Camden International Film Festival has been recognized in two separate international lists created by leaders in the documentary industry.

In mid-December, filmmaker and writer A.J. Schnack enlisted a cast of filmmakers and industry leaders to weigh in on the top 25 film festivals worldwide. This list, now in its second edition, has been one of the most valuable resources for filmmakers looking to navigate the overcrowded festival schedule. After a dynamic five years, CIFF was able to secure a spot at No. 19.

Although CIFF is the youngest and most remote festival to make the list, the jury had this to say: “This small (but growing) documentary festival on the coast of Maine burst onto the scene in a major way this year … If a festival can be cozy and stimulating at the same time, then Camden is creating an exciting event to kick off the insanity that is the fall festival tour and is poised to become the top US doc showcase in the fall.”

In late January, Toronto International Film Festivals Documentary Program Director Thom Powers released his inaugural list of 20 Under 40: Film Industry Talent to Watch. The list focused on individuals working in the film industry, but not necessarily filmmakers. Among the list were leaders from distribution companies, grant organizations, industry associations and Camden International Film Festival’s founder and director, Ben Fowlie. Powers said “Fowlie of the Camden Film Festival has put a small town on the map of a crowded festival calendar. In order for film culture to flourish, we could use an organizer like Ben in every small town.”

“It’s a real honor to be recognized in such a big way,” said Fowlie. “We’ve been committed to making Midcoast Maine a center for documentary since our first festival in 2005. It’s wonderful to see not only our local audiences and support grow each year, but also the interest from the international documentary community. It seems like all eyes are on CIFF this year!”

CIFF is committed to supporting and generating interest in independent documentary films, presenting a snapshot of the cultural landscape through the year’s best non-fiction storytelling. The sixth annual festival will take place this fall at venues in Camden, Rockport and Rockland. For more information on the festival, visit

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to