After a two-year hiatus, Friends of Casco Bay is reviving its Cinematic Celebration, this year featuring 12 films it hopes will encourage viewers to become advocates for the health of the bay and for the environment in general.

“There are a lot of reasons to feel kind of hopeless about the state of the environment right now … we hope to both reinvigorate people’s connection to the environment and instill some hope,” said Robby Lewis-Nash of Friends of Casco Bay. 

“Northern Comfort” by Mainers Will Ballou Caswell and Sam Ballou Caswell is billed as “a slice of beautiful simplicity and connection to the Earth.” The film about a maple sugar operation is part of the Cinematic Celebration. Contributed

He also hopes Saturday’s event will bring people closer to the work of the organization. “It will be a big group of people who are excited about the environment, about these films and about the bay,” he said.

While Casco Bay’s shoreline only encompasses 3% of the landmass of Maine, one of every five Mainers lives in the Casco Bay watershed, Lewis-Nash said. The bay also supports about 18,500 jobs, from fishing and agriculture to shipping and tourism.

The Maine Outdoor Film Festival curated the films, which will be shown from 3-6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Center, as well as online. Tickets are $30.

The films focus on people’s connection to the natural environment and work being done to better it, and they cover a range of topics, including a maple sugar shack operation in Bethel, an 83-year-old Appalachian Trail hiker and the restoration of fish passage around historic dams on Cobbossee Stream in Gardiner.  


Friends of Casco Bay Executive Director Will Everitt said he wants to “get people excited to make a difference locally.”

The organization collects continuous data on the bay, which is used to determine how its waters are changing. As climate change worsens, the bay’s sea levels and water temperatures rise, and its levels of acidity become more harmful, Everitt said.

While the global issue of climate change is daunting, “we have a chance to stop more pollution from going into the bay, which helps us take on the bigger issue of climate change,” he said.

He said he hopes the Cinematic Celebration inspires audiences, rather than discourage them.

The longest film featured tells the story of resistance to Arctic oil drilling in the Refuge and Yukon Flats along the Yukon River, which threatens Indigenous communities. The documentary follows the fight led by Indigenous women to defend sacred homelands and reclaim Indigenous identity.

“It will be an afternoon of watching some fun, funny and inspiring films,” Everitt said, along with the opportunity to “mingle with other folks who love our coastal waters.”

The in-person event will include snacks, a cash bar and a raffle with items ranging from gift cards to local places, hats and jackets and a private boat cruise on Casco Bay. All proceeds support Friends of Casco Bay’s work.

Ticket information and more details about the event can be found at

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