POLAND — “How would you make a Zombie movie?” Poland Regional High School student Brendan Hemenway asked movie director Evan Clar.

Clar wondered what zombie movie Hemenway might have have seen lately.

“Dead Rising: Watchtower,” Hemenway answered.

Clar said zombie movies are exploring many avenues, with romantic comedy becoming popular.

“What about sci-fi zombies?” Hemenway asked.

Clar thought a moment, “How about Zombie Shakespeare?”

Clar and film editor/producer Ross Morin were at Poland Regional High School on Friday to talk with Dawnie Hodgkins’ photography and media production students about their adventures in trying to live the lives of filmmakers.

“It’s hard to make money making films,” Morin said. “You need a day job to allow you to create.”

“You have to want it bad enough to make it happen,” Clar added.

Morin and Clar have their day jobs.

Morin is a professor of film at Connecticut College in New London.

“As a teacher, you are learning all the time and with summers off, time to devote to filmmaking,” Morin said.

Clar works for a Los Angeles talent agency, helping others find jobs in television and feature film production.

Morin grew up in Auburn and graduated from Edward Little High School in 2001. He met Clar, who is from Ohio, at Ohio University, where both studied film and he received his Master of Fine Arts degree in filmmaking.

This weekend they are attending Lewiston-Auburn’s Emerge Film Festival with their film “Cigar Man.”

“Film festivals are the way for independent filmmakers to have their work shown, a celebration of the art,” Morin said.

Clar and Morin described pieces of the process from writing to first viewing, and the trials and tribulations involved in everything from raising money to casting.

And the duo were asked where they got their ideas.

“It’s a matter of being present with people and places, aware, listening to your feelings,” Clar said. “Then writing and rewriting, adding things that come from your heart.”

“Cigar Man” came from Clar’s experience watching a relative dying from cancer. The relative was withdrawn and uncommunicative for months but suddenly became bubbly and very much alive and accepting of life at the end.

Asked if he remembered the first film he made, Morin recalled how at 13, with the help of family and friends, he produced “A Face in the Window.” He made it in four days, he said.

“I was very passionate about it. It was a horrible picture, but I love it and will keep it always,” Morin said.

Clar recalled that from the age of 15 he wanted to work in Hollywood.

“I wanted to be Steven Spielberg. ‘Jaws’ was my favorite movie,” he said.

Both agreed that today’s technology has made it possible for young people who dream of being filmmakers to do so at reasonable cost.

Clar’s advice to Hodgkins’ students of photography and media production was simple: “Read everything. Read everything.”

To which Morin added, “Develop yourself as a person. Find your voice, your voice.”

“Cigar Man” will be screened at noon Saturday, April 11, at the Franco Center’s Heritage Hall. High school students are admitted free to all Emerge Film Festival screenings by presenting their school IDs.


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