Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Maine International Film Festival

The 13th Annual Maine International Film Festival opens tomorrow and will run until July 18th.

This festival attracts consumers from all over the Northeast and beyond and showcases more than 100 American independent, international and Maine-made films.

A large part of the focus of this blog is to educate the reader in regard to the economic impact of visual media production. It is clear from the reaction of the local Waterville community that MIFF has a deep and well defined economic impact.

Shannon Haines, who has done a terrific job as the Festival Director, tells me that “Last year we had just over 10,000 admissions over the 10 days. We have never done an economic impact study (mostly because we can’t do it in-house and can’t afford to hire someone), but we know that MIFF creates a big boost, especially for the Downtown. “

David Gulak of Barrels Community Market certainly agrees, “MIFF brings a level of evening energy to downtown that helps build a healthy nightlife and late-night traffic for businesses. We definitely notice an increase in the quantity and diversity of people coming through the market. Plus, they are often very inquisitive and looking to learn about the community and spend some local dollars in a meaningful way. From an employee standpoint, it's also cool to take alternate breaks to go see great movies during the work week.

Billy Dangler of The Pleasant Street Inn says, “During the festival the inn is usually totally booked and very active as people come and go. The festival has always been a great venue from an economic point of view for most of the community."

Miff receives a tremendous amount of support from the Maine Film Office, including a $50,000 grant from the Maine Department of Tourism in 2006. The money is well spent as MIFF continues to grow in reputation and attendance helping to brand and market the State of Maine.

This year MIFF has included the "Making it in Maine Day" on Saturday, July 17th. Part of the festivities will include the "Making it in Maine" Reception, 5:00-6:30pm, The REM Forum, The Center, 93 Main Street, Waterville. Hosted by Maine Public Broadcasting Network and Maine Film & Video Association with support and participation from the Maine Film Office and the Maine Arts Commission. You will be able hear from MPBN about Maine based programming opportunities, meet representatives of the Maine Film Office, Maine Film & Video Association, and Maine Arts Commission, and network with filmmakers who truly are Making it in Maine.

I would encourage any Maine based visual media producer to attend this event, mingle and find out what the Maine Film Office and the Maine Film Commission have for plans to improve and increase opportunities for visual media production in Maine.