Maine filmmakers have been through a lot in the past couple of years. What is already a complex, resource-draining, creatively laden process to make independent films (in Maine, of all places) has become, in the days of closures, lockdowns and restrictive safety precautions but everything absolutely necessary, which has become even more difficult. And, as filmmakers, writers, and other lonely creative types know, it’s the work that wins you over.
Sometimes what you need is a quick, no-frills end date to get you out of your slump, that’s what this veteran says about surprise deadlines. And, hey, if there’s the promise of a little cash at the end, that’s just one more incentive to crack your fingers and get started.
Enter the Maine Film Association’s MFA 2022 Winter Film Challenge.
âAt the Maine Film Association, we’re always thinking about how we can help the Maine film scene,â says MFA vice president Emma Gregg of this new filmmaking competition made entirely in Maine. Gregg, a six-year Maine resident and veteran of Maine-shot and filmed productions such as “Allagach” and “Bring down the man“, notes of her experience working with filmmakers in Maine,” I’ve never seen such a generous scene in a movie, with people so excited to be part of a project and just be creative. “
Yet, as Gregg notes, the pandemic has been particularly difficult for Maine’s film community. âThe film is such a collaborative medium, and the pandemic has made it so difficult for people to connect and collaborate. And we are by no means out of the pandemic, but we at MFA thought the Winter Film Challenge would be a way to bring Maine filmmakers together, make sure they continue to be supported, and let the next generation of filmmakers know this is a potential career, that this is how the people of Maine make a living. Plus, it’s an opportunity to go out and make a movie.
The rules of the Winter Film Challenge (as described on the MFA website) should already be familiar to filmmakers in Maine who have been on (or at least considering joining) the popular annual 48-hour film project. After registering, the production crews will premiere at 8 p.m. on February 3, complete with a film genre, a line of dialogue set to appear in the final film, and an equally mandatory prop. Then it’s a presumably frantic and fruitful weekend job, culminating with the team member still able to walk by filing a finished short for MFA judgment.
For Gregg, the Winter Film Challenge is a specifically Maine-focused attempt to inspire local filmmakers across the state to exercise their creative and organizational muscles during a three-day sprint. (The virtual and in-person hybrid nature of the Challenge encourages, as Gregg points out, âfilmmakers from Biddeford to Fort Kent.â) That said, Gregg explains that the 72-hour deadline should allow teams to complete a project with a little more finishing. on it (like, 24 more hours of polish) in order to really show off what they can accomplish together. Gregg also notes that the props, genres, and dialogue provided to filmmakers will have a distinctly Maine twist. “Everything will be both Maine-centric and winter-centric,” Gregg assures potential attendees, hinting at the possibility of creating snow-capped winter landscapes and scenarios in Maine.
And while the creative exercises are fun and potentially inspiring, Gregg is happy to point out that this inaugural Winter Film Challenge comes with a few more tangible rewards. On the one hand, the resulting films will have the opportunity to be seen on the big screen, as the MFA is planning a screening tour of Maine theaters up and down the state. Plus, there’s this cash prize, as Gregg notes that organizations in Maine (including the one in Portland Damnationland and Knack Factory, among others) by helping generously to sponsor the Winter Film Challenge, we won a grand prize of $ 1,000 for best film. Says Gregg of that always welcome extra incentive: âThe MFA is always adamant about paying artists for their work. Maine filmmakers usually go into the negative out of their own pocket to make a film. And while a lot of filmmakers do it for art, we wanted to offer a cash prize as well. “
For Gregg, this latest innovation in supporting Maine filmmakers is a day’s work for the Maine Film Association. âIn addition to everything we do (seminars, webinars, courses, global advocacy for Maine filmmakers), MFA is all about the ability to connect the people of the Maine film industry. To connect people to a team and support the people who make films in Maine. (For those filmmakers in Maine looking for that ever-needed support and connection, contact the MFA at [emailÂ protected].)
Registration, which costs between $ 100 and $ 250, for the very first MFA Winter Film Challenge is now open. Discounted early bird registration is valid until December 14, with final registration available up to the February 3 start line. The earlier you register, the lower the registration fee, with a discount for MFA members, which is an added incentive to join. The challenge is open to any filmmaker in Maine, whether professional or ambitious amateur, from any corner of our fully photogenic great state, so don your snow boots and get ready. Dress in layers. Just a tip.
Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Auburn with his wife and cat.
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