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Moving pictures

The second annual Portland Phoenix Maine Short Film Festival
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  November 1, 2007

We had a couple repeat winners and several new successes at our second annual Portland Phoenix Maine Short Film Festival. It was a great night at One Longfellow Square, a really good spot for showing movies (including a curved wall onto which the films were projected!). All the winners were there, except one, who had to work. Silly him — his future is in movies. And we were able to showcase the best Maine filmmakers, whether they are still in high school or long retired.

We really have some stars here, so check them out when you see Maine films in the theaters or at the video store. Watch the winning videos and get scheming for next year’s festival!

Film of the year
The Art of Walking
By Kevin Henthorn

It’s hard not to giggle at The Art of Walking, which celebrates the quotidian challenge of getting from here to there. Seventeen-year-old Freeport High School senior Kevin Henthorn, who filmed his movie during the hectic two weeks before his junior-year final exams, says the idea for the movie evolved from looking at — and jumping around on — the diagonally patterned tiles in his school hallway. He cast his friends as exaggerated versions of themselves — a biker, a skater, an agitated driver, and a superstitious walker — and, despite a few “dirty looks from teachers,” made a film that’s charming in its simplicity. If you’ve ever avoided cracks to save your own, or your mother’s, back, this one’s for you.

Click here to watch the movie

Best music video
Street Musicians
By Charles Rotmil

Charles Rotmil calls the street his studio. The dignified Frenchman, who is in his 70s and lived in New York for years before moving to Portland in the 1980s, was trained as a street photographer; that background is evident in his Street Musicians. The film shows us four busking acts, three in New York City and one in Maine, and each is distinctive. Within the New York subway underground, Rotmil finds a xylophonist whose dreamlike music seems fit for a po-mo movie score, and a six-piece mariachi band that elicits both energy and money from the crowd. In Maine, he captures an accordionist who flirts with the camera like a natural. And in a park back in New York, he films an African musician whose unique harp-like instrument and clear voice are mesmerizing. Rotmil may be getting on in years, but he’s still going strong — he’s putting together a longer documentary about World War II, and collaborating with a friend on a music video they plan to post on YouTube.

Click here to watch the movie

Best comedy
Deadphone
By Andrew Batson

Andrew Batson portrays one hot zombie, and his friend and co-writer/director Jarrod Anderson is equally attractive as a member of the still-living in their film Deadphone, which shows how annoying it can be when your friends won’t leave you alone — even after they die. Twenty-five-year-old Batson, who hopes the film will serve as his introduction to the film world, says that the pair “didn’t expect it to come out as well as we’d hoped.” The undead never give themselves enough credit, do they?

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