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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: April 15, 2019

Comedy film showcase Thaw hopes to warm up your spring

Written by: Ray Routhier

“Ringo Rocket Star and his song for Yuri Gagarin” is one of the comedy shorts playing the “Thaw” film showcase at the Apohadion Theater in Portland.
Photos courtesy of Maine Elements of Film

Thomas and Peter Campbell are fans of bad TV movies, movies that are so bad, they are accidentally funny. So as adult filmmakers they decided to see if they could make one of those bad movies that seems accidentally funny, but on purpose.

Scene from “For the Love of Kyle”.

The film they ended up with is a comedy short called “For the Love of Kyle,” which will be screened along with 11 other films Friday at a showcase called Thaw at the Apohadion Theater in Portland. The event is being organized by a relatively new local film group, Maine Elements of Film, which hopes to present several film showcase events a year in Portland.

“I think it’s great to have as many opportunities as possible for filmmakers to get their films seen,” said Thomas Campbell of Cape Elizabeth, who co-directed “For the Love of Kyle” with his brother, Peter. “It’s great for the film scene.”

“Seafood Diet” a comedy short made by a Baltimore filmmaker and playing at the “Thaw” film showcase.

Thaw will feature 12 comedic films ranging from about 1 minute to 17 minutes. Five of the films were made in Maine, while seven come from all over the country and the world, including the Netherlands, Portugal and Finland. Some include broad slapstick antics while others have dark comedic moments. The selected films include a music video, an animated film and various takes on romantic comedy.

Watch the trailer:

“For the Love of Kyle” is an avant garde satire of the kind of romance crime-dramas one may see on cable TV, Campbell said.

“We’ve always liked watching badly produced TV movies, things you know were made on a shoestring budget, sort of like fast food movies,” said Campbell. “It’s pretty wacky.”

“Shakespeare House” is one of the comedic short films playing the “Thaw” film showcase.

One Maine-made film, “Shakespeare House,” is about a regular guy trying to adjust to his roommates, a house full of Shakepearean actors. It’s directed by Alex Sutula and Noah Bragg. Another Maine film, “Thwack!,” is about storytime at a kids’ therapy camp that gets “weird,” according to press materials on the event. It was directed by Andrea Nilosek and Stewart Engesser. “Phlegethon” is a film made in Finland by Silva Kuusniemi focusing on a bored teenage girl who befriends the mysterious new boy next door, which leads to romance and “potential damnation.”

The films together will run for about 108 minutes, said Eddy Bolz, a co-creator of Maine Elements of Film. But the event will also feature live music, stand-up from Maine comic Kate Ghiloni, and an awards presentation.

Scene from “Phlegethon”.

Bolz and local filmmaker Charlotte Warren started Maine Elements of Film last fall with the idea of making it a rotating genre film series in Maine. Bolz was a co-creator of Damnationland, an annual showcase of Maine-made horror films, and the two met while working on that event. Last year’s Damnationland was screened at Portland’s State Theatre, as well as three other theaters in southern Maine.

“We were looking for an excuse to work together again,” said Warren. “We have a very talented filmmaking community in Maine; we wanted to give them a place to connect and an outlet for their work,” said Warren.

The next Maine Elements of Film showcase, to be held in the summer, will be “FLIQ: Films Lavished in Queerdom.” The group is looking for film submissions that contain LGBTQ characters and story lines. Bolz and Warren said they picked comedy as the genre for their first event partly because it marks the end of a long winter and partly because, with all the horrific and depressing things going on in the world, we all can use a laugh.

“Considering how bleak things can get, it’s good to make people laugh once in a while,” said Warren.


WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Apohadian Theater, 107 Hanover St., Portland

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