If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the Maine filmmaking community, it’s that local directors are more than prepared to help each other out. Look at the credits for any Maine movie, and you’ll see some serious overlap; a director on one film might be the director of photography on another, or the key grip, sound guy, even an actor. At the very least, they’ll show up in the “special thanks” at the end.

Maine’s not New York, nor is it L.A. If you are making films in Maine, it’s because you really want to do it, and others with the same dream seem disposed to help you out. Cooperation amongst the local film scene is helpful, heartening and necessary, and three Portland-area directors are banding together to make sure their films get seen.

Tonight is the Maine premiere of “Portland Independent Shorts,” a collection of three locally made films showing at the Nickelodeon Cinema in Portland (patriotcinemas.com/nickelodeon.html). Organized by Sean Martin, director of one of the shorts (“Time & Redemption”), the screening represents the efforts of three fledgling filmmakers combining their efforts – and their talents.

“We (Martin, Tadin Brown and Stephen Conicelli) knew we all had these shorts ready to be seen, and we wanted to premiere them,” said Martin, “so I saw if they wanted to collaborate and team up. They said yes, so I called the Nick.”

Portland’s Nickelodeon Cinema (part of the tiny Patriot Cinemas chain), has, for the last few years, been rightly known as a friend to local filmmakers. Maine directors looking to have their films shown on the big screen find the Nick’s terms pretty generous. The shorts (combining at just over an hour) will screen at 7 p.m., and tickets cost $7.

And just what will your admission get you?

“Time & Redemption,” according to director Martin, is about an 18-year-old guy who, about to leave high school, realizes that “he’s kind of a jerk.” He also realizes that a classmate is inventing a time machine. When he bullies the inventor into letting him try out the machine, “it all goes wrong, with alternate realities of his own life not being what he expected.”

“The Call,” director Stephen Conicelli explains, “is about a young man named Derek who keeps receiving phone calls from his last girlfriend, Emily. He’s been trying to move on with his life, talk to his friends, date someone new, but Emily just keeps on bothering him.”

“Speak to Me,” from director Tadin Brown, as decribed on the film’s Facebook page: “Simon is a mute. And to properly comprehend his ploy and better deal with his inability to speak, he creates in his mind a series of imaginary characters. These characters encompass his every fear, desire, and ambition and represent all that is wrong with his life. Some of these things he can change, and some of them he can’t.”

As ever, the Maine film scene offers plenty of variety.

Dennis Perkins is a Portland-based freelance writer.