POSTPONED TO FEB. 28

Casting a winner

Local film makes MOOF
By Dagney C. Ernest | Feb 12, 2014
Photo by: Keren Zuker Casting for Recovery alum Tina Cyr and Fly Fishing in Maine volunteer guide Greg Hutchinson make a catch in “No Regrets.”

Unity — **************** THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO FEB. 28 ****************************

The Maine Outdoor Film Festival, which had its second incarnation last summer at The Forks, is bringing selected short films to Unity College Center for the Performing Arts on Valentine’s Day. The screening will start at 7 p.m., presented by festival founder Nick Callanan.

Admission is $10 in advance and will be $12 at the door, with a portion of proceeds going to the nonprofit Teens to Trails.

The festival’s films are not all Maine-based or Maine-made, but rather represent a diversity of outdoor disciplines. They come from all around the country and, thanks to an award-winning film from Belgium this fest, the world. One of them comes from the Midcoast — “No Regrets,” a 12-minute film by Unity’s Brian Donaghy and his Allagash Films.

“No Regrets” is the first film Donaghy has made, aside from tutorials and occasional work for local TV. He spends as much time as he can outdoors, working as a hunting and fishing guide, primarily as a moose-hunting guide. For a number of years, he has volunteered to be a guide for Fly Fishing in Maine’s camp for alumnae of Casting For Recovery, and his film was shot during FFIM’s 2013 event.

Casting for Recovery is a national program that holds a three-day retreat each year for breast cancer survivors. The combination may sound strange at first but in fact, the motion used in casting a line is specific to the muscles and tissues targeted in recovery. The CFR retreats offer a long weekend in the wild, removed from the stresses of medical treatment, home or the workplace. In addition to the outdoor activity, attendees have access to counseling, educational services and trained therapists — all free of charge.

Maine’s Casting for Recovery program is coordinated by Bonnie Holding, a registered Master Maine Guide of sports trout and salmon fishing, and is held at one of the state’s wilderness sporting camps. The CFR retreats are limited to just 14 participants per year; applicants can be anywhere along the breast cancer continuum.

“Fly Fishing in Maine thought it would be great to continue that and started a day eight years ago that CFR alumnae are eligible to do. Each year, there are 15 women and about 15 volunteer guides,” said Donaghy.

A couple of years ago, someone said they wanted to film the alum event and Donaghy, who has some experience and equipment, offered to assist. The day turned out to be rainy and, well, the would-be filmmaker never showed up. Last year, Donaghy stepped up to the plate — with reservations.

“I really thought it would be super to document it, so I said I would do it. I told them I couldn’t guarantee anything, didn’t know if it would be five, 10 or 15 minutes … or good, bad, whatever,” he said.

It was a challenging shoot, in Rangeley. There were a number of small groups along the river, sometimes 20 miles apart. At the end of a 12-hour day, Donaghy had about two hours of footage to work through. His girlfriend Keren Zucker, a professional photographer, documented the day, as well.

“I did the editing myself, have the software from doing tutorials. I uploaded it to Fly Fishing in Maine and started getting comments from people. Since they were positive, I decided to enter it in the festival,” said Donaghy.

His “No Regrets” ended up as one of the 2013 MOOF selections and then was included in the tour, which began last fall with stops at L.L. Bean in Freeport and in Portland. The second leg begins in Unity and will go on to Sugarloaf, Washington Country Community College and Windham and Cony high schools. The tour’s beneficiary is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting high school outing clubs in the state of Maine.

The public’s response to his first film has been gratifying; perhaps the best indicator of its success is that it seems to capture the special nature of the day and of the Maine outdoors, which Donaghy said he thinks many people take for granted.

“For some of the women, Casting for Recovery is the only time they’ve been fishing. Some did it as kids or just now and then. It doesn’t matter if you catch a lot of fish or even any, it’s just a neat thing for them to share,” he said.

Donaghy added that he plans to put the FFIM day on his calendar every year, “although my girlfriend has been trying to get me to go to Alaska. But if I’m here, I’m doing it,” he said.

For more information about Casting for Recovery, visit castingforrecovery.org. FFIM is accepting applications for its May 31 day camp for alumnae of Casting For Recovery; for more information, send email to kbeaulieu@flyfishinginMaine.org. Following are short synopses of the films on this year’s MOOF Selects Tour.

• “A Life Well Lived: Jim Whittaker & 50 Years of Everest" is a 4-minute film by Washington State’s Eric Becker. Jim Whittaker summited Everest May 1, 1963, with the Sherpa Nawang Gombu (a nephew of Tenzing Norgay), becoming the first American to achieve this summit.

• “Ma Forêt” is a 7-minute Belgian film by Sebastien Pins offering a child’s-eye view of traveling throughout a forest to discover its magic and mysteries.

• “The Way We Live” is a 20-minute film by Taylor Walker of Millinocket. While Maine sits on the outskirts of the whitewater world, there is a core group of dedicated paddlers here pushing the sport and their own personal limits every day.

• “Stan Herd: Down To Earth,” a 27-minute film by Missouri’s Bradley Beenders, paints an intimate portrait of international earthwork artist Stan Herd creating large-scale images best viewed from above the earth.

• Donaghy’s “No Regrets.”

• “Riding Knife's Edge," a 5-minute film by Portland’s Owen Cassidy and Nick Bowie, captures a snowboarding first descent of Knife's Edge on Katahdin.

• “Inspired to Explore” is an 8-minute film by Joel Osgood of Lewiston. Last summer, a Lewiston-Auburn youth group discovered nature and adventure — and, in the process, found their voices, power and potential.

• “Donnie Vincent: The River's Divide,” a 47-minute documentary by Kyle Nickolite of Wisconsin, depicts a bowhunting journey into the Badlands of North Dakota, chasing a whitetail deer known as “Steve.”

The screening is part of the statewide Great Maine Outdoor Weekend; to purchase advance tickets, visit uccpa.unity.edu or call 948-7469. For more information on the Maine Outdoor Film Festival, visit maineoutdoorfilm.com.

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Staff Profile

Dagney C. Ernest
A&E editor for Courier Publications, LLC
(207) 594-4401/4407, ext. 115
Email Me

Dagney has been providing Courier coverage of the local arts scene since 1985 and has helmed the multi-paper A&E section since it debuted in 2003. She has been a local performing artist, community and professional, for almost 30 years and spent a decade writing, producing and announcing on-air for several Midcoast radio stations. When not in the NewsNest, Dagney likes to be in motion.

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