L-A Film Festival panel selects firs round of films

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LEWISTON — Lewiston Auburn Film Festival organizers have selected the first round of films for the three-day event scheduled for mid-April.

As of mid-January, almost 350 films had been submitted in these four categories: documentary, feature length, shorts and experimental.

“Even with the expansion of the festival from a one-day event last year to this year’s three-day-long festival, we still only have time to show about 45 to 50 hours of film, so the competition is even higher this year,” LAFF Chairwoman Sandra Marquis said.

Selected documentaries include the following:

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* “Welcome to Lee, Maine” (Maine) is the story of a small close-knit community in rural Maine that comes together to deal with the devastating news that it has become the smallest community in America to lose two sons, Joel House and Blair Emery, in the Iraq War.

* “The Darkness in My Heart” (Rwanda) tells of the unspeakable horrors of war and genocide from the perspective of one unbelievably brave and strong young woman.

* “Finding Donn Fendler: Lost on a Mountain in Maine 72 Years Later” (Maine) follows young filmmakers Ryan Cook and Derek Desmond as they try to track down Fendler and acquire the rights to share his story in a whole new way.

* “Four Guys, No Ball: Surviving the World Cup” (Argentina & USA) is what happens when four young filmmakers meet in Germany to document World Cup fever.

Selected feature-length films include the following:

* “Schizophrenic Love Story” (Texas) a comedy about an agoraphobic/schizophrenic who consults his three delusions — Mary Mother of Jesus, Einstein and a vampire — for love advice when his new neighbor, Lily, shows up with secrets of her own.

* “We are the Hartmans” (New York) starring Richard Chamberlain (“Dr. Kildare,” “Shogun” and “The Thornbirds”) is a heart-warming comedy about a small-town music club struggling to survive against corporate takeovers.

Selected short films include the following:

* “The Carrier” (California) follows a grieving mother’s attempts to warn her son’s partners of his HIV positive diagnosis after his untimely death. The cast includes  Chad Michael Murray (“One Tree Hill”), Rita Wilson (“Sleepless in Seattle” and “Volunteers”) and Anna Paquin (“True Blood”).

* “Flippy Day” (Maine) is a comedy about an obscure holiday sacred only to roller skaters as observed by its unique followers. Directed by native Mainer Michael Panenka, it was made for the 2009 48 Hour Film Festival in Portland.

* “Atroz” (Spain) offers hilarious insight into the torturous life of a teddy bear as told from his point of view.

Selected experimental films include the following:

* “Colony Collapse” (Maine) presents an eerily beautiful view of an abandoned looking downtown Lewiston during a snowstorm.

* “Out of Step” (Pennsylvania) shares the innermost thoughts of female war veterans, through both spoken word and interpretive dance.

* “Automata” (Australia) is the dark-humored story of Henry, the last in a long line of duck hunters. It explores the obsession between the hunter and his prey.

The Lewiston Auburn Film Festival will feature a concert by Don McLean at the Franco-American Heritage Center. On Saturday, venues throughout Lewiston-Auburn will turn their spaces into movie theaters for the day. Saturday night will culminate with a gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Hilton Garden Inn Auburn Riverwatch. On Sunday, VIP ticketholders will be served brunch at Fishbones followed by a showing of winning films at The Public Theater. For ticket and other information, visit www.lafilmfestival.org.

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