International Maritime Film Festival announces winning films and program

Submitted by Jane

The 2nd annual International Maritime Film Festival (IMFF) has announced the winning films and upcoming program. The festival will take place at the Alamo Theatre in downtown Bucksport, Maine from Friday, September 29 - Sunday, October 1, 2017. Tickets are available now at and are available as half day, full day, and complete festival passes. Tickets will also be sold at the door, subject to availability. A final festival schedule will be released in coming weeks. IMFF is a partnership between Main Street Bucksport and WoodenBoat Publications.

IMFF is extremely grateful to its sponsors: Brooklin Boatyard, Yachting Solutions, Bucksport Motor Inn, Tradewinds Market, Ocean’s Edge Realty, Dave Gelinas, and Stephens Waring Yacht Design.

The Grand Prize winning film is Translatatic: A Voyage of Discovery. The film portrays students, crew, and faculty as they explore the vast stretch of ocean between Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and Cork, Ireland in June 2016 with the Sea Education Association, a leading non-profit educational institution, and the sailing school Corwith Cramer, a 134’ brigantine that conducts voyages of scientific exploration and leadership development. The film was shot almost completely aboard a tall ship en route and three of the songs in the soundtrack are original productions by the ship’s crew. Chris Nolan is the captain of the vessel and principal videographer and editor of the film. Chris will be at the festival to introduce the film and take audience questions.

This year's Runner Up prize goes to The Boatmaker. This beautiful film portrays architect Ken Minor who spent 25 years building a wooden sailboat in a barn next to his house in a California canyon with the dream of sailing around the world. The film encourages viewers to follow their own dreams, no matter how daunting. Filmmaker Casey McGarry will be at the festival.

The festival will also screen several other feature films and shorts that cover a wide array of maritime topics. They are:

Life by Lobster, a film that contrasts the stark beauty of the Downeast Maine seacoast with the stark reality of earning a living there. Life by Lobster, a 2009 documentary by independent filmmaker Iain McCray Martin, takes you inside the lives of five young lobster fishermen determined to pursue this proud traditional vocation against steadily mounting obstacles.

The Ballad of the Purple Clam is a short animated film made by Adam Fisher, born and raised in Prospect Harbor and now working in animation in Portland, Oregon. The film portrays a Maine clammer who takes to the mudflats in search of the "Great Purple Clam" that bit off his finger.

Bobby and Sonny is a 2016 short film made by Chalkey Calderwood about Bobby & Sonny Warren, who are lifetime lobstermen working on the island of Vinalhaven, Maine. Self proclaimed 'farmers of the sea', their interwoven tales allow us to glimpse on their careers of hauling through thick and thin. Calderwood will be at the festival.

The Deep is a short animated film based on the book of the same name by Eric Best. Best wrote the book for his young daughter while sailing solo across the Pacific. His daughter, now grown, narrates the film.

Rowing is a new feature length film by Mexican filmmaker José Carlos de Isla about the adventure of Abraham Levy, a modern day explorer who crossed the Atlantic Ocean completely on his own. During five months from Spain to Mexico, Levy made the journey aboard the boat “Cascarita" with only the help of a pair of oars.

Acorn to Arabella is a newly produced short film made by two men in western Massachusetts who are documenting their project to build a 38’ wooden sailboat designed in 1934 by William Atkin. Once built they intend to take her to the most far flung corners of the world. When they say “build” they mean just that, from scratch, in their front yard, with their own two hands. Everything for Arabella will be sourced as locally as possible including the lumber cut from their own property. The filmmakers will be at the festival.

MaidenTrip tells the story of 14-year-old who Laura Dekker set out on a two-year voyage in pursuit of her dream to become the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. In the wake of a year-long battle with Dutch authorities that sparked a global storm of media scrutiny, Laura found herself far from land, family, and unwanted attention, exploring the world in search of freedom, adventure, and distant dreams of her early youth at sea. Jillian Schlesinger's debut feature amplifies Laura's brave, defiant voice through a mix of Laura's own video and voice recordings at sea and intimate vérité footage from locations including the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, Australia, and South Africa.

Fire at Sea is a 2016 feature length documentary made by Italian filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi that captures life on the Italian island of Lampedusa, a frontline in the European migrant crisis. Situated some 200km off Italy's southern coast, Lampedusa has hit world headlines in recent years as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern migrants hoping to make a new life in Europe. Rosi spent months living on the Mediterranean island, capturing its history, culture and the current everyday reality of its 6,000-strong local population as hundreds of migrants land on its shores on a weekly basis. The resulting documentary focuses on 12-year-old Samuele, a local boy who loves to hunt with his slingshot and spend time on land even though he hails from a culture steeped in the sea.

Sacred Cod is a feature-length documentary that captures the collapse of the historic cod population in New England, delving into the role of overfishing, the impact of climate change, the effect of government policies on fishermen and the fish, and the prospect of a region built on cod having no cod left to fish.