New Maine film festival debuts this month

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The inaugural Lumina Festival, featuring recently released films set in India, Russia, the Philippines, and Africa, will take place at Railroad Square Cinema, in Waterville, April 17-19. The festival, presented by the Maine Film Center, will comprise screenings, discussions with filmmakers, receptions, a concert, and the Maine Film Academy Awards Gala.

Lumina is a partnership with the American Film Institute’s Project 20/20, an international initiative designed to enhance cultural exchange, understanding, and collaboration through filmmakers and their films from the U.S. and abroad. In addition to Waterville, cities participatingin the 2009 project are St. Louis, Honolulu, New Orleans, Dallas, and Santa Fe.

Five films, including one based in Maine, are scheduled:

• Of All The Things

Documentary:  Songwriter and producer Dennis Lambert topped the Billboard charts with hits like “Ain’t No Woman Like The One I’ve Got,” “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Baby Come Back.” Now selling real estate, Lambert journeys to the Philippines where his obscure 1972 solo album is huge.

• The Way We Get By

Documentary: The inspirational story of three senior Mainers who have welcomed American soldiers arriving at Bangor International Airport since 2003.

• Alone in Four Walls

Documentary: A film about the troubled pasts, and hopeful futures of Russian delinquent boys, all under the age of 14, living in a juvenile detention center. A poignant, truthful, sometimes funny documentary.

• Amal

Feature. In chaotic New Delhi, India, a man cheats everyone he meets. When Amal, a poor bicycle taxi driver, generously allows him to dodge his fare, both are affected in a way that has far-reaching consequences.

• Throw Down Your Heart

Documentary. American banjo player Bela Fleck travels to Africa to meet with local musicians and uncover the roots of the instrument that is now regarded as quintessentially American.

The Maine Film Center also presents the Maine International Film Festival, which is slated July 10-19, 2009.