June 20, 2023
Contact: Jackie Ferlito, [email protected]

Portland-filmed Hangdog is opening this year’s Maine International Film Festival; eligible for Tourmaline Prize 

The Maine-made film Hangdog is screening for the first time in the state as the Opening Night film at the 26th Maine International Film Festival. The film is one of 7 feature-length Maine- made films, all of which are in competition for the juried Tourmaline Prizes.

Director Matt Cascella says “Screening the film in Maine will be a total treat. There are enough Maine-specific nods in our film to hopefully keep Mainers tickled, balanced with broader strokes that should appeal to ‘people from away.’ Maine is a special place that can’t really be boiled down to a few adjectives. There’s a refreshing authenticity to it and we hope Hangdog captures a sliver of that spirit.”

The film is a charming indie discovery: Anxiety-riddled Walt embarks on a comic odyssey through Portland, Maine to retrieve his stolen dog before his girlfriend, Wendy, returns from her business trip. If he fails, he risks losing them both.

Cascella praises local businesses such as Bangs Island Mussels and the Illustration Institute, who “were gracious and willing to help out.”

Cascella directed the film and his wife, Jen Cordery, wrote the script. The idea originated from a familiar situation: When they met, it was clear that if Cascella didn’t get along with Cordery’s dog, Ollie, one of them had to go, and it wasn’t going to be Ollie. The couple moved to Maine soon after the COVID-19 pandemic started, and were inspired by the cobblestone streets and winding alleys of Portland: a place where a dog could easily get lost. “Mainers know who they are; they’re not hung up on image and frivolities,” Cascella says. “There’s something so refreshing in their no-nonsense approach to life that made it the perfect foil for someone who’s struggling to accept himself. They serve to both taunt and entice him.”

Hangdog is showing twice during the Festival: Friday, July 7 at 7pm at the Waterville Opera House; and Sunday, July 16 at 3:40pm at Maine Film Center 2.

About the Maine Film Center 

Maine Film Center (MFC) educates, entertains, and builds community through film. Founded in 2009 to unite Railroad Square Cinema, Maine’s first independent art house cinema, and the annual Maine International Film Festival, MFC serves as an important cultural anchor by showing the best of American independent, international, and repertory film, and offering the best popcorn in the known universe. For more information visit MaineFilmCenter.org.