WATERVILLE (AP) – A film company that plans to make an HBO movie based on Maine novelist Richard Russo’s book, “Empire Falls,” is looking to base its operations in the former C.F. Hathaway Co. shirt factory, the city administrator said Monday.

Ronald Singel said the film company wants to lease a floor of the building for office space, and an open area for a set. Film producers for the past few weeks have been scouting central Maine for places to shoot the movie, which is based on Russo’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the struggles of a small mill town in Maine.

City councilors are scheduled to hold a special meeting at Tuesday to consider leasing the first floor of the facility to Falls Films Inc., for up to six months, for $4,656 per month plus heat and utilities, according to a proposed resolution.

Councilors will also consider terminating the current lease of the city-owned Hathaway building to Windsong Allegiance Apparel Group of Westport, Conn.

Windsong is the owner of the Hathaway shirt company and shut the plant down last October after moving production overseas. The closure marked the end of Hathaway’s 165-year shirtmaking tradition in Maine.

Singel said terminating the lease with Windsong would give the city flexibility in negotiating a lease of part of the building to Falls Films. He said he is also talking to an undisclosed company interested in leasing another portion of the facility.

Lea Girardin, director of the Maine Film Office, said Monday she has not received confirmation that the film company will work in this area, but her feeling is that if councilors approve the issue tonight, it will happen.

“I haven’t gotten official word yet,” she said. “Right now, other sites are being looked at in the Waterville area for production office spaces. I hope that by the end of this week we will have more information.”

Russo is a former Colby College professor who lives in Camden. His book is about the struggles of the fictitious town of Empire Falls in fictitious Dexter County, Maine, where a shirt factory has shut down and put many people out of work.

AP-ES-07-08-03 0216EDT



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