Last weekend I made my annual trek up to Maine for the Camden International Film Festival (CIFF). I feel lucky to have discovered this awesome festival 5 years ago (!!!) when I went up with the East of Salinas team to pitch at the Points North Forum. I've been going every year since, and *sigh,* I LOVE this festival! In terms of my professional life, there are two weekends a year that I wait for with bated breath: IFFB in April, and CIFF in September. I look forward to the quality programming and thought-provoking content, and I always return home feeling motivated, creative, and inspired. Plus, it's so "New-England-romantic": a tiny little coastal town, the crisp air signaling that fall is right around the corner, and now - 5 years in - a familiar cast of faces from the east coast doc community. It was especially cool being there this year because I nostalgically reminisced about being there last year, 5 months pregnant. It simultaneously felt like yesterday and forever ago. Funny the strange, warping effect parenthood has on time!
Anyway, I really packed it in this year, catching 4 feature docs (Cameraperson, Do Not Resist, Best and Most Beautiful Things, and Newtown), 4 panels (on virtual reality, branded content, cinematography, and social impact campaigns), the Points North Pitch Forum, and a shorts program. The highlight, for me, was a masterclass taught by cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. She didn't shy away from the relationship between the camera(person) and the subject(s). I think too often we're taught to shoot as if we're invisible - a fly-on-the-wall. But she embraced the role of the camera in forging relationships, talking about how the cameraperson's movement through space in and of itself shifts what unfolds in the scene. Really cool food for thought.
Another highlight was Best and Most Beautiful Things, which I had heard a lot about since I know several of the film's principals. I had high expectations based on the press the film has gotten, but my impression ended up being even better than my expectations. I thought it was a fantastic film; beautifully-shot (way to go, Sarah G.!), and edited in such a nuanced way. I don't often say this about documentaries, but I'd really like to see it again. It was that good.
A final highlight from the weekend: the Saturday night party! CIFF parties are always really cool, and this one did not disappoint. The party was in an abandoned mill in Rockland, and the festival decked it out with all sorts of awesome decorations and spaces - including a brass band!!! I am super-proud to say that I stayed up until 3 am dancing... with a 7 month old at home, that is no easy feat :)