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Film festival fun with LAFF

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Lewiston Auburn Film Festival marks third year

LEWISTON/AUBURN With the constant evolution of new technologies, it has never been easier to be a filmmaker. Granted, it's still difficult as heck to be a good filmmaker, but more people than ever at least have access to the tools necessary to make a movie.

With this abundance of cinematic riches floating around out there, it's nice to know that there are people out there doing their best to ensure that these films have a chance to find an audience. People like the folks in charge of the Lewiston Auburn Film Festival (LAFF).

The third annual LAFF ran from April 4-7, with over 75 films screening at five different venues. While the festival's central events were the world premiere of the Patrick Dempsey-produced documentary 'The Peloton Project' and the weekend-long presence of Les Stroud (of 'Survivorman' fame), there was certainly no shortage of films to be watched and fun to be had, with feature-length offerings, documentaries and a vast array of short films.

There were plenty of movies with famous faces. There was 'Good Men', which features Ed Asner and Mark Rydell. There was 'The Procession' starring Lily Tomlin and Jesse Tyler Ferguson. And a personal favorite 'The Immigrant' starred Scott Thompson of 'The Kids in the Hall,' with a co-starring turn from fellow 'Kid' Dave Foley and guest appearances from Michael Cera, Will Forte and Margaret Cho.

Meanwhile, actor Shia LaBeouf moves behind the camera for 'HowardCantour.com' starring comedian Jim Gaffigan.

And then there's 'Telling Hannah,' a short film put together by a group associated with the University of Maine and nominated for LAFF's Best Maine Film award. Directed by Neil Shelley from a script he co-wrote with his brother Ryan, 'Telling Hannah' is a story of the losses we feel and the painful decisions life sometimes forces us to make. The film stars India Stewart as Hannah; local stage favorites Arthur Morison and Bernard Hope are also featured prominently.

(In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that I also appear in the film in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo. I am brilliant, of course.)

Along with the Best Maine Film award, LAFF recognizes winners in Best Feature, Best Short, Best Documentary and Best Director, as well as bestowing a Best in Festival prize. The winners:

Best Feature: 'Things I Don't Understand'

Best Short: 'Mindfield'

Best Documentary: 'My Father and the Man in Black'

Best Maine: 'VacationLand'

Best Director: Nina Corrado 'Mindfield'

Best in Fest: 'Things I Don't Understand'

It's remarkable how many wonderful and diverse film festivals we have right within arm's reach here in Maine. People have the opportunity to see so much great work. Whether you're heading to Lewiston for LAFF or Waterville for MIFF or Camden for CIFF or staying close to home for the KahBang Film Festival, there's no doubt that movie buffs can find the perfect ways to get their filmic fixes.

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