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Our third short-film festival crowns all new winners
By JEFF INGLIS  |  November 21, 2008

Walk on By

Film Of The Year + Best Drama: Walk on By
Directed by Lisa Wolfinger

The 2008 Film of the Year winner is a bit of a "ringer," as far as movie-making chops go: the director has been nominated for five Emmy Awards (but has yet to win one), and some members of the technical crew have actually won Emmys. But filmmaker Lisa Wolfinger's advantage is not entirely unfair. True, she works full-time making documentaries and historically-themed costume dramas for National Geographic and the History Channel, but this is the first narrative piece the co-founder of South Portland-based Lone Wolf Documentary Group has done in a great while.

An early version of her idea for Walk on By came to Wolfinger three or four years ago, and was based on her own experiences walking her dog in Robinson Woods, an 80-acre parcel of woodland owned by the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust. First, she thought of filming people passing each other, with no dialogue, but later developed the concept into the series of quasi-romantic encounters that collide in small-town coincidences that had viewers abuzz at last week's screening.

After assembling her all-star team (a director of photography from California, a couple of local actors plus some acting friends from New York, and various co-workers looking to practice their skills beyond their day-job tasks), Wolfinger scheduled a three-day shoot last summer.

The biggest departure from Wolfinger's normal documentary-type style — apart from having far fewer complications with modern costumes than with period pieces — was how much "it's like a painting," in that viewers each walk away with different thoughts and feelings at the end. "There's something about a narrative piece that's much more of a blank slate emotionally for people," she says.

Walk on By screened earlier this month at the Hartford Film Festival, and will be shown at the Women's International Film and Television Showcase in Hollywood next month. Wolfinger also hopes to enter it in Sundance and other film festivals. This is the film's first award, but it appears it won't be its last.

Watch the Video: Walk On By 

_Jeff Inglis

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