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Maine International Film Festival launches winter film series

January 8, 2009

By Amy Calder
Central Maine Morning Sentinel
January 06, 2009
WATERVILLE - Lovers of the Maine International Film Festival need not go through withdrawal this winter: the festival launches its winter film series on Saturday.
The films will be shown at 10 a.m. on several Saturdays and Sundays at Railroad Square Cinema, starting this Saturday and ending March 22.
The "MIFF in the Morning 2009" winter series helps raise funds for the annual film festival held for the last 11 years in the summer at both Railroad Square and the Waterville Opera House.
"It keeps the film festival kind of in people's minds instead of just 10 days in July," said Alan Sanborn, a programmer for both Railroad Square and the film festivals. "It raises money for the film festival, and the film buffs in the area get to see some films they otherwise would not get to see."
The winter series of six films begins Saturday and Sunday with "Dalai Lama Renaissance," a movie about more than 40 intellectuals from the U.S., Europe and Asia who go to India to see the Dalai Lama.
"There are a lot of heavy-powered thinkers who meet with the Dalai Lama and think about the world's problems," Sanborn said Tuesday.
Showing January 24 and 25 is "The Silence Before Bach," the only winter film offering that already has been shown at the summer film festival. It was one of the biggest surprise hits of last year's event, Sanborn said.
The film is a series of vignettes that include dramatic narratives, historical recreations and documentaries; it was extremely popular at MIFF, Sanborn said.
"I think we had three screenings and every screening sold out," he said.
"El Bano Del Papa (The Pope's Toilet)" shows Feb. 7 and 8. Set in 1988 in Uruguay, the film tells the story of the hardscrabble town of Melo on the Brazilian border which awaits a visit from Pope John Paul II. Beto, a smuggler, thinks he can earn some money by building a restroom in front of his house to accommodate the 50,000 people expected to converge on the town.
"It's an excellent film," Sanborn said. "It's amusing in places and entertaining and it's gorgeous up in the mountains."
"Trouble the Water" is scheduled for Feb. 21 and 22. It is a documentary about a couple who survive Hurricane Katrina, trapped in their attic, and they film much of their ordeal.
"It's pretty powerful," Sanborn said. "It got a lot of buzz, and our hope is that it will get an Academy Award nomination for Feature Documentary."
The film actually will show at Railroad Square the morning of day the Academy Awards are held in Hollywood.
On March 7 and 8 "The Third Man," a classic movie filmed in Vienna, Austria, about 60 years ago, will be shown. The film, featuring Orson Welles, Trevor Howard, Alida Valli and Joseph Cotten, was chosen by the American Film Institute as the fifth-best mystery film of all time.
The last film of the series is "Huey: The Evolution of a Maine Filmmaker," to be shown March 21 and 22.
Longtime director of the Maine Student Film and Video Festival, Huey Coleman will be on hand to show clips from some of his past works, as well as from those in progress.
"(Huey) has been a really big influence on lots of young filmmakers in Maine," Sanborn said.
Amy Calder - 861-9247
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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