AUBURN — Australian filmmakers Jim Lounsbury and Sam Eather arrived at the Portland Jetport in a snowstorm April 8, without a jacket, wearing flip flops — and no luggage.

But they were in good hands. A representative from the Emerge Film Festival was waiting for them at the airport to attend to their needs. In fact, all filmmakers had individual volunteers assigned to them throughout the festival.

That personal touch with all the filmmakers “just doesn’t happen at other festivals,” several filmmakers told festival Director Katie Greenlaw.

The board of directors for the festival is still basking in the glow from the second-annual event that ended Sunday afternoon. Directors, producers, actors and others associated with the films heaped high praise on the festival throughout the four-day event during the Q&As, the award ceremony and the after-party events.

“Everything went so well,” Greenlaw said. “We heard so many good things from the filmmakers, the community and Bates College. It could not have gone better.”

The festival began Thursday with two features — a hilarious night of comedy with K-von Moezzi and his film “Nowruz: Lost and Found” and the artsy “Cleophas & His Own,” a film about artist and Lewiston native Marsden Hartley.


Friday featured crowd favorite “Child of Grace,” which won the People’s Choice Award. Saturday was a daylong celebration of film with shorts, documentaries and features shown at five venues in Lewiston. The night culminated with the film “Bluebird,” which won Best in Festival, and the award ceremony.

Sunday concluded the festival with the presentation of the emotional documentary “Honor Flight,” a film about a group of volunteers who raised thousands of dollars to fly World War II veterans from Wisconsin to see the memorials in Washington, D.C., that were built in their honor.

If there was one complaint, with more than 40 films there were too many quality films being shown at the same time during the day Saturday, forcing film-goers to make difficult decisions on which ones to attend, Greenlaw said.

Organizers will consider reducing the number of films and spreading them out more. Among other changes being considered are more family programming and more interaction with Bates College.

“We learned a lot before and during the festival that will make next year’s festival even better,” Greenlaw said.

Festival organizers have already announced the date for next year’s festival as April 29-May 2, 2016. They hope the later weekend will become the festival’s permanent home.

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