Overturned trash inspires film festival kids’ feature

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Filmmaker Rob Little, right, and editor/illustrator Matt Bernier handle the stars of the film “Detect Earth: When Life Gets Stinky” at Little’s home-based office in Auburn. The 19-minute film is about how Clover the ferret, left, and her stunt double, Winston, right, team up with Walter the Great Dane to find out why the garbage stinks. 

Kids, put your detective caps on.

You are invited to the Emerge Film Festival children’s event to find out why the kitchen garbage stinks. 

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Detective Clover will be there along with her stunt double Winston and a very large dog named Walter. 

Filmmaker Rob Little, an Edward Little High School graduate, will be there as well. He will answer questions about why he made a film about smelly garbage. 

Hint: It has something to do with his pet ferret, Clover, tipping the trash over repeatedly. 

Little’s educational film “Detect Earth: When Life Gets Stinky” will anchor the Emerge children’s event, along with a reading by Maine children’s book author Ashley Bryan.

The detective story centers on Clover and how she digs for clues to why garbage stinks. “It’s a project that Clover is trying to solve,” Little said.

“I’ve always wanted to teach the material, but yes, watching Clover’s curiosity is what gave me the idea,” Little said. 

He said he worked on the film for about five years.

His colleague Matt Bernier added, “Working on it in between running his own company, buying a house, getting married and having a baby.” Bernier is an editor and illustrator for Little’s production company, Sublime House Media. 

Little majored in environmental studies at Bates College in Lewiston, where he decided to pursue “social change through video.” 

He documented the loss of orangutan habitat in Southeast Asia and landed a job at National Geographic. He now owns “the only carbon-neutral video production company in Maine,” he said. 

Little and his wife, Jen, have an 18-month-old daughter named Sparrow.

Little said he has been hanging out with the Emerge Film Festival crew for years, but this is the first year he is directly involved.

He submitted “Detect Earth: When Life Gets Stinky” for Emerge over the winter and was accepted around the same time his film got the attention from the KidFilm Festival in Dallas, Texas.

“That was a good surprise,” Little said.

He paid his way to Dallas to watch his 19-minute film. “It’s worth it to try to get there,” he said. “The connections you make are what make film festivals so much fun to go to.”

Little will be technical director during the three-day Emerge festival. When the moment allows, Little will attend this weekend’s film showing and social events to meet people. “It’s all about getting to know the people,” he said.

Little’s film will be shown during Saturday’s Emerge kids event at Rinck Advertising at 10 a.m. He will be there to answer questions following the film. The stars of the show will also be there.

“He’s a big dog, but great with people,” Little said of Walter, a Great Dane.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “We are super pumped to get this film in front of a bunch of kids.” 

Who: Clover, Winston, Walter and Rob Little

What: A film titled “Detect Earth: When Life Gets Stinky”

Where: Rinck Advertising, Lisbon Street, Lewiston

When: Saturday, April 29, at 10 a.m. 

Cost: Adults $10 at the door; children free. 

“Detect Earth: When Life Gets Stinky” will be featured during the Emerge Film Festival’s kids’ event on Saturday at Rinck Advertising in Lewiston. 

Hebron Academy graduate Matt Bernier produced about 50 illustrations for the film “Detect Earth: When Life Gets Stinky.”

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