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  • Mid-Life Achievement award from Maine film festival will go to Gabriel Byrne

    The Maine International Film Festival (MIFF) will present its annual Mid-Life Achievement Award to actor Gabriel Byrne at a special ceremony held at the Waterville Opera House on the evening of July 15. Most recently, Byrne was nominated for a 2016 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in the Broadway production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

    “We are thrilled to honor Gabriel Byrne with the 2016 Mid-Life Achievement Award,” said MIFF programming director Ken Eisen. “Gabriel is a truly brilliant actor with a career that spans over four decades and includes over 100 film, stage, and TV credits. We can’t wait to welcome him to MIFF.”

    Byrne has appeared in over 35 feature films, including Excalibur,Miller’s CrossingThe Usual Suspects, and Stigmata. Byrne co-wrote The Last of the High Kings and has also produced several films, including the Academy Award-nominated In the Name of the Father. One of Byrne’s most identifiable roles is that of Dr. Paul Weston in the HBO drama In Treatment, for which he won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for two Emmy Awards and two Satellite Awards.

    The award presentation will be held after a screening of The Usual Suspects, a neo-noir mystery crime thriller directed by Byran Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie, on Friday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Waterville Opera House. Tickets are $14 and are now available online. The film centers on five criminals (played by Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Pollak, and Stephen Baldwin) who meet in a police lineup and decide to pull off a heist together. Byrne will be in Waterville July 14 and 15 with screenings of Miller’s CrossingJindabyne, and Louder Than Bombs. 

  • Maine International Film Festival to host first World Filmmakers’ Forum, during 10 days with 100 films

    Exciting new Maine Films to primer

    By Ramona du Houx

    This year bringing together filmmakers from four continents, the Maine International Film Festival (MIFF) will offer audiences an unique glimpse inside the creative process of acclaimed international filmmakers. The exciting thing for many MIFF attendees is being able to talk and meet directors, filmmakers and the actors. At MIFF they are accessible, unlike many other film festivals.

    “The quality of the films, this year, have got to be the best ever,” said MIFF Programming Director Ken Eisen. 

    Throughout the 18th annual festival, filmmakers from France, Argentina, Turkey and Mexico will show their work and discuss their creative process and the state of international film. The World Filmmakers’ Forum is being presented through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts Art Works program. 

    A still from the movie Claus Drexal of France will screen, Affaire de Famille. Courtesy photo 

    While MIFF has always been committed to presenting international films and to bringing international guests to the festival, organizers said that the NEA grant has allowed them to expand the effort. “We are so excited to have the opportunity to bring in current, exciting filmmakers from across the globe to present their work to our audience,” said Festival Director Shannon Haines.

    Joining MIFF for the World Filmmakers’ Forum are:

    • Claus Drexal of France will screen Au Bord du Monde (On the Edge of the World) and Affaire de Famille (Family Values).

     • Bárbara Francisco of Argentina will screen El Incendio (The Fire) and a work-in-progress screening of The Black Frost. El Incendio will mark its East Coast premiere during MIFF.

    • Hüseyin Karabey of Turkey will screen Come to My Voice, Gitmek: My Marlon and Brando and Cell A.3.

    • Andrés Clariond Rangel of Mexico will present Hilda and Peoria. It will be the North American premiere of Hilda.

    Bárbara Francisco of Argentina will screen El Incendio (The Fire) at MIFF. Courtesy photo

    Exciting new Maine Films to primer-

    MIFF will kick off its 18th year with the Maine premiere of Tumbledown, a feature length film set in western Maine. The opening night screening will be held July 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the Waterville Opera House.

    “Sean and I are thrilled that Tumbledown will have its Maine premiere at the Maine International Film Festival. This script was written in a spirit of celebration of the community of western Maine that raised me, and after years of striving to make this hometown movie, we cannot wait to share it with the people who inspired it,” said Portland-based filmmakers Desi Van Til.

    Tumbledown is one of several feature films made in or about Maine.

    Shot on Monhegan Island and with the State House in Augusta doubling for the U.S. Capitol building, The Congressman will screen as a work in progress in the “centerpiece” slot on Wednesday, July 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the Waterville Opera House.

    The Congressman, photo above, stars Treat Williams (Hair, Prince of the City) as Maine Congressman Charlie Winship, who’s having a really bad day. The film was written and co-directed by Robert Mrazek, a five term New York congressman who now lives at least half the year on Monhegan. The screenplay was partly inspired by Mrazek’s admiration for the people of the island, and their fight to save their way of life by going to the state capitol and lobbying successfully to have their common law fishing grounds certified as their own after experiencing a “lobster war” that led to the sinking of boats and the cutting of trap lines.

    “I was profoundly affected by the fundamental difference between the cultures of Washington and this remote island, where people pulled together regardless of personal differences, and where self-reliance was the watchword of everyday living.  It changed my children for the better.  It changed me too,” said Mrazek.

    According to MIFF’s Eisen, The Congressman, “is a home-grown yet world class, humorous and moving film with the smell of the Maine coast that raises the important question of what it means to be an American.”

     Mrazek will introduce the film and conduct a Q&A with co-director Jared Martin after the screening.

    And Astraea, a new post-apocalyptic film shot in Western Maine, will screen at the 18th Maine International Film Festival. Doubling the bleak Maine winters as a post-apocalyptic world, producer Scott Crowe, director Kristjan Thor and writer Ashlin Halfnight chose Sweden, Maine as the location for the film.

    Annual Mid-Life Achievement Award-

    The Maine International Film Festival (MIFF) will present its annual Mid-Life Achievement Award to actor Michael Murphy on July 16 at the Waterville Opera House after the U.S. premiere of Fall, his most recent film, in which he gives a magnificent lead performance as a troubled priest, for which he was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Actor.

    This is an opportunity for people to meet and talk with Murphy, as at MIFF stars are accessible and parties held in their honar- free.

    “When you look at Michael Murphy’s filmography, you have to be amazed,” said Eisen. “Always a disarming presence in films, even when playing, as he sometimes does, essentially scurrilous characters, Murphy has the ability to make us comfortably feel as though we know and like this guy.”

    The 18th annual Maine International Film Festival will be held in Waterville, Maine from July 10-19 at Railroad Square Cinema and the Waterville Opera House. During the 10 days of the festival, MIFF features nearly 100 films, representing the best of American and International independent cinema and spotlighting some of Maine and New England’s most innovative filmmakers.

    The full MIFF schedule is now available on the festival’s website, www.miff.org.