Film Festivals | Maine

Summer of Films: Maine International Film Festival

1 Jun , 1998  

Written by Michele Meek | Posted by:

A profile of the films from the 1998 festival.

The Maine International Film Festival on July 10-19, 1998 features movies from around the world – the work of new filmmakers, historic films, retrospectives. MIFF also celebrates "Maine in the Movies," a special look at Maine filmmakers’ work films made in Maine, and historic footage from Maine’s past.

Approximately 40 films will be featured during the 10-day festival, in addition to entries from the 21st Maine Student Film and Video Festival which is held in conjunction with MIFF. There will also be opportunities to participate in seminars and discussions with filmmakers and other representatives in the film industry.

Film screenings will take place in the historic Waterville Opera House and the art house theatre, the Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville, Maine, about 20 minutes from the scenic Belgrade Lakes region.

Tickets: $7-10 individual screenings; $125 full festival pass; $65 partial pass (admission to 10 films/videos).

For more information, contact MIFF through their web site at or email

Film List

A TRIBUTE TO COSTA-GAVRAS: The legendary director will introduce showings of his remarkable, often politically themed films, made in both the U.S. and France. Films to be shown include:

MISSING (tentative)
MAD CITY (tentative)

A TRIBUTE TO MICHELE RAY-GAVRAS: Producer of many daring and original films, the French producer will introduce showings of two Tony Gatlif-directed films she produced:


A TRIBUTE TO GOOD MACHINE: Ted Hope, co-founder of the most important independent film production company in the U.S., will introduce showings of five of his productions:

FLIRT (directed by Hal Hartley)
SAFE (directed by Todd Haynes)
THE STICKY FINGERS OF TIME (directed by Hilary Brougher)
ARRESTING GENA (directed by Hannah Weyer)
PUSHING HANDS (directed by Ang Lee)

FORGOTTEN MAINE: The premiere of Bill Chinnock’s film about the changing face of Maine as a state of small towns and caring neighbors becomes part of the more impersonal corporate world village. Our Opening Night film.

PANTS ON FIRE: A recent prizewinner at the L.A. Underground Film Festival, PANTS ON FIRE is a telling–and surprisingly funny–portrait of two marriages on the edge, directed and written by Rocky Collins, an Orono native who now lives in New York. Our Closing Night film.

GADJO DILO: The new film from the director of LATCHO DROM and MONDO, Tony Gatlif, takes place in Romania, where a young Frenchman comes to find the haunting gypsy music of his father, but stays to find something even more essential.

HABIT: An offbeat, very sexy and very funny vampire story, directed by and starring Spirit award nominee Larry Fessenden, and set in contemporary New York.

PORT DJEMA: Winner of the Best Director award at the Berlin Film Festival, PORT DJEMA, a beautiful and tremedously affecting film set in North Africa, is the latest release of Waterville’s Shadow Distribution, shown in a special preview.

THE UNHOLY TARAHUMARA: Unlike many films dealing with the threats to native peoples and cultures in the modern world, THE UNHOLY TARAHUMARA finds the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s Copper Canyon with mixed feelings about their place in the modern world. Some don’t mourn the passing of the old ways; they’re just eager for a TV.

STRANGER IN THE KINGDOM: Set in Vermont’s Northern Kingdom in the early 1950s and based on the celebrated book by Howard Mosher, STRANGER IN THE KINGDOM, made by the Vermont-based director of WHERE THE RIVERS FLOW NORTH, Jay Craven, is a comedy-drama about the coming of a black minister and a French-Canadian housekeeper into the insulated community.

TASTE OF CHERRY: Abbas Kiarastami’s Iranian film, winner of one of the most coveted awards in the film world, the Cannes Film Festival Palme D’Or, is a transcendent drama about a man bent on suicide, seeking someone to bury him.

DEAD RIVER ROUGH CUT with DEAD RIVER ROUGH CUT 2: Central Maine filmmakers Stu Silverstein and Richard Searles made a classic portrait of a Maine woodsman some 20 years ago. In 1998, they reexamine their subject, now out of the woods.

TIETA DE AGRESTE: Carlos Diegues’ celebratory film, shot in Bahia, Brazil and full of color, dance and music, is about a woman who returns to her small home town to avenge past wrongs and bring electricity to the village.

LARGA DISTANCIA: Shot in Baja, Mexico, LARGA DISTANCIA is a road movie by recent Colby graduates Greg Smith and Dakota Glenn.

ROJA: From Mani Rathnam, the greatest director in India’s vast film industry, the largest in the world, comes an epic of love and terrorism set in the Tamil region and replete with some of the most astonishing song and dance numbers ever seen on screen.

FISHIN’ WITH JOHN: Two hilarious episodes of John Lurie’s series, originally made for Japanese television, featuring Willem Dafoe and Lurie, ice fishing in northern Maine, and Lurie and Tom Waits, fishing in Jamaica.

PUBLIC HOUSING: Frederick Wiseman, the foremost name in American documentary films, will be present at the festival to introduce his latest film, a study of people living in extreme poverty, shot in the Ida B. Wells public housing development in Chicago.

STEAM: A Turkish-Italian co-production, STEAM is set largely in Istanbul, where a harried young Italian businessman inherits a Turkish bath. Coming to divest himself of his inheritance, he instead finds himself drastically changed by his exposure to a culture with values and pleasures very different from his.

SEE THE SEA: An unsettling thriller from one of the most acclaimed young directors of the French cinema, Francois Ozun, SEE THE SEA follows a woman who reluctantly offers shelter to a young female drifter.

THE MOVIE QUEENS: The premiere of the restored versions of two short films shot in Newport and Lincoln, Maine in 1936, featuring many of the town’s residents of the time and amounting to a photographic tour of the era.

SAFE MEN: A wild comedy of mistaken identities in which two tremendously untalented Providence, Rhode Island, singers are mistaken for polished safe crackers by the city’s Jewish "mob," which seems to consist of two people.

BREASTS: Maine native Meema Spadola will present her film, in which women discuss their feelings about their breasts.

FALLEN ANGELS: Wong Kar-wai (CHUNGKING EXPRESS), considered by many to be the most exciting young director in cinema today, returns with a film of gunmen and gunwomen in nighttime Hong Kong.

MY NAME IS IVAN: The premiere of the restored version of Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1962 Russian classic, winner of the Grand Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, now fully restored by Bangor’s National Film Museum.

KRISTIN LAVRANSDATTER: Liv Ullman’s epic film of the Nobel prize-winning novel about a woman who chooses her own husband rather than accepting her father’s choice in medieval Norway.

FROGS FOR SNAKES: Amos Poe’s new American independent film features an amazing cast-Barbara Hershey, Robbie Coltrane, John Leguizamo, Lisa Marie, Ian Hart-in an offbeat comic thriller set in New York. An off-Broadway actress is pressured by her loan shark husband to help him on one last assignment.

NOBODY’S FOOL: Waterville resident, screenwriter Richard Russo introduces his 1994 film with Paul Newman.

RESURRECTION MAN: A searing British drama set in 1975 in Northern Ireland, starring Brenda Fricker, John Hannah and James Nesbitt, in which a committed journalist attempts to infiltrate a gang of ruthless killers.

L’ARCHE DU DESERT: In a landscape that seems to come from a fairy tale, this Algerian film tells a Romeo and Juliet-like tale of love that transcends the enmity between two tribal clans.

REINDEER GAMES: Kyle Rankin and Efrem Potelle will introduce their micro-budget, made-in-Maine psychological thriller.

WINDHORSE: The Chinese government has tried to stop WINDHORSE-an astonishing and gorgeous drama shot clandestinely in Tibet-from U.S. showings because of its powerful indictment of the country under Chinese rule.

LES BOYS: The most successful film in the history of Quebec is a raucous comedy about the members of a garage-league hockey team.

5 WIVES, 3 SECRETARIES AND ME: A grown young woman gets to know her father, a Texas millionaire now on his fifth wife and third secretary, for the first time. A remarkable, often very funny portrait of an eccentricpatriarch and the daughter who’s staking out her own life.

HALF-COCKED: A group of young slackers steal a van and hit the road from Louisville. Mistaken for a band, they find themselves a big hit at the clubs they’re booked into-despite the fact that they have no idea how to play. An off-center, black and white comedy from America’s filmmaking underground.

PLUS some surprises still to be announced…