The Maine Outdoor Film Festival returns to Portland July 28-Aug. 14, beginning on the lawn behind the Gulf of Maine Research Institute on Commercial Street. (Courtesy MOFF/Nick Bowie)
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Films about conservation and outdoor adventure will be shown as part of the Maine Outdoor Film Festival for the next three weekends.

Director Nick Callanan said this is the festival’s 11th year, but its third year exclusively in Portland. This will also be without COVID-19 restrictions, although he added that as an outdoor festival, the program was fairly safe already. 

MOFF at Eastern Prom
The second weekend of the Maine Outdoor Film Festival takes place on Portland’s Eastern Promenade. (Courtesy MOFF)

Screenings on the first weekend will take place at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute on Commercial Street. The second set will be on the Eastern Promenade, and the third will be at Apres, a hard seltzer and cider bar on Anderson Street.

“It’s a really unique thing for attendees, you get to sit in an outdoor environment where you might enjoy these very activities in the films,” Callanan said. “People like being outside and being able to sit in their camp chairs with their coolers. You can hear the seagulls and the ocean; you can see the stars above. It’s a great community experience.”

Callanan said this year will also mark the first time the festival will have panel discussions. The panels will feature guest speakers and audience questions, each of which will start at 6:30 p.m. and wrap by 7:45 p.m., with the films beginning by 8 p.m. Screenings will conclude by 10 p.m.

The first panel, on July 29 at GMRI, is “Climate Change Storytelling: Anadromous Fish,” about saltwater fish, such as salmon and alewives, that swim upstream in fresh water to spawn. The second panel, on Aug. 12, is “How’d You Get That Shot?,” about cinematography. And the third, on Aug. 14, is “Stories From the Field: Maine Women Filmmakers”; it features four women filmmakers.

MOFF at Apres
Maine Outdoor Film Festival attendees at Apres, on Anderson Street in Portland. (Courtesy MOFF)

Additionally, the festival will hold a MOFF Field Day during the daytime hours on Aug. 13, which includes the Maine Outdoor Brands yard sale, live music, food trucks, and craft drinks.

Callanan said 17 of the 70 films that will screen during the festival have Maine connections, including some filmmakers who will have world premieres. The festival will feature six world premieres, six United States premieres, and 12 Maine premieres.

“You’re sitting there for the amount of time they’re telling their story,” he said. “We’re not Netflix, we’re not broadcast television. This is an opportunity; we are one step from the audience and filmmaker. You can literally connect people unfiltered to the filmmaker.”

Callanan said this year MOFF received more full-length feature submissions than ever and more submissions from women filmmakers.

Callanan said the festival will also present a curated list of the films around the state in a two-hour program called Selected Stories. Tickets for each screening are $15, available at Weekend passes are also available for $40 for the first weekend and $50 for the second and third weekends. A pass for the entire festival costs $110.

A portion of the proceeds from the festival go to Teens to Trails, a Brunswick nonprofit organization that connects middle and high school students with outdoor experiences.

Virtual screenings of the films will also be available.

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