NEW PORTLAND —  Death sat coolly inside a silver Subaru Forester parked beside Wire Bridge Road on Saturday.

Outside, the crisp autumn air smelled heavily of dust and decaying leaves.

Chin up and dark eyes closed, the Grim Reaper patiently waited as Salome Perez applied makeup to her pale face, accentuating sunken skin under the eyes.

Farther along the dirt road, just beyond New Portland’s famous wire suspension bridge over the Carrabassett River, students with the New England School of Communications in Bangor filmed segments of a Harry Potter movie starring Death.

The students of professor Frank Welch’s class are producing “The Tale of The Three Brothers.” It is a short story by J. K. Rowling that appears in the seventh and final Harry Potter book — “The Deathly Hallows.”

The tale was later released in a series of short stories titled “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.” It is about three wizard brothers who while on a walk come to a raging river, wave their wands and create a bridge over it.


As they cross the span, Death blocks their way, angry that they didn’t drown as other travelers had when fording the river. The reaper grants the brothers each a prize for cheating Death —  the Elder Wand, which cannot lose duels; the Resurrection Stone; and the Invisibility Cloak.

The two brothers who choose the wand and stone perish early, while the youngest brother uses the cloak to hide from Death.

Following two years of negotiations, the school obtained the rights earlier this year from Warner Brothers to adapt Rowling’s short story into a short film, producer Tim Reid of Kingfield said Saturday at the bridge.

It was Reid’s idea to incorporate the New Portland tourist attraction into the film.

“Having grown up in the area, I immediately thought of using this landmark as a location for our film,” Reid said.

Early last month, the crew held auditions, attracting 43 people, Reid said. But many, many more contacted him once they learned it was for a Harry Potter movie.


“I got emails from around the country and actually from around the world,” he said. “But a lot of them, of course, were too far to be able to make it.”

After all, the budget for the estimated 20-minute movie, to be entered in the Maine Film Festival and other festivals next year, is only a few thousand dollars, he said.

Directed by Brandon Doyen, it is being filmed digitally with a $75,000 Red Digital Cinema EPIC camera by Jim Tornatore. Reid said that camera type was used to film “The Hobbit,” “Transformers IV,” “Prometheus” and “Man of Steel.”

Student Sydney Hazzard mainly wrote the 20-page script.

Reid said it was Doyen’s idea to cast 9-year-old Emma Campbell of Winterport as Death.

“He wanted to have Death be portrayed by someone who appeared to be sweet and innocent…because Death isn’t necessarily the bad guy,” Reid said.


Portraying the three brothers are Brandon Wardwell of Lincoln as Antioch, Fort Kent native Sean Plourde as Cadmus and Gabriel Clarke of the Portland area as the youngest brother, Ignotus.

Filming began at 8 a.m. Saturday at the wire bridge location. Death arrived three hours later.

“I really think it’s going to be a really cool movie, because I’ve been reading the script and it says I levitate a rock,” said Campbell, who has read the first Harry Potter book and is reading the second tome. She started theater acting last year.

On Saturday, Campbell wore a black dress and black shoes with a 6-foot white cloak. She had her brown hair done in ringlets, her mother Michele Campbell said.

“She’s very excited about this,” Michele Campbell said.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Frances D’Errico of Hampden, Emma’s grandmother. “I enjoy seeing Emma being creative and doing what she loves. She’s enjoying this. It’s really a very unique idea.”


The young men portraying the three brothers said they, too, were excited to be starring in a Harry Potter movie made in Maine.

“I’m having a blast,” said Clarke, 21, an audio engineering student at the New England School of Communications.

“I really consider Harry Potter the “Star Wars” of our generation, because my parents always used to tell me that they went to see “Star Wars,” and “Star Wars” was the big thing when they were kids, and Harry Potter has followed me from the age of 7,” Clarke said.

As a strong breeze ripped through yellow and orange leaves on trees above them, director Doyen suddenly yelled from the bridge, “All right, Salome, can we get Death out here?”

Campbell soon stood enveloped in the cloak about 15 yards from Wardwell, Plourde and Clarke, facing them on the gently swaying bridge like a gunfighter about to duel adversaries.

“Rolling,” Doyen yelled as filming began. “And, action!”

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