July 13 – 19, 2018Vol. 20, No. 6

MIFF 2018: Let This Be The Year To Go

Early organizers, still organizers: Alan Sanborn (L) and Ken Eisen.

by Esther J. Perne

The Maine International Film Festival: This is the weekend (July 13) that a unique opportunity for moviegoing returns to central Maine for ten days, when films from all over the world, the country, the state congregate into one streamlined schedule, one celebration of producers, directors and actors, one occasion when anyone can obtain a ticket and embark on a tradition of being part of MIFF.

Being part of MIFF, mingling with an impressive representation of the film industry, standing in line with diverse and devoted MIFF followers and casual moviegoers, watching films and attending events, that's what keeps MIFF strong, consistent and successful and that's what launched it.

In 1998 the first Maine International Film Festival was introduced. The 10-day event included workshops, seminars, a great logo of the mountains, the moon, the stars and a reel above, and over 30 carefully selected films. The early organizers — some of whom are still highly involved — documented audience reaction as an indication of what people in Maine really wanted from a film festival.

They wanted the films they wouldn't ordinarily get to see and they wanted the people behind the films who they wouldn't ordinarily get to meet. They wanted current previews and premieres and winners from other film festivals, and they wanted the historic, the lesser known, the early greats they thought they would never get to see, and the nostalgic reruns.

But what filmgoers wanted most in a festival, in MIFF, those first reviews showed, was accessibility: the world coming to Waterville, Maine films on the schedule, locations constant, and showings reliable. Over the years, MIFF retained all of the above and added much more, expanding to nearly 100 films, adding more and more special guests, live music, parties, awards, more and more pass holders, volunteers, regulars, one-nighters.

Now in its 21st year, MIFF is providing all the basics that have made it great and the conveniences of ever-increasing electronic access. There are many packages, passes, etc. for Miff-long film enjoyment and there is the option to just hop in the car and spend an evening with MIFF. It is the latter that summer visitors and vacationers are encouraged to do. Get up off the dock, dress casual, eat later — in company with some unexpected film shakers and movers.

This is the year, the summer, the season to take advantage of a unique opportunity, to start a personal or family tradition, to delve into the world of film, a world that does not have to be pursued since it is as close as Waterville's Railroad Square Theater and historic Waterville Opera House. This is the year to go — to discover and enjoy — the Maine International Film Festival.