WATERVILLE – The 12th annual Maine International Film Festival will bring comedy, drama, action, romance and intellect from around the world to the big screen over 10 days, July 10-19. Showcased will be 100 films by 50 filmmakers.

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and speak with the directors, producers, writers and other visionaries behind the movies.
Films will be shown at two venues: the Waterville Opera House, 93 Main St., third floor; and Railroad Square Cinema, 17 Railroad Square.
MIFF will present critically acclaimed director and producer Arthur Penn with a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of this year’s celebration of cinema. Best known as the director of the iconic “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967), Penn amassed a huge body of work throughout the decades. He directed eight actors for Oscar-nominated performances, including Patty Duke, Anne Bancroft, Estelle Parsons, Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Michael J. Pollard and Chief Dan George.
Penn also won Broadway’s 1960 Tony Award as Best (Dramatic) Director for “The Miracle Worker.” His long list of accolades include Tony and Oscar nominations for cultural masterpieces such as “Alice’s Restaurant” (1970) and “The Miracle Worker” (1962). MIFF will show a retrospective of Penn’s work, including “Bonnie and Clyde,” “The Left-Handed Gun,” “Little Big Man,” and “Night Moves.”
Opening the festival at the Waterville Opera House at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 10, will be world premiere of “The Rivals.” Award-winning filmmaker Kirk Wolfinger illustrates a passionate story about two towns in Maine, a struggling mill town in the north and an affluent suburb along the southern coast, both vying for the state football championship title.
This all-American story takes audiences to a place where football is everything and losing is not an option. As Wolfinger put it, “It’s not just a film about Maine, It’s a film entirely by people who currently live in the state. Every cameraman, soundman and PA who worked the shoots is from Maine. The editing team is comprised of Mainers. All the musicians, with the exception of two songs are from Maine. Even the sound design and mixing was done by The Studio in Portland.”
“As proud as I am of the film … the fact that we did it entirely in Maine is really something I’m thrilled about Wolfinger added in a prepared statement.
Another notable highlight of MIFF 2009 is the screening of the 1956 classic film “Carousel.” Based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical of the same name, this film represents an important piece of Maine’s cinematic history. Hosted in New York City, the world premiere of the film was attended by Washington diplomats, film stars and other distinguished guests, including then Maine Gov. Edmund S. Muskie. Festival-goers will recognize much of the surroundings because the movie was filmed at such scenic locations as Boothbay Harbor and Camden.
“This wondrous turn-of-the-century fantasy has been newly restored in this pristine archival print by Martin Scorsese’s restoration organization, The Film Foundation, and the result is a wonder to the eyes, ears and heart,” said festival programmer Ken Eisen.
Also spotlighted at this year’s festival will be Portland native Kyle Rankin. Perhaps best known for co-directing “The Battle of Shaker Heights” through the second season of HBO’s “Project Greenlight,” Rankin’s latest project is a film called “Infestation,” adrenaline-induced fight for survival shot in Bulgaria.
Scheduled to be unveiled at MIFF is the romantic comedy “(500) Days of Summer.” Directed by Marc Webb, produced by Mark Waters and starring Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, this sunny yet somber film features a rock solid cast and engaging script. Recently garnering an official selection at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, the film’s soundtrack features original material from internationally known recording artist Regina Spektor.
Tickets are $9; $12 for special events, including opening, closing and Mid-Life Achievement Award screenings. For descriptions of films, visit www.miff.org. To reserve a festival pass, call 861-8138, e-mail info@miff.org or go to the Web site.

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