Filmmakers often say that their latest project is the culmination of a dream. For Buxton’s Brooke Grondin, that’s doubly true. 

“I’m a lucid dreamer,” explained Grondin, whose planned, Maine-made and Maine-set series “The City of Children” is currently in pre-production. “For the last 20 years or so, there are maybe four dreams I don’t remember. The other hundreds of dreams are so vivid, I could draw them for you.” 

Brooke Grondin’s lucid dreams led her to create “The City of Children.” Photos courtesy of Brooke Grondin 

For Grondin, “The City of Children” is the dream that never ended, as she says that she’s revisited that same strange and dystopian landscape off and on for the past seven years.

“Another scene would occur, and I’d write it down. I have a box that I kept all these papers in, and I’d sew them together with extra scenes. Ultimately, I felt this unquenchable urge to write it all down,” she said. “I knew the story had to be told.”

That dream is now creeping even closer to reality, as Grondin is currently casting what she plans to be a multi-season series, and seeking funding through the series’ website ( to film the pilot, right here in Maine. As anybody who really knows Maine will tell you, there’s plenty of varied and cinematically stunning terrain to choose from in the state, and Grondin hopes to shoot the Buxton-set story right there in her own neighborhood, with necessary forays to some other, plot-specific Maine locations. 

The series’ story is, like all the best dreams, still locked inside the dreamer’s head, with Grondin being especially cagey about what potential viewers can expect. What we do know is appropriately nightmarish, though. Set in 2021, the story begins with a group of high schoolers heading into the mountains for a survival trip, only to return to a hometown inexplicably changed.


“There’s an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) that shuts down their town,” explained Grondin, “all so a regime can roll in overnight and take over.” From there, Grondin is willing to share only a tantalizing few details: a dystopian world, a city of ice and snow, a time-jump of 20 years where the now-grown students set out on a journey to discover why and where all the town’s children have been taken. 

Hints Grondin, “What I will say is that all the electronics in the outside world are not shut down – the extreme opposite. The children have been taken somewhere and are very much alive, and we discover why the people in the town haven’t been able to fight back, thanks to something that’s allowed them to be oppressed for so long.”

“The City of Children” is a Maine-set series in pre-production.

So far, so dystopian, with Grondin citing comparisons to such popular sci-fi/fantasy franchises as “Game of Thrones” and “The Hunger Games” for reference. As for the nature of the crisis that kicks off her protagonists’ arduous and mysterious journey, Grondin remains circumspect, only stating that her tale “wasn’t inspired by some event in the real world,” and that the series would take full advantage of everything Maine has to offer, location-wise. 

“The whole world wants to leave Buxton and journey up north,” said Grondin, noting her plans to shoot in Acadia National Park and elsewhere – right in the heart of a Maine winter (see: “city of ice and snow”). In addition, Grondin’s plans include approaching Maine towns (expect a call, Buxton town meeting) for both extras casting and some Maine-specific product placement, as her beleaguered heroes promise to scavenge up some Maine-made products in their adventures. The series’ website promises onscreen business and product integration for donors, with Grondin saying, “We want all Maine businesses to be seen, heard, and talked about – if not, (the heroes) will just have to take stuff from the rest of the outside world.” 

It’s a big undertaking. (Grondin estimates the pilot will require a budget over $100,000.) But, learning about Grondin’s story, you get the sense that the Warren-born first-time filmmaker knows how to get things done. Explaining how she spent her own high school years homeless on the streets of Portland, making a meager living cooking at various Portland eateries, Grondin touts her ability to persevere, eventually becoming a renowned chef. Now, she says, it’s finally time to turn her literal dream into tangible reality.

“Life took a different turn. I had kids, got a house by the river, and now I’ve got to write what I’ve been dreaming about for the last seven years.”


“The City of Children’s” webpage includes testimonials from her cast of up-and-coming actors (look for IMDb credits on everything from “Blue Bloods” to “Sons of Anarchy”), all of whom go on at length about their excitement at making Grondin’s dream come true. Grondin herself isn’t shy about claiming that it was the quality of her script that lured from-away professional actors and what she claims is a major distributor to her vision. 

“I told the world about my series, and they flocked to it,” is how Grondin puts it, explaining, “They asked, pleaded to be on it, with some sending emails saying, ‘Please tell me there’s still space.’ ” As for the next steps, Grondin is already hard at work on her second series, a lower-budgeted, Christian-themed project titled “Hall of Faith,” which follows a similarly dystopian theme, and perhaps provides some clues as to the plot of “The City of Children.” As Grondin puts it about her protagonists’ series-long journey, “The real answer is more spiritual. I prayed to God whether to make this now, and all the credit goes to him to lift it up to where he wants it to be.” 

Still, earthy inspiration plays a big part in Grondin’s journey, too, as she says of her own dream project, “I want people to know that, whatever your circumstance currently is, there is a future and a hope to do something more and to follow your dreams in the end. I slept in Deering Oaks Park in the winter, rose to be a master chef, and resigned from that to follow this.” Concludes the lucid dreamer and aspiring filmmaker, “I want to help put the spark of hope in other people to follow their dreams.”

You can learn more about “The City of Children” (including how to donate) at the series’ website and its Instagram page. 

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