Dad-for-hire Harold, played by Steven Hauck, center, sits with, from left, Sharon (Isabelle Van Fleet), Cindy (Taylor Pezza) and Vic (Timothy Hackney) during a scene from “Father Figures,” a short film from Auburn-based Alessandro Chillé.  Photo by Alessandro Chillé

AUBURN — Auburn resident Alessandro Chillé plans to travel to Los Angeles for the June 26 world premier of his short film “Father Figures.” The film will play at the Dances With Films festival which is held at the TCL Chinese Theatres, a venue which was the start for many classics including “Star Wars: A New Hope” and “The Wizard of Oz.”

Approaching his wedding day, Joey (Alessandro Chillé) struggles to talk about his recently departed father in a scene from “Father Figures,” a short film from Auburn-based Chillé. Photo courtesy of Alessandro Chillé

The 14-minute short, shot in Saco, follows the story of Harold, who, after losing his son several years prior, works as professional “dad-for-hire” for young men who’ve lost their fathers. Chillé said he feels it is a beautiful story about family that many can take a lot away from.

“It deals with themes of loss, found family and the realization that for our main character to really grow, he has to eventually come to terms with his own loss,” said Chillé.

Chillé bounced around a lot between Los Angeles and New York during his formative years, but landed in Yarmouth for a while during his teens. He said Maine had a profound effect on him which is why he elected to come to Portland as the pandemic unfolded.  He moved to Auburn in September and plans to stay for the foreseeable future, he said.

“There’s a specific personality that Maine has … and there’s a robust film industry here already. There’s like a $64 million economic impact but the tax incentives make it so cost prohibitive for producers compared to Massachusetts or Canada. … I don’t want to say we’re giving up our legacy, but there is a cultural preservation that happens when you can capture a place on film … (so) I want to make more stuff in Maine,” said Chillé.

“Father Figures” was shot during January, which meant actors didn’t have to try very hard to capture Maine’s wintry essence, said Chillé. The creative team at his production company, Think Aesthetic LLC, is crafty and nearly everyone on set, from actors to anyone who had a hand in the film’s production, is from Maine, he said.


Harold (Steven Hauck), left, shares a moment with Glen (Matthew Delamater) as they both work through personal losses in a scene from “Father Figures,” a short film from Auburn-based Alessandro Chillé. Photo courtesy of Alessandro Chille

The material is also original — Chillé wrote the film in addition to directing it — but he does not have the credentials most young filmmakers covet ahead of a hopeful career in film; he got his bachelor’s degree in arts management at the State University of New York at Purchase College. Like the Cassavetes and Barrymore families, Chillé’s exposure to film and filmmaking started during his childhood. In Quentin Tarantino’s words, he didn’t go to film school, “he went to films.”

“My dad made a short film when I was like 4 years old, where I played a superhero, fighting the super villain version of myself,” Chillé said. “I took a couple random classes here and there, but honestly, film is much more about just needing to express myself and feeling a bit of a spark there. That kind of came from my childhood,” said Chillé.

“Father Figures” does not have its next festival confirmed yet, Chillé said, but his production team is leveraging the premier for a national, and maybe international, tour. The film is in consideration for a few global festivals as well, he said.

“It’s a really tremendous opportunity to bring a piece of Maine into the heart of Hollywood,” said Chillé.

Anyone who happens to be in Los Angeles during the premier or who might know someone interested should go to for tickets.

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