2014 Emerge Film Festival Awards

Best Feature: “Ink & Steel”

Best Short: “Possum”

Best Documentary: “A Place of Truth”

Best Director: “Leaving Circadia”

Best in Festival: “Leaving Circadia”


Best Student Film: “Story of a Fighter”

Verizon People’s Choice: “Leaving Circadia”

LEWISTON — It’s a story worthy of a Hollywood script.

A 13-year-old girl dreams of making a movie in an effort to raise public awareness of a life-threatening disease.

She completes a screenplay two years later, but succumbs to the disease before she can turn it into a movie. Her dying wish to her mother: “Promise you’ll take care of my film.”

Fast forward three years.


Her script is transformed into a movie, “The Magic Bracelet,” starring Hollywood actors. It crisscrosses the country, winning awards while spreading the word about mitochondrial disease thanks, in part, to a nonprofit foundation for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

That true story is the back-story to the movie that screened Saturday at the Emerge Film Festival in the city’s downtown.

Just as the movie follows a girl stricken with the disease through the discovery that she has the power to bring strangers together, Rina Goldberg’s movie, which screened Saturday at the Free Grace Presbyterian Church on Canal Street, continues to make unexpected connections for people with a common tie.

On Saturday, Rina’s mother, Stacy Goldberg, met with Mary Dempsey, assistant director of the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing and a volunteer at the first annual Emerge Film Festival. The two women hosted a question-and-answer session at the end of the screening, which drew roughly 50 viewers.

It turns out that Mary’s brother, Patrick, co-stars on the TV show, “Grey’s Anatomy” with Chandra Wilson, whose daughter has the disease and has become a big supporter of the movie.

In the audience at the movie’s local screening was Sheridan Johnston of Westbrook, who knew Rina Goldberg through a mutual friend. Johnston, who also has mitochondrial disease, carried on a three-year, long-distance friendship with Goldberg and followed the movie script’s progression from its inception through production.


Johnston, who’s seen the movie four times, says she finds something new in the movie with each viewing.

“I see pieces of Rina,” Johnston said, noticing for the first time a framed photograph of herself as a prop in the background of one of the movie’s scenes.

“Every time I see it, I feel closer to Rina, get that little push from her and feel that she’s in the room with us,” Johnston said. “It’s pretty spectacular.”

“The Magic Bracelet” was one of 41 movies that screened Friday and Saturday at six downtown locations at the inaugural Emerge Film Festival, which featured Maine-made, national and international films, including documentaries, shorts and feature-length movies.

On Friday, the festival kicked off with Maine-made horror movies, “Natal” and “The Hanover House,” by South Portland filmmaker Corey Norman, and Baxter Brewing, for a “Beer and Fear” theme.


Other films included dramas such as New York’s “Bridge and Tunnel” and documentaries, including “A Place of Truth,” featuring poet/busker Abi Mott, and Chris McDaniel’s “Music City USA” about post-flooded Nashville.

McDaniel and roughly 19 other directors attended the screenings and participated in question-and-answer sessions following the showings of their films.

The festival concluded Saturday night with Buckfield filmmaker Michael Miclon’s “Richard3,” a humorous take on Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” screened for a packed house at the Franco Center on Cedar Street. Miclon, who attended the premiere screening, wrote and directed the movie, which was shot largely in Maine locations, including Buckfield, Phippsburg and Lewiston.

Cast members from the film in full costume greeted moviegoers at the door and helped show them to their seats.

One of those eager to see the local feature-length film was Michael Dixon of Auburn who took in three other films Saturday.

Dixon, like many of those attending the festival’s offerings, said he wanted to support the community. He was disappointed earlier this year to hear the Lewiston Auburn Film Festival had been canceled, but he was happy to learn that some members of that group had launched a new effort, which became Emerge.


“I think it’s really remarkable what they accomplished, given that it was in ashes two months ago,” he said.

He liked all three films he saw Saturday. He said he liked the story of a short film called “Remember to Breathe,” about an aging actress who lives partly in a fantasy. At the end of the feature-length film, “Leaving Circadia,” five of the film’s actors answered questions from the audience, something Dixon doesn’t get a chance to experience at the local movie theater.

Richard and Mary LaFontaine of Auburn saw six festival films on Saturday before sitting down to “Richard3.”

“If it’s about community and festival and gathering, we’re there,” Mary LaFontaine said. “We just love everything about L-A.”

Mary LaFontaine’s favorite movies included “Leaving Circadia” and “Ink and Steel,” she said.

“They were stories well-told,” she said. “Great story lines, great characters and great endings that I was happy with. I like that about a movie.


Richard LaFontaine said he enjoyed the suspense film, “The Hanover House.”

The couple said they were surprised by the level of quality in the festival films, especially those made in Maine.

“There’s a lot of talent with these filmmakers,” he said. “This is a great venue to expose that talent.”

The festival provided general viewing passes to all high school and college students in Maine as part of its nonprofit mission.


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