Cabin Fever three-day winter film fest Feb. 28 through March 1

CIFF’s mini fest opens with ‘Crip Camp: a summer camp for the handicapped run by hippies’

Tue, 02/25/2020 - 1:00pm

Click on the following to see more info on each film.

Primary follows John F. Kennedy, as he goes head-to-head with established Minnesota senator Hubert Humphrey to win the Wisconsin presidential primary in April 1960.

Saturday, Feb. 29 11 a.m.

Love Child
A refugee survival story of an Iranian couple who, outlawed for their love, flee the country with their four-year-old son, Mani.

Saturday, Feb. 29, 1 p.m.

Mucho Mucho Amor
The life of ender non-conforming, cape-wearing psychic Walter Mercado before he mysteriously disappeared.

Saturday, Feb. 29, 4 p.m.

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band
A confessional, cautionary, and sometimes humorous tale of Robertson’s young life and the creation of one of the most enduring groups in the history of popular music.

Saturday, Feb. 29, 7 p.m.

The Capote Tapes
Interviews with friends and enemies of Truman Capote; a fascinating documentary on the author (and socialite) behind Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood

Sunday, March 1, 11 a.m.

Picture Character
A documentary that explores the complex, conflict-prone, and often hilarious world of the creators, lovers, and arbiters of emoji

Sunday, March 1, 4 p.m.

CAMDEN—A small camp that started in the 1960s in the Catskills by families of children with cerebral palsy is generating the biggest buzz after the 107-minute documentary opened at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in January.

For some 40 years, Camp Jened has been a place of welcoming acceptance and fun for disabled teenagers and adults. Jim LeBrecht was one of its teenaged campers in the 1970s and the experience so transformed his life, he made a documentary about it with Emmy-winning documentary producer and co-director, Nicole Newnham in 2019 titled Crip Camp.

Just when everyone is feeling the confines of deep winter, the Camden International Film Festival is bringing the outdoors and sunshine to Camden Opera House with Crip Camp as its opener for the three-day mini winter festival called “Cabin Fever.”

CIFF Founder Ben Fowlie wanted to get his hands on this film and in a local theater as soon as possible after it was scooped up by Barack and Michelle Obama for their Netflix-based production company Higher Ground.

“As more films are being acquired by online platforms, their windows for public screenings are getting smaller. We saw the writing on the wall and our Cabin Fever Fest was a way for us to address that,” said Fowlie. “Our goal with Cabin Fever is to bring films that people are going to be talking about next January to this community, and give our audiences a sneak peek before they appear in any of the major cities like Boston or New York.”

“Crip Camp won the coveted audience award at Sundance and for good reason. It’s just a really powerful film,” he said. “It’s been described as the birth of a movement doc. The experiences camp attendees had -- experiences around becoming an adult, about finding love and experimenting is what draws you in. And watching them transform into the groundbreaking activists is astronomically moving."

A review in Variety Magazine sums up the overall feeling of the film touching on why the title might seem politically incorrect to outsiders, but is actually a code word for inclusivity. According to reviewer, Peter DeBruge, “...the movie succeeds in enlightening without ever coming across as an ‘eat your spinach’ civics lesson, beginning inside a utopian bubble where people without disabilities are the minority, then broadening the scope to include the more closed-minded outside world to which the campers return — an intimidating obstacle course they collectively helped to reinvent.”

Fowlie said there are numerous Maine connections to Crip Camp.

“The film was edited by Mary Lampson, who is an incredibly accomplished editor living in central Maine. Shane Hofeldt, the assistant editor, also lives in Camden and went to Maine Media Workshops. Ben Levine shot some of the original black and white footage in the film. He's now based in Rockland. [See related story: Creating Social Change From Maine To Mexico.] They’ll all be there for the Q & A afterward.”

Beyond the three days of film screenings, Cabin Fever promises live music, special parties and its signature virtual reality exhibitions called Storyforms, which will be held on the third floor of Camden Opera House, Saturday, Feb. 29 from 12 to 7 p.m.

“With Storyforms, people can come in and have eight to 10 different individual experiences with VR headsets,” said Fowlie. “If you want to kayak around Greenland, this will be your chance to do it."

“For us, it's all about bringing community together to experience the power of storytelling,” he said.

To see the schedule and get tickets visit: Cabin Fever.

Kay Stephens can be reached at