Free and low-cost bite-sized films to catch at CIFF this year

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 11:30pm

    Click on the following to see each block’s line up of shorts.

    Strength: These shorts represent strength, determination, courage, and power.

    Friday, September 13 - Free

    Camden Opera House (10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

    The Devil: These are about borders and attachments, and invite us to transcend the restrictions and thought patterns that keep us constrained.

    Friday, September 13 - Free

    Farnsworth Art Museum (10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

    Wheel of Fortune: These shorts all play with ideas of life cycles, destiny, turning points, and motion.

    Saturday, September 14 - Free

    Rockport Opera House (10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

    The Hermit: These shorts are all about revelations, introspection, soul searching, and pilgrimage.

    Saturday, September 14 - $10. Tickets

    Farnsworth Art Museum (7 to 9 p.m.)

    The Lovers: These shorts are filled with conscious connections, meaningful relationships: love, belonging, and family.

    Sunday, September 15 -Free

    Camden Opera House (10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.)

    The High Priestess: These shorts represent intuition, other realms, hidden mysteries, sacred knowledge, and the subconscious mind.

    Sunday, September 15 -$10 Tickets

    Farnsworth Art Museum (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

    Dirigo Docs: A collection of short films from Maine from directors leading the state’s growing film scene.

    Sunday, September 15 -$10 Tickets

    Camden Opera House (1:30 to 3:30 p.m.)

    MIDCOAST — It’s the 15th anniversary of Camden International Film Festival, and the small-town festival which debuted in 2005 has morphed into more than just a venue for documentaries; it has launched into Points North Institute —“a launching pad for the next generation of nonfiction storytellers.”

    This year’s theme is all about power. Who controls it. Who suffers from the imbalance of it and all of the micro stories of our humanity in the throes of it.

    It’s really about how we see other people through film and how do we understand the full story,” said Samara Chadwick, Senior Programmer, Points North Institute. 

    This year’s “Shorts” a historically free (and low-cost) series of short films held in multiple venues over the five-day fest all have a theme as well.

    “We got so many amazing short films and as we watched them, we began to group them around certain feelings, which naturally lent itself to the metaphor of the Tarot Deck, so each block of films has its own Tarot theme,” said Chadwick.  “For example, in the Strength block, these are films all about courage. But different forms; there’s quiet courage and courage that’s intuitive, feminine as well as really dangerous situations, but they all have this quality about being calm in the face of difficulty.”

    The Dirigo Short Films are particularly attuned to Maine audiences. Dirigo is Maine’s state motto meaning “I direct” or “I lead.” It’s probably no small coincidence that “I direct” pertains to all of the Maine directors who have submitted their short films to CIFF. One film screening in particular, is hyper local.  Shoulder Season, a nine-minute film by director Halle Johns, looks as though it was shot at the Rockland Rec Center (whose adult teams were previously covered by Pen Bay Pilot)  The plot: “A recreational dodgeball league in Rockland pulls community members through Maine’s drawn-out winter.”

    Chadwick notes that while many of the Shorts films revolve around difficult topics, she said, “The films themselves are not difficult to watch. There’s some really gorgeous images and some really funny moments; there’s a lot of lightness, and love and joy. What documentary can do is go beyond the headlines and show you the human connection.”

    “Most of the filmmakers of the Shorts will also be in attendance after each block for Q & A,” she added.

    The ticketed events usually sell out fast, so people might want to get their tickets as early as possible.

    Kay Stephens can be reached at