LEWISTON — It’s a prime example of Hollywood meets Lewiston.

‘Survivorman’ Les Stroud walks into the Franco-American Heritage Center with famed photographer Laura Bombier, who is eating bacon-dusted french fries from Fuel restaurant.

“I love them!” Bombier cries, before disappearing into the VIP section of the building.

A few minutes later, inside, actor Patrick Dempsey stands behind a black curtain with a small entourage. He thinks he’s hiding, but he’s not. The curtain is gauze and his silhouette is easy to identify. Murmurs of excitement ripple through the sold-out crowd, which wasn’t exactly sedate to begin with.

The Friday night screening of “The Peloton Project” got off to a glorious start. On day two of the Lewiston Auburn Film Festival, the halls of the Heritage Center were full and the mood bordered on ecstatic.

“I feel like I’m in Hollywood,” said Meredith Kendall of Lewiston, sitting a few rows back from the screen.

It did have that air. Stroud and Bombier strutted to their seats among writers, filmmakers and producers from all over the place. Not to mention average local folks who came out for the screening.

Maybe it was the cocktail hour preceding the event. Maybe it was just high expectations. From the parking lots to the lobby to the old church’s various nooks and crannies, people were bubbling.

“Everybody’s happy tonight,” said Jim Walker, a local photographer. “Where else can you go tonight to see this many people in such good moods?”

Each of the 400 seats was full well before showtime and more people were in the aisles. They came to see a film that chronicles the 10-day bike ride last year by 40 riders over 2,500 miles from Calgary, Alberta, to Lewiston to honor and support people with cancer.

Producer Laura Davis seemed almost intimidated by the crowd. After all, only a handful of people had actually seen the movie before Friday night. Dempsey, the executive producer of the film, had not yet seen it. Neither had Josh Shea and Molly McGill, organizers of the film festival. Davis and the others behind the movie, including the riders who were in the audience, were about to roll film for a very large audience of potential critics.

“I hope,” Davis said, “that it doesn’t suck.”

For days, there had been rumblings that Dempsey would be on hand for the screening. He was, although he kept a low profile, skipping opening remarks and watching the film with his mother in the front row. No one bothered him. The night was about “The Peloton Project.”

The movie rolled and the the room hushed. The crowd watched organizers and participants of the long bicycle ride describe how they came to be involved. Most of the riders had either survived cancer or knew someone who had not survived. But the film was far from morbid. For the first half-hour, there were more light scenes than heavy ones — flat tires, a daunting hill and a couple of wipeouts.

The idea for the film was born in 2011 at the Dempsey Challenge, Davis said. It started with a casual conversation and grew into a serious project, with Davis producing and Ramsey Tripp, owner of Trade-mark R Productions in Lewiston, directing. Test screening a film before 400-plus people might be daunting, Davis said, but it was also a fitting tribute to the work.

“We’re so humbled,” she said. “And honored.”

For Shea, McGill and others, Friday night was a smashing success, but it was only the film festival’s midway point. There are still two days and something like 70 films to go.

“This is the climax of a giant project for so many people in so many ways,” Shea said. “It’s the end of over a year of filmmaking for the creators. It’s the end of eight months of planning for this night for film fest people.”

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