by Esther J. Perne
It's no secret that author Ernest Thompson wrote the classic play On Golden Pond which portrays the magical but very real lakeside summer camp experience on Great Pond in the Belgrades. The movie script won Thompson an Oscar, international acclaim, decades of followers and momentum in the business that never ends.
It's also no secret that being the centerpiece at an event in central Maine is not new to Thompson from his appearance at Belgrade Lakes Region, Inc.'s On Golden Pond Days at Messalonskee High School in Oakland in 1982, to his featured attendance at performances of his plays and movies throughout the area (including On Golden Pond at MIFF) to his fund-raising for the Belgrade Lakes Association and the Belgrade Library in more recent times.
What is perhaps a secret to Mainers about this versatile writer, teacher, actor, director and part-time Belgrader is his life beyond On Golden Pond and why he is the Centerpiece Gala at the Maine International Film Festival with the World Premiere showing of his film Time and Charges and his workshop on "What's the Story: Adapting Life into Film," both scheduled for Tuesday, July 16.
Importantly, Thompson, after serving the de rigueur time in Hollywood, now lives in New Hampshire on his lifetime dream property, Whitebridge, a classic New England farmstead that he searched for, starting in high school. There he has pursued many facets of writing, including songwriting, has given workshops in writing and acting and has immersed himself in directing.
Of Time and Charges he describes how what began as an exercise became a cause, an on-location training project open to anyone (a.k.a. 500 participants) interested in any aspect of filmmaking, which, in consideration of the real-job other lives of the cast took a year and a half of Sundays to film.
He had no budget, no shooting schedule and initially no screenplay, but he had a cinematographer with a Panasonic HVX 200 and an extra bedroom that doubled as an editing bay and voila: Time and Charges.
Time and Charges follows the convolutions of a wealthy money manager from New York who turns off the highway in New Hampshire and drives into his own past, full of people he once knew, including his former self, the values he left behind and the daughter he never met.
Filmed in the Lakes Region of central New Hampshire and in New York City, the movie uses more than 40 locations and includes all four seasons. It will be introduced at the Maine International Film Festival by Thompson.
Amazingly, shortly after Time and Charges has its world premiere in Waterville this week, another Thompson film, Heavenly Angle, will receive the same acclaim at the Woods Hole Film Festival in Cape Cod, Massachusetts on August first, where Thompson will also be teaching a hands-on, interactive writing workshop.
At MIFF the free workshop with Ernest Thompson will be held on Tuesday, July†16, 2:00 Ė 4:00†p.m. at the Waterville Public Library, 73 Elm Street. Time and Charges will be shown at 6:30†p.m. at the Waterville Opera House.