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Contact: Chris Melville, [email protected]

27th Maine International Film Festival Celebrates In-State Film Productions

WATERVILLE, Maine—The Maine International Film Festival (MIFF) returns to Waterville, Maine, for its 27th annual edition July 12–21, showcasing a diverse slate of 100 films. This year’s program, drawn together in part from the record number of submissions received in the festival’s history, includes films from more than 40 countries, representing MIFF’s growing international standing. Even as horizons broaden, MIFF remains committed to celebrating the best of Maine-made cinema and supporting filmmakers with its annual Tourmaline Prizes.

On the closing night of the festival, the juried Tourmaline Prizes, named for Maine’s state gem, will be awarded to the best Maine-made feature film ($5,000) and short film ($2,500). Adjudicating this year are: Wangeci Murage, a Nairobi-based broadcast media executive and creative content specialist; Sîan Evans, founder of Farthest Films, Smash Inc. and Ffilmcompany, as well as a member of the Documentary Producers Association; and Se Young Kim, Colby College assistant professor of cinema studies specializing in contemporary East Asian and U.S. cinema.

The 2024 Tourmaline Prizes are sponsored by the Maine Film Office and the Unity Foundation.

“We’re honored to showcase the incredible works produced in Maine each year,” said Mike Perreault, executive director of the Maine Film Center. “It truly takes a community—and not a little grit—to make a film in Maine, and it’s always a joy to witness the vibrancy and reconnections that people make when they come together at the festival to see these films on the big-screen for the first time. We’re also proud to be able to recognize achievement through our juried competition and cash prizes.”

Competing in this year’s feature film category are documentary Carlo…and His Merry Band of Artists, drama The Ghost Trap, and horror-thriller The Ruse.

Making its U.S. premiere, Carlo…and His Merry Band of Artists examines the life and legacy of the late Central Maine figurative artist and activist Carlo Pittore, as told through the memories of some of his closest friends and fellow artists, featuring Central Mainers Natasha Mayers, Herb Hartman, Abby Shahn, Pam Smith, and Kathy Bradford.

The Ghost Trap is enjoying its New England premiere and serving as MIFF’s Centerpiece film this year. Gorgeously shot on Maine’s stunning coastal seawaters and based on the novel by K. Stephens, the film follows a young lobsterman whose happy life is threatening to fall apart as his loving girlfriend suffers a debilitating head injury and a rival lobstering crew grows increasingly hostile.

Rounding out the trio is horror-thriller The Ruse, making its world premiere in the Waterville Opera House July 18. An in-home caregiver takes a new job in a remote seaside house and quickly finds herself in the midst of chaos, dealing with an unruly patient, mysterious neighbors, and terrifying supernatural occurrences. The Ruse stars legendary horror actress Veronica Cartwright (Alien, The Birds, Invasion of the Body Snatchers) and was shot entirely in Blue Hill.

Nineteen films compete in this year’s shorts competition, divided into three screening groups:

Maine Narrative Shorts

  • Today We Climbed a Hill
  • Detox
  • Baby Shrooms
  • The Selectman
  • Come Stay
  • High Tides
  • The Boat Inspector
  • Franklin

Maine Documentary Shorts

  • Sludge: A PFAs Uprising
  • Offering
  • The Comeback Mill
  • Waldo County Woodshed
  • Chasing Freedom
  • Filling the Gaps

Maine Music Shorts

  • Surrounded by Woods
  • LEAF Plays the Portland House of Music
  • A Phantom Song
  • An Extraordinary Place

On Saturday, July 20, MIFF will also present Make It In Maine: The Latest Developments Impacting the Production and Distribution of Films Made Here. This free panel discussion will touch upon the challenges that face filmmakers undertaking productions in Maine, as well as the benefits they reap by filming in the Pine Tree State. Moderated by Louise Rosen, managing director of Louise Rosen Ltd. and co-president of Maine Film Association, this program is presented by the Maine Film Center, Maine Film Association, and Greene Block + Studios.

To learn more about the made-in-Maine films and the dozens of others screening at MIFF this year, visit Passes and tickets are available now.


About MIFF
Founded in 1998, the Maine International Film Festival (MIFF) is a project of the Maine Film Center. The 10 days of the festival showcase around 100 films, representing the best of American independent and international cinema, and spotlight some of Maine and New England’s most exciting and innovative filmmakers.