real test.”

So come on out to the Nick and help make Maine that much freakier.

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: