Local filmmakers win awards at the 25th Maine International Film Festival

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WATERVILLE – The Maine Film Center announces the winners of the Tourmaline and People’s Choice awards for the 25the Annual Maine International Film Festival. From July 8-17, this year’s MIFF showcased nearly 100 films, 22 of which were made in Maine.

The Tourmaline Awards, presented for the first time this year and named after Maine’s state jewel, are juried prizes for the festival’s best films made in Maine. These prizes were awarded in two categories: feature film and short film.

The winner of the Tourmaline Award in the feature film category, as well as a cash prize of $5,000, is “Sunner,” the story of two young artists who attempt to create a memorial for their hometown and the experience of their generation before there is no one left who remembers. Written and directed by Henry Spritz, “Sunner” was filmed in Belfast, Sanford, Portland and Westbrook using local talent.

The winner of the Tourmaline award in the short film category, as well as a cash prize of $2,500, is “Le Carrefour (The Intersection)”. Directed by Daniel Quintanilla and Jessamine Irwin, “Le Carrefour” is the moving story of the friendship between Cécile, a French-Canadian, and Trésor, a Franco-African immigrant seeking asylum in Lewiston, Maine. Their intertwined stories reflect the repeated history of discrimination and oppression that Francophone Mainers have faced and continue to endure.

“It is so important to recognize and celebrate Maine filmmakers, who each year create original works that shine a light on the people and stories of our state,” said Mike Perreault, Festival Director. “It’s a tremendous achievement to create an independent film here, and we’re proud that these first Tourmaline Awards allow these talented filmmakers to continue their work.”

Throughout the festival, audiences voted for their favorite feature films, and this year’s Audience Favorite winner is ‘Hopeful: The Story of MaineWorks’, directed by Ian McCrudden. Another film made in Maine, “Hopeful” is the story of Margo Walsh, who built a business from her kitchen table as a single mother. His company, MaineWorks, exclusively employs ex-convicts and recovering individuals, is fully operational in Maine, and is expanding to five other states.

MIFF is a project of the Maine Film Center and is made possible through the presentation of sponsors Waterville Creates, Colby College and the Lawry Family Foundation.

The Maine Film Center (MFC) brings world-class independent films to central Maine through the Railroad Square Cinema, the only Sundance Art House Project theater in Maine; the annual Maine International Film Festival, a 10-day celebration that attracts filmmakers and moviegoers from around the world; and providing impactful and accessible film exhibitions and educational programs. MFC believes that art and culture have the power to enrich lives, strengthen community ties and serve as an economic engine. MFC is a division of Waterville Creates. For more information, visit MaineFilmCenter.org.

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