AUBURN — Minutes after filmmaker Michael Miclon heard Thursday about the child pornography arrest of Joshua Shea, the director of the Lewiston Auburn Film Festival, emails began arriving.

They all seemed to ask Miclon the same thing: “Is the Lewiston Auburn Film Festival happening?”

He didn’t know what to say. Neither did Dan Marois, the festival’s spokesman, or Chip Morrison, the director of the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce.

LA Publishing, the owners of Lewiston Auburn Magazine, announced Friday that Shea was fired as publisher.

The festival is scheduled to begin Thursday, April 3.

“I’m just a bit stunned,” said Marois, who tried repeatedly Thursday to reach Shea by phone. “I’ve been working with (Shea) on the film festival. We’ve got things lined up: volunteers, filmmakers, there’s PR about it. In fact, I mean, just this morning I was communicating with him by email about some of the things coming together.”


He didn’t know what filmmakers or audiences might do after the news broke.

To Miclon, it was pure shock.

His film, “Richard³” is scheduled to be the first movie shown at the fourth annual festival. People bought about 400 tickets to the screening — the first showing of Miclon’s film anywhere — and sold out Lewiston’s grand Franco-American Heritage Center. Some cast and crew members had booked work and air travel around the event.

“I am flummoxed,” said Miclon, who lives in Buckfield. “This event has been a year in preparation and it’s two weeks away. I’m on a fast train going downhill to get this done.”

Even if the festival is canceled, he insisted the screening must go on.

“It has to happen,” Miclon said.


The festival was scheduled to draw crowds into Lewiston-Auburn for four days. It has before.

In 2013, about 1,500 festival-goers purchased 2,100 tickets to various festival events. Attendees were estimated to have spent $375,000 in gas, food, lodging and shopping.

This year was expected to be even better, in part due to the festival’s recognition last fall by MovieMaker Magazine as one of the 25 coolest film festivals in the world. More than 50 films are scheduled and a gala is planned for April 5 at the Auburn Hilton Garden Inn.

The event is slated to begin with a concert by Les Stroud, the star of the reality TV show “Survivorman.” The Sun Journal was unsuccessful in its efforts to reach Stroud for comment.

Chamber President Morrison said Thursday he was saddened by the arrest and what it might mean to so many filmmakers who plan to show their films at the festival.

“It isn’t about Josh; it’s about the films and the people who bought tickets and the people who’ve got a performance coming and all that stuff,” Morrison said. “While Josh is the major organizer, it’s a major community project. But he’s the linchpin in it all and I have no idea.”


Last November, festival directors Sandra Marquis, Paul Roy and Molly McGill all left the festival, leaving Shea in control.

Marois hoped Thursday that a decision regarding the festival’s fate would come soon.

Meanwhile, word of the arrest spread.

South Portland filmmaker Corey Norman, who planned to premiere his movie, “The Hanover House,” at the festival, said he too was “speechless” at the news. Like Miclon, he has people traveling and booking hotel rooms and buying tickets to attend the event.

“I don’t know what we’ll do,” he said.

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