Lights, Camera, Mayhem!

By Jack Gentempo

Before there were movies, humans drew pictures on cave walls to tell stories. Then humans invented community college, and everything changed. On Wednesday, May 10, five students from the SMCC Communications and New Media program will be premiering their short films at Nickelodeon Cinemas at 1 Temple Street in Portland. I reached out to a few of these young Spielbergs and Shyamalans to hear what they have to say about their films and the stories that inspired them.

‘It’s a Match!’
Director: Nicole Kumi

In the director’s words:

“It’s a Match is a documentary, featuring Evelyn Waugh, that follows her navigating the online dating world using Tinder a dating service app. The film shows a glimpse into her day to day life and follows her on two Tinder dates. When making the film I wanted to capture the awkwardness of dating in your 20s and how first dates can be so cringe-worthy. The film certainly captures that and much more. People will have to come to the showing at Maine Mayhem to see if her dates were a Match!”

Q: Why did you choose a documentary format?

A: “I chose a documentary format because I love sharing real stories. I’m fascinated with real people and real stories. Although, I like fictional narrative storytelling I do feel like a director can comment and shed a light on stories that need to be told in our community. I’m also interested in going into a career in reality television because I feel like it falls into that same category. This documentary was such a learning experience for myself since I worked so hard on it.”

 

‘The Windigo’

The Windigo BTS 04

Director: Ness Hutchins

In the director’s words:

“The Windigo is about a young Native American woman, Kaye, who is tormented by a monster in her dreams after her beloved grandmother passes away. Meanwhile, people in their small town start turning up dead, and Kaye believes it’s her grandmother back for revenge.”

Q: Do you have a personal connection to Native American culture?

A: “I don’t have Native American heritage, although, like Kaye the protagonist, I lost a grandmother I was very close to. She was a great storyteller. Writing Kaye as Native and including the oral storytelling tradition felt like a way to bring her character to life by tapping into some of my own (white) experiences. Being a white person writing about a culture different than my own, I wanted to show Kaye through a filter of life challenges everyone faces and can relate to. But, I also tried to subtly show how her experiences might be different, like being alienated from your white small town and not having a good support system from your community.”

There will be a 7 p.m. screening at the Nickelodeon, followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers. If you don’t have a car or you miss the bus into Portland, there will also be an encore screening at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are available right now on the Nickelodeon website. If you are an expert procrastinator and find yourself without tickets on May 10, there will also be a screening on May 12 at Central Gallery, 89 Central Street, Bangor. Additional information can be found at the Maine Mayhem Film Festival’s FaceBook page.

‘Wizard Wars’

Wizard Wars (Maine Mayhem)

Director: Nicholas Cavanaugh

In the director’s words:

“Wizard Wars is about two wizards who battle to the death for different reasons. Nicholiavage who is a wanted wizard and has supposedly been dead for years is the only one who can fight against Kelcey, the power hungry witch. Kelcey is also Nicholiavage’s first and only love. Now he must decide does he destroy her or does he save her from the dark path she is on. Throughout the film, Nicholiavage will struggle to try and turn Kelcey back to being good, but he also must stay ahead of the law.”

Q: Are any of the characters in “Wizard Wars” based off of real people?

A: “Nicholiavage is based off me because it was the nickname given to me by my co-writer (David Beane). He used to call me Nicholiavage when there was another Nick in the room. One time after using After Effects, and learning After Effects, he said, “Nicholas, we should do a video off this.” I’m like, “Okay. What would my character be?” He’s like “Nicholiavage.” I’m like “Okay.” So that’s how Nicholiavage came to exist.”

‘The Mustang, The Hand, and the Big Man’

Mustang (Maine Mayhem)

Director: Andrew Anzora

In the director’s words:

“The Mustang is searching for memories stolen from her- stolen and distributed among high-ranking​ employees of the shadowy organization known as The Company. As she tracks down these members, she must evade the gun for hire after her on behalf of those she’s hunting- The Hand, and face off with the one in charge of it all — The Big Man.”

Q: What was the hardest part of making “The Mustang, The Hand, and the Big Man”?

A: “The hardest part was something no one ever told me about. I knew all about the pitfalls of production… My hardest problem was my expectations of myself and of the movie. I’m constantly trying to outdo not only my contemporaries but really myself. I want the growth to show, you know? So, finding out where my limitations were and kind of being humbled by them has been a process, but now I know where my bar is and where I need to surpass myself next time!”

‘Leap of Faith’

Leap of Faith (Maine Mayhem)

Director: Chris Motley

In the director’s words:

“Leap of Faith is a religious comedy about a young man named Lu, who believes he is being punished by God. He longs for a girl named Eve but never makes his presence known to her because he has isolated himself due to his condition. Then Lu befriends his new neighbor, a pastor with a serious alcohol problem, and they try to put their heads together and finally answer the big question: Why is Lu being punished? And more importantly, can he put a stop to it? The film aims to make you laugh and think at the same time.”

Q: Is there anything in your life that you drew inspiration from while making “Leap of Faith”?

A: “I had the idea sitting in a church, thinking it was funny how not religious I am. I thought it wouldn’t be surprising if being in the church made me burst into flames. And the idea went from there! I did draw a lot on the need to have a scapegoat. I think we all feel more comfortable when we have someone to blame for our problems other than ourselves. It lets us be flawed without feeling guilty about it.”

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