AUBURN — Director Ellie Foss, 9, might not be all that comfortable in front of the camera, but she represents the exact audience the Emerge Film Festival is looking for.

“This festival is about an emerging community, and about emerging films and filmmakers,” said Emerge Festival President Laura Rinck, “but it’s also about emerging audiences. If we are going to sustain this film festival, we have to develop our audiences and an appreciation for filmmaking and motion pictures. I think the best way to do that is to develop an appreciation among children.”

Foss, of Freeport, reluctantly mounted the stage at Auburn’s Community Little Theatre on Saturday after a screening of her short feature film, “Nothing But the Tooth,” alongside star Bill McDonough and Foss’s mother, actress Anna Gravel, who produced the film.

Foss’s 14-minute film was part of a Saturday-morning block aimed at children. It featured the Sundance Film Festival favorite “Snowtime,” an animation that tells the tale of an epic snowball war, and two other short animations: “Volcano!” and “Travel Companions.”

The festival wraps up today with “The Best of Emerge” at 10 a.m. at Community Little Theatre. It’s a collection of fan favorites, staff picks and award-winners.

A girl of few words, Foss let her mother do most of the talking Saturday. Gravel said she was a little more talkative Friday afternoon at a post-showing discussion at Bates College.

“Yesterday, we’re sitting on stairs in a very small space,” Gravel said. “Today, we’re on a stage that’s very big with microphones, so it’s a different vibe. She doesn’t like to be in front of the camera.”

South Portland-based Gravel said Ellie came up with the idea and directed the whole thing. It tells the story of a Tooth Fairy, TF1138, as he deals with a little girl reluctant to let him have her tooth.

“Ellie came on set with us one day, and she’d lost a tooth,” Gravel said. “The tooth fairy had left her $5 but forgot to take the tooth. As any good parent would do, I made fun of her. I said, ‘Good job; you got the Tooth Fairy fired.'”

Friend Jody McColman wrote the story, but Ellie said she wanted to direct it.

“I said I thought I could make that happen,” Gravel said.

With the experience behind her, Ellie said she doesn’t have to do it again. Gravel said that’s fine.

“People ask me if I have any aspirations for her,” Gravel said. “I just say no.”

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Emerge Film Festival

Sunday’s schedule

—  Best of Emerge: A second showing of the director’s cut of “One Team: The Story of the Lewiston High School Blue Devils,” followed by a collection of staff picks, fan favorites and award-winning films at 10 a.m., Community Little Theatre, Auburn.


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