Category — Camden International Film Festival

Fall in Camden

Camden from Megunticook Mountain, Opening Day.

Just about a month ago I was at the 12th annual Camden International Film Festival, now part of the Points North Institute. This is my 12th festival involved in some organizational capacity, and my 6th as a board member. At 36 that means that for a third of my life CIFF has been a part of it.

It’s hard to quite capture what this experience is like, seeing the event growing bigger and better than we ever could have imagined in the early years. For me it is a tremendous mix of pride, respect and being ever, ever humbled by the talent that keeps CIFF and Points North always evolving and pushing. It is awe at the drive and courage of the filmmakers and storytellers whose work we all come together to celebrate. And it is gratitude and a deep feeling of connection with the community that has year after year shown its commitment to welcoming this type of exploration on the coast of Maine. I think that is a combination of feelings shared by so many of the attendees, and a framing that makes the experience so incredibly unique.

And then there’s opening night. Seeing the local and filmmaking communities coalesce in Camden’s beautiful Opera House. Remembering the first year we sold out the venue and what a milestone that was for the organization. The unveil of Jon Laurence’s newest bumper, fingers crossing that all the tech transitions go smoothly, and that first dive into a weekend of transportation with friends and family.

This year’s opening short film was one of my favorites of the entire festival: The Art of Flying by Jan van Ijken:

Friday morning’s Shorts First program blew me away. The new short from AJ Schnack, Speaking is Difficult managed to, for me, cut through the numbness that seems to pervade our nation’s growing mass shooting crisis:

Ian Cheney’s new short film, Smog of the Sea takes a very different but equally powerful approach to another systemic crisis, our relationship with the planet. Meditative, immersive cinematography, ethereal music from Jack Johnson, and Ian’s knack for making complex topics relatable and human take us on an epic quest to the Sargasso Sea. He shares a bit of the story and filming process here.

And last night I watched Brett Story’s The Prison in 12 Landscapes having missed it during the festival and wow, such an incredibly powerful portrait of the prison nation that has and continues to grow in our country. The film opens theatrically at Anthology Film Archive in NYC Nov 4-10 and it’s a topic that’s close to my heart, with work on the documentary film Criminal continuing here on the coast of Maine. Brett has a way of weaving together these seemingly disparate narratives in a way that captures the nuance and grays of the current situation in a way that only film can do:

And to me, that is the true power of documentary film: to move us in ways that the written word, dialogue or imagery alone cannot. To weave these together and hold up contrasts, build connections and share the human experience. The ultimate journey.

October 23, 2016   No Comments


It’s #GivingTuesday! A day amidst all the hustle of the holiday season to remember the charities, non-profits and community organizations that make our worlds richer. Here are some of our favorites here at Craft:

Project Puffin

Babson College

Food Corps

Camden International Film Festival

Have Fun!

December 3, 2013   No Comments

CIFF 2012: Save the Date

CIFF 2012 is coming to Midcoast Maine September 27-30, 2012. Mark your calendars and submit your film now. Passes go on sale July 2nd!

Check out this Save the Date video for a taste of what’s to come:

May 11, 2012   No Comments

2010 Camden International Film Festival

There is the unmistakable mark of fall in the cool evenings returning to Manhattan and that means just one thing: almost time to make the yearly pilgrimage up the coast to the motherland for the weekend of documentary films, music, food, dancing, partying, heated debate and camaraderie that is the Camden International Film Festival.

This is the first summer in 5 years that I’m not involved with the event’s production but continue to serve on the advisory board and could not be more proud of the event Ben Fowlie and his amazing team have put together – Arlo Jamrog, Emily Qualey, Jon Laurence, Dominic Musacchio, Catherine Weiss, Geoff Parker, Sarah Ruddy, Kate Cox, Kelly Hailey, Jenna Lookner, John Welliver, Mariah Lussier – who knew mid-coast Maine held so many talented folk.

Well, the secret’s out.

Started with the spark of imagination and sustained by the support of a true community, CIFF continues to do all that a great film festival should: honoring documentary filmmakers for the story-tellers and creative visionaries that they are; harnessing the power of documentary film to effect change; showcasing the bounty of the community; sparking dialogue, questioning and awareness.

Join the party – tickets are on sale now at the CIFF box office – discounted until August 25th – a VIP pass gets you into anything and everything during the festival and there are a limited number of Points North passes available if you’re a filmmaker, in the industry or just curious to learn more about the business of independent documentary film.

See you there.


August 21, 2010   Comments Off