Reporter’s notebook

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Coming to a boo near you

Maine filmmakers behind “Back to the Beyond,” a film shot last year off the coast, have inked a deal that will see the movie on DVD in 75 counties and, eventually, streaming on Netflix.

Screenwriter Ralph DiBacco of Gorham said it took he and brother/director Kevin DiBacco of New Gloucester about 100 pitches to find a distributor for their first film, “Willows Way.” This time it took just 10 to land Maxim Media International.

“We were shocked it sold so quickly,” he said.

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Filmed on Long Island, a 45-minute ferry ride from Portland, “Back to the Beyond” is a homage to the black-and-white, late-1950s series “One Step Beyond.” There’s a murderous sea captain, haunted grounds, paranormal investigators and things that bump in the night. Actors came from around Maine and New England. The project was featured in Weird, Wicked Weird last May.

With an official release date of June 6, the film will go to DVD and have limited foreign theatrical release, according to Ralph DiBacco, then move to pay-per-view (think Amazon.com Instant Video) and streaming (Netflix.) The last might be a year off.

“I’m looking forward to future projects,” DiBacco said, using this success to maybe not land A-listers but B. “This project was put together really quick, came out really good, but we really didn’t have any time to enjoy it. Between script, cast and shot it was bang, bang, bang.”

In November, the brothers will head with scripts in hand to the American Film Market in Santa Monica, Calif., to look for financing for their next film.

– Kathryn Skelton

Cyr back at work, happy to be alive

Jude Cyr, business manager for the Auburn School Department, returned to work part time Friday, 11 days after he was injured in a bicycle accident.

“It’s wonderful to have him back,” Auburn Superintendent Tom Morrill said. “Jude’s very strong, and he’s dedicated. He’s also “thankful to be alive,” Cyr said Friday. “It was scary.”

When his front tire hit a railroad track on Hotel Road on May 9, Cyr was thrown 25 feet. Bloody and shaken, he suffered a concussion, facial and upper body abrasions, and a memory loss of a day and a half. He remembers watching his grandsons’ games on Sunday, but nothing about Monday.

“I don’t remember coming to work,” or going for a bike ride at noon, said Cyr, 60. “The next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital bed” asking his wife why was he there. “That day and a half is wiped.”

His doctors have told him that kind of memory loss with the concussion he had is typical, and he’s lucky it wasn’t worse. Wearing a helmet “was a life safer,” Cyr said. “The thing I feel bad about was not having any identification.” He was able to give his name to someone before he passed out. That prompted his daughter, Jenny Cyr, to recommend all cyclists, runners and walkers wear identification.

“I think I know what I’m getting for Father’s Day,” Cyr said, an identification bracelet. – Bonnie Washuk

Drivers, watch those feet

Ben Lounsbury appreciated the reminder for bicyclists to carry ID out on the road. A cyclist himself, the Auburn man offered his own reminder, this one for drivers, about Maine law.

“The ‘3-foot rule’ says all motorists must leave 3 feet of space between their vehicles and bicycles when passing them,” Lounsbury said. “I would guess that one out of 10 motorists who passes me violates this rule, and one out of 100 leaves me less than 2 feet. They just don’t seem to understand that they shouldn’t pass, they should just slow down and wait, if they cannot pass safely.”

He said he’s gotten good at memorizing the license plates of the worst offenders and suggests other cyclists work on that reflex.

“You only get a few seconds to do it before the license is too small to read,” he said. “Police have been very responsive on the few occasions I have called them.”

 – Kathryn Skelton

Still falling: e-tailer with local roots turns 2

Pricefalls.com, founded by a then-Bates College junior, and headed by a team of Bates grads, passed a few milestones this spring. Last year, CEO Elliot Moskow said the company had deals with 30-plus companies to sell on his Dutch auction-style website with 100,000 items for sale. Today, that’s up to 225-plus stores and 2 million products, according to spokesman Josh Weaver.

The company started out of Moskow’s apartment a few blocks from Bates in 2008 before going live online in 2009. It’s up from five employees to eight, still headquartered in Las Vegas.

Last year it had 1,500 people actively buying and selling. And now?

Weaver declined specifics, saying just that “the number of account holders on Pricefalls.com has increased well over 1,000 percent.”

“We are extremely excited about the tremendous growth we have displayed over the past two years,” Moskow said in a press release. “We will strive to continue to develop successful relationships with businesses across the country in order to provide shoppers with the best deals on the web.”

– Kathryn Skelton

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