‘The Rivals’ wins best picture at Phoenix Film Festival

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RUMFORD — A 90-minute film depicting the lifestyle differences between students from blue-collar Rumford and white-collar Cape Elizabeth through a championship football game has won yet another award.

“The Rivals,” a film by South Portland filmmaker Kirk Wolfinger, took best picture award at the 10th annual Phoenix Film Festival last week.

Jim Alyward, football coach for the Mountain Valley High School Falcons, and a major character in the film, was again surprised at the attention the film continues to receive.

“I am amazed that anything 2,000 miles away would be recognized. It’s the quality of work Kirk did. I didn’t think something about Rumford and Cape Elizabeth would have the legs it has,” Aylward said.

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The film, made during a football season that pitted Mountain Valley against Cape Elizabeth, was completed nearly two years ago. It opened the Maine International Film Festival last summer to a packed and cheering crowd in the Waterville Opera House, and has been entered in several other film festivals. It is scheduled to be shown on the Smithsonian Channel later this summer.

It has also been shown at various colleges and theaters in Maine and Massachusetts, and other venues.

Wolfinger, in an e-mail, said he thought the film had lost all chance of an award when both the documentary and audience awards were given to other films. Then they came to the last category for best picture.

“We had a lot of fans in the room cause it got real loud, and yes, it was really cool,” he wrote.

He received a Phoenix statuette. The judging was done by Phoenix and Arizona television critics, and newspaper critics, he wrote.

The film was shown three times.

According to the Phoenix Film Festival Web site, 30 short and full-length films were being shown from 800 submitted.

eadams@sunjournal.com

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