The Camden International Film Festival (CIFF) has announced its slate of feature films taking place September 26 – 29, 2013 throughout Camden, Rockport and Rockland, Maine. CIFF will present over 65 features and short films from all across the globe and from Maine.
Now in its ninth year, the Camden International Film Festival has established a reputation for presenting a snapshot of the cultural landscape through the year’s best non-fiction storytelling. The festival is recognized as one of the top 25 documentary film festivals in the world, and one of the 12 best small town film festivals in the US. In addition to the festival’s inaugural Engagement Summit: Aging in Maine, new partnership with The New York Times to bring the Op-Docs live pitch to North America, CIFF announces the main slate of films, including two programs with the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and a panel on the all-too-timely topic of internet privacy.
“This year’s festival program is extremely diverse, showing the range of artistry and craftsmanship behind documentary filmmaking from both emerging and established artists,” says Ben Fowlie, Founder and Executive Director of the Camden International Film Festival. “Within each and every one of these films there’s a unique story that is being told, and I couldn’t be more excited to share them with our audiences.”
CIFF will introduce two new programs thanks to a grant from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. “Then and Now” pairs classic documentary films and filmmakers with new, visionary work from emerging non-fiction filmmakers. This program celebrates the current state of the documentary form by honoring its exceptional past and affirming its connections to the future. Additionally, CIFF will present “Process” a curated program of documentaries from the past and present focusing on artists, their work and the creative process.
“Thanks to support from the Academy, we’ve been able to expand on our tradition of examining the creative process through nonfiction storytelling, while also building on our repertory programming by screening work from artists who have laid the foundation for the current wave of documentary filmmakers” adds Fowlie.
Following a screening of the feature documentary TERMS AND CONDITIONS MAY APPLY, CIFF will feature an extended panel discussion with some of the nation’s leading thinkers and activists on the issue of internet privacy – including corporate data collection, government surveillance and what internet users can do to achieve greater control over their personal data. Panelists will include Ben Wizner (ACLU), Shahid Buttar (Bill of Rights Defense Committee) and Amie Stepanovich (Electronic Privacy Information Center).
“One of the themes running through this year’s festival and forum is the power of documentary storytelling to generate public dialogue about the social issues that matter most,” says panel organizer and Points North Director Sean Flynn. “We believe internet privacy and security is one of the most critical issues facing our society today – for both media makers and the general public – so we are truly honored to be bringing this timely conversation to Camden.”
CIFF has unveiled the lineup for its Points North Documentary Forum. In its fifth year, the Forum has quickly become the largest gathering in New England of filmmakers, key decision makers and thought leaders in the documentary field. The three-day conference program runs concurrently with the festival from September 27 – 29, 2013 at the historic Camden Opera House in Camden, Maine, and Union Hall in Rockport, Maine. This year’s program will feature a wide range of panel discussions, workshops, case studies, networking events and two public pitch sessions. Points North is dedicated to providing independent documentary filmmakers with unique opportunities for both professional development and creative inspiration, helping build a vibrant regional filmmaking community while sustaining a conversation about new directions in nonfiction storytelling.
This year, some of the documentary industry’s leading broadcasters, distributors, funding organizations and executive producers will convene at the Points North Pitch, a public pitch session held during the Forum on September 28. Seven filmmakers will be given an opportunity to pitch their works-in-progress and receive critical feedback from industry delegates before a live audience. The event, which will be free and open to the public, is a unique opportunity for filmmakers to secure vital support for their projects and audience members to see how documentaries are developed in their early stages. This year’s panel will include representatives from PBS, Sundance Institute, POV, Al Jazeera America, Cinereach, LEF Foundation, DirecTV, Naked Edge Films, LEF Foundation, Fledgling Fund and Documentary Educational Resources.
One project will receive the Points North Pitch Award and Modulus Finishing Fund, which comes with a $1000 cash prize from Documentary Educational Resources, a $10,000 post-production package from Boston-based Modulus Studios, a $3000 tuition scholarship to Maine Media Workshops and three consultations with the Tribeca Film Institute. Last year’s winner, IN COUNTRY, has gone on to receive the Garret Scott grant and has been selected by the Hot Docs Forum and IFP Labs, while being recognized by indieWIRE as one of the “50 indie films to look out for in 2013.”
“We’re honored and very excited to have the opportunity to continue to develop a platform for filmmakers to introduce their projects to some of the most influential decision-makers in the documentary industry,” says Ben Fowlie, Founder and Executive Director of the Camden International Film Festival.
On September 28, the Forum will host the inaugural Points North Engagement Summit: Aging in Maine, in which approximately 15 Maine-based nonprofit leaders and healthcare professionals in the field of aging will converge in Camden for a daylong closed-door strategic summit meeting with documentary filmmakers focused on aging issues. The purpose of the meeting is to explore how their work can be supported and enhanced through the use of powerful documentary films focused on the experiences of older adults, their loved ones and caretakers. The summit agenda will be designed and facilitated by Working Films, an organization that specializes in connecting storytelling with community engagement and action.
During the festival, there will also be an Aging in Maine sidebar of film screenings, including a highlighted screening of Banker White and Anna Fitch’s THE GENIUS OF MARIAN. Following the festival, CIFF will work with participating organizations to implement the ideas developed at the summit and spearhead a screening tour of selected films in 8 -10 communities across Maine. The Aging in Maine program is made possible by support from The Fledgling Fund, Camden National Bank, Pen Bay Healthcare Foundation and The Bingham Program, as well as partnerships with the University of Maine Center on Aging, the Portland Press Herald and The Conversation Project.
This year, the Forum will debut a speaker series called Doc/Tech, featuring innovators and thought leaders working at the intersections between storytelling, technology and social activism. Confirmed speakers include Alexander Reben (Creator of the BlabDroid documentary filmmaking robots), Elaine McMillion (Director of the groundbreaking interactive documentary HOLLOW), Sasha Costanza-Chock (MIT Professor and transmedia activist) and Nonny de la Pena (Creator of Gone Gitmo and Hunger in Los Angeles virtual reality journalism projects). The session is made possible by support from the Maine Technology Institute, and will be hosted by the MIT Open Documentary Lab’s William Uricchio.
The opportunity to meet one-on-one with visiting industry delegates is another important part of the Points North experience. The 2013 program includes a session called Social Media Audit, in which filmmakers have a chance to spend twenty minutes receiving tailored feedback on their film’s online presence from social media and audience engagement gurus Kristin McCracken (former VP of Digital Media at Tribeca Enterprises) and Christie Marchese (Founder/Executive Director, Picture Motion).
For filmmakers interested in strengthening their storytelling craft, Points North will feature an editing masterclass led by Jonathan Oppenheim, editor of “Paris is Burning”, “The Oath” and the 2013 CIFF selection, “William and the Windmill”. For those who want to delve into the history of documentary film, filmmaker and Harvard professor Robb Moss (“The Same River Twice”, “Secrecy”) will lead a masterclass on the of nonfiction storytelling techniques and the ethical and aesthetic issues that have shaped documentary filmmaking since the 1950s.
“We’re really honored to be bringing in such a diverse, talented and inspiring group of participants to Camden for this year’s Forum,” says Points North Director Sean Flynn. “Whether you’re developing a feature, producing a short for the web, getting into interactive media, using media as a tool for social change, curious about film history or interested in craft of documentary storytelling – there’s something here for everyone.
The Points North Documentary Forum is made possible by the generous support of the LEF Foundation, Virginia Hodgkins Somers Foundation, Maine Arts Commission, The Fledgling Fund, Camden National Bank, the Pen Bay Healthcare Foundation, The Bingham Program, Maine Technology Institute, Modulus Studios, Documentary Educational Resources, Maine Media Workshops and the Tribeca Film Institute.
A full conference schedule and list of industry delegates is available online at http://camdenfilmfest.org/pointsnorth