The 10th anniversary edition of the Camden Film Festival will run Thursday evening through Sunday evening, Sept. 25 through 28, at location in Camden, Rockland and Rockport. Following are brief synopses of the 2014 Camden International Film Festival Selections for feature film screenings.

“Actress” (2014, USA), directed by Robert Greene, tells the tale of Brandy Burre, who had a recurring role on HBO’s “The Wire” when she gave up her career to start a family. When she decides to reclaim her life as an actor, the domestic world she has carefully created crumbles around her. Using elements of melodrama and cinema verité, “Actress” is both a present tense portrait of a dying relationship and an exploration of a complicated woman, performing the role of herself, in a complex-yet-familiar story.

“Alive Inside” (2014, USA), directed by Michael Rossato-Bennett, is an exploration of music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity. Rossato-Bennett chronicles the astonishing experiences of individuals who have been revitalized through the simple experience of listening to music. His camera reveals the uniquely human connection we find in music and how its healing power can triumph where prescription medication falls short. This documentary follows social worker Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, as he fights against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.

“Approaching the Elephant” (2014, USA), directed by Amanda Rose Wilder, explore Year One for students Lucy and Jiovanni, and school director Alex, at the Teddy McArdle Free School in Little Falls, N.J., where classes are voluntary and rules are created by democratic vote. Wilder is there from the beginning, observing an indelible cast of outspoken young personalities as they form relationships, explore their surroundings and intensely debate rule violations until it all comes to a head.

“Art and Craft” (2014, USA), directed by Sam Cullman and Jennifer Grausman and co-directed by Mark Becker, focuses on Mark Landis, who has been called one of the most prolific art forgers in United States history. His impressive body of work spans 30 years, covering a wide range of paintings that could fetch impressive sums on the open market —but Landis isn't in it for money. Posing as a philanthropic donor, a grieving executor of a family member’s will and as a Jesuit priest, Landis has given away hundreds of works over the years to a staggering list of institutions. But after duping a tenacious registrar who discovers his ruse and sets out to expose him, Landis must confront his own legacy and a chorus of museum professionals clamoring for him to stop.

“Bugarach” (2014, Spain/Germany), directed by Sergi Cameron, Ventura Durall and Salvador Sunyer, introduces Bugarach. It is a tiny village in southern France where everyone lives a quiet life, isolated from the world … until the day the international media spreads the news that Bugarach is allegedly the only place that will survive doomsday. The arrival of increasingly outlandish strangers soon begins to disturb the local population, and what unfolds is a landscape of existential emptiness.

“Desert Haze” (2014, Netherlands), directed by Sofie Benoot, looks at the American West, a world where human life seems to be impossible — an arid, mythical landscape characterized by the absence of water. But traces start to appear and the film becomes a peculiar portrait of America, between present and past, myth and reality: astronauts preparing for future missions to Mars; Japanese country singers; military archeologists; and many other forms of life.

“E-Team” (2013, USA), directed by Katy Chevigny and Ross Kauffman, is driven by the high-stakes investigative work of four intrepid human rights workers and offers a rare look at their lives at home and in the field. Anna, Ole, Fred and Peter are four members of the Emergencies Team — E-Team — the boots on the ground division of a respected, international human rights group. Arriving as soon as possible after allegations of human rights abuse surface, the E-Team uncovers crucial evidence to determine if further investigation is warranted and to give voice to thousands whose stories would otherwise never have been told.

“Florence, Arizona” (2014, USA), directed by Andrea Scott, is a CIFF Sneak Preview. Its subject is a cowboy town with a prison problem. Founded in 1866, this bastion of the Wild West is home to 8,500 civilians and 17,000 inmates spread over nine prisons. Through an unconventional lens, this film weaves together the stories of four key residents of Florence whose lives have all been shadowed in some way by the surrounding prison industrial complex. The result is an intricately crafted cinematic tapestry, threaded through with deep strands of Americana, humor, intimacy and pathos, revealing as much about ourselves as it does about our modern carceral state.

“A Goat for a Vote” (2014, Netherlands), directed by Jeroen van Velzen, follows three students in Kenya competing to become the next school president. Winning the election will not only earn them power and respect, but also guarantees a role within Kenyan society in the future. Magdalene has to prove herself in a boy-dominated school that has never been led by a girl and has the impossible task of uniting all girls in her fight for equal rights. Harry, from the poor side of town, hopes to win so he will be able to take care of his family in the future. He struggles against the popular Said, who is a natural born leader with a disarming smile.

“The Great Invisible” (2014, USA), directed by Margaret Brown, looks deeply at the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed 11 workers and caused the worst oil spill in American history. The explosion still haunts the lives of those most intimately affected, although the story has long ago faded from the front page. At once a fascinating corporate thriller, a heartbreaking human drama and a peek inside the walls of the secretive oil industry, this is the first documentary feature to go beyond the media coverage to examine the crisis in-depth through the eyes of oil executives, survivors and Gulf Coast residents who experienced it first-hand.

“Guidelines (La Marche à Suivre)” (2014, Canada), directed by Jean-Francois Caissy, is a series of tableaux illustrating the occasionally trying existence of young people at a rural secondary school. Emphasizing the contrasts between the regulated environment of the classroom and the beckoning freedom of the great outdoors, the film gradually reveals the interior drama of adolescence, with its shifts from fragility to reckless abandon.

“Happiness” (2013, France/Finland), directed by Thomas Balmes, introduces Peyangki, a dreamy and solitary 8-year-old monk living in Laya, a Bhutanese village perched high in the Himalayas. Soon the world will come to him: the village will be connected to electricity, and the first television will flicker on before Peyangki's eyes.

“Happy Valley” (2014, USA), directed by Amir Bar-Lev, explores the town of State College, home of Penn State University, in the heart of an area long known as Happy Valley. Its iconic figure for more than 40 years was Joe Paterno, head coach of the school's storied football team, who took on mythic national stature as “Saint Joe.” But in November 2011, everything came crashing down when former Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse. Filmed over the course of the year after Sandusky's arrest, “Happy Valley” chronicles the ensuing firestorm of accusations about who failed to protect Happy Valley's children. The film serves as a parable of guilt, responsibility and identity for a small town caught in the glare of the national spotlight.

“In Country” (2014, USA), directed by Mike Attie and Meghan O’Hara, asks if War is Hell, why would anyone want to spend their weekends there? Few would mistake Oregon’s grassy fields for the jungles of Vietnam, but war re-enactors try. Dressed in fatigues, these men willingly recreate a war most choose to forget. This at times humorous, but ultimately disquieting, trip into the men’s minds and private lives blurs fantasy with trauma, therapy with nostalgia. The effect is purposefully disorienting — is this harmless enthusiasm for a hobby or unhealthy fandom for a brutal war? “In Country,” a Points North Pitch alum, is a powerful commentary on a culture that venerates a past from which it hasn’t yet recovered.

“The Iron Ministry” (2014, USA), directed by J.P. Sniadecki, was filmed over three years on China’s railways and traces the vast interiors of a country on the move. Scores of rail journeys come together into one, capturing the thrills and anxieties of social and technological transformation. “The Iron Ministry” immerses audiences in fleeting relationships and uneasy encounters between humans and machines on what will soon be the world’s largest railway network.

“The Last Season” (2014, USA), directed by Sara Dosa, reveals the intersection, amid the bustling world of central Oregon’s wild matsutake mushroom hunting camps, of the lives of two former soldiers. Roger, a 75-year-old sniper with the U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam, and Kouy, a 46-year-old platoon leader of Cambodia’s Khmer Freedom Fighters who battled the brutal Khmer Rouge, come together each fall to hunt the elusive matsutake, a rare mushroom prized in Japanese culture and cuisine. In the woods, the pair discovers more than just mushrooms. They find a new life, a new livelihood and a means to slowly heal the scarring wounds of war. Told over the course of one matsutake mushroom season, “The Last Season” is a journey into the woods and into the memory of war and survival, telling a story of family from an unexpected place.

“Mateo” (2014, USA), directed by Aaron I. Naar, introduces Matthew Stoneman, who dreamed of pop stardom but instead went to jail, learned Spanish and emerged as Mateo, America’s first white mariachi singer. Mateo is on the brink of completing an album of original songs in Havana but his estrangement from friends and family, his criminal past and his love for Cuban women could derail him on his quest for fame. This film is another Points North Pitch alum.

“Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown” (2014, USA), directed by Alex Gibney, offers, with unique cooperation of the Brown estate, the definitive documentary biography of the James Brown story and legend, 1933–1974. Brown changed the face of American music; Soul Brother Number One, as he was known, pioneered the journey from rhythm and blues to funk. More than that, this American legend — who willed himself to life after he was stillborn — was a classic embodiment of the American dream. The son of a “turpentine man” from rural South Carolina, Brown became one the greatest live performers ever known, the “hardest working man in show business” and a self-made millionaire.

“Ne Me Quitte Pas” (2013, Netherlands/Belgium), directed by Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden, is a tragicomic ode to failure. Set in a village on the edge of Belgium, Bob (Flemish) and Marcel (Walloon) share their solitude, sense of humor and craving for alcohol. They have agreed that suicide is the best way out if worse comes to worst and, in that case, they have chosen the perfect spot to do so: under the tree of life of Bob, a retired cowboy. The authenticity of the main characters is painful and confronting, yet entertaining and utterly charming, in this Belgian drama about life on the brink of society in all its beauty, modesty and irony.

“The Notorious Mr. Bout” (2014, Russia/USA), directed by Tony Gerber and Maxim, tells the tale of a Russian entrepreneur, war profiteer, aviation magnate, arms smuggler and, strangest of all, amateur filmmaker — until three days prior to his 2008 arrest on charges of conspiring to kill Americans, Bout kept the camera running, documenting a life spent in the gray areas of international law. Dubbed the Merchant of Death, and portrayed by Nicolas Cage in “Lord of War,” Viktor Bout can justifiably be called the world’s most famous arms dealer. With unprecedented access to Bout’s home movies and DEA surveillance material gathered during the sting operation to bring him down, this film is a portrait of a life much mythologized but little understood.

“The Overnighters” (2014, USA), directed by Jess Moss, begins when hydraulic fracturing unlocks a vast oil field in North Dakota’s Bakken shale and tens of thousands of unemployed men descend on the state with dreams of honest work and a big paycheck. In the tiny town of Williston, busloads of newcomers step into the sad reality of slim work prospects and nowhere to sleep. Over at Concordia Lutheran Church, Pastor Jay Reinke is hell-bent on delivering the migrants some dignity. Night after night, he converts his church into a makeshift dorm and counseling center, opening the church’s doors to the “overnighters,” as he calls them. This film engages and dramatizes universal themes: the promise and limits of re-invention; redemption; and compassion.

“Point and Shoot” (2014, USA), directed by two-time Academy Award nominated documentary filmmaker Marshall Curry, tells a harrowing and sometimes humorous story of a young man’s struggle for political revolution and personal transformation. In 2006, Matt VanDyke, a timid 26-year-old with obsessive-compulsive disorder, left home in Baltimore and set off on a self-described crash course in manhood: he bought a motorcycle and a video camera and began a three-year, 35,000-mile motorcycle trip through Northern Africa and the Middle East. While traveling, he struck up an unlikely friendship with a Libyan hippie and when revolution broke out in Libya, Matt joined his friend in the fight against dictator Moammar Gadhafi. With a gun in one hand and a camera in the other, Matt fought in — and filmed — the war until he was captured by Gadhafi forces and held in solitary confinement for six months.

“Rich Hill” (2014, USA), directed by Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo, takes its name from a town in Missouri that could be any of the countless small towns that blanket America’s heartland. To teenagers Andrew, Harley and Appachey, it’s home and as they ride their skateboards, go to football practice, and arm-wrestle their fathers, they are like millions of other boys coming of age the world over. But faced with unfortunate circumstances — an imprisoned mother, isolation, instability and parental unemployment — adolescence can be a day-to-day struggle just to survive. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, “Rich Hill” is a moving examination of the challenges, hopes and dreams of rural America’s youth.

“The Search for General Tso” (2014, USA), directed by Ian Cheney, asks who was General Tso … and why are we eating his chicken? It explores the phenomenon of Chinese American food through the lens of America’s most popular Chinese takeout meal. On a lively journey through restaurants, Chinatowns and American popular culture, the film unravels the mysterious origins of General Tso’s Chicken —and in the process explores a larger story of immigration and cultural exchange. A quest brimming with mystery and humor ends in a surprisingly poignant visit with the 92-year-old inventor of the chicken that conquered America.

“Seeds of Time” (2014, USA), directed by Sandy McLeod, examines the perfect storm brewing as agriculture pioneer Cary Fowler races against time to protect the future of our food. Gene banks of the world are crumbling, crop failures are producing starvation-inspired rioting and the accelerating effects of climate change are already affecting farmers globally. But Fowler’s journey, and our own, is just beginning. From Rome to Russia and, finally, a remote island under the Arctic Circle, Fowler's passionate and personal journey may hold the key to saving the one resource we cannot live without — our seeds.

“Silenced” (2014, USA), directed by Academy Award nominated documentarian James Spione, investigates what really happened inside the USA security establishment after the events of Sept. 11th, 2001 that caused it to radically change course in profound and lasting ways. Exploring the unique courage and character it takes to challenge unethical behavior from within the American national security establishment, “Silenced” offers a provocative critique of systemic failures of the U.S. government and its draconian over-reactions. The film, through its vivid characters, challenges the national narrative from which our mainstream discourse seldom deviates: of America the victim, protecting liberties at home and abroad.

“Song from the Forest” (2014, Germany), directed by Michael Obert, is a modern epic in which the shared journey of father and son steers towards a surprising reversal of roles and gives the viewer an intimation that the African rainforest and urban America, apparently separated worlds, are not all that separate after all. As a young man, American-born Louis Sarno heard a song on the radio that never let him out of its grasp. He followed the mysterious sounds back to the Central African rainforest, found his music with the Bayaka pygmies and never came back. Today, 25 years later, Louis is a full member of this community of hunters and gatherers and now has a son, 13-year-old Samedi. Louis travels with his son from the African rainforest to a jungle made of concrete, glass and asphalt: New York City.

“Tomorrow We Disappear” (2014, USA), directed by Jimmy Goldblum and Adam Webber, is a documentary about Kathputli, India’s last colony of magicians, acrobats and puppeteers. Since the 1970s, New Delhi’s magicians, puppeteers and acrobats have called the tinsel slum, the Kathputli Colony, their home. Last year, the government issued relocation permits to the colony residents; the slum is to be bulldozed, cleared for development. Viewers will experience the last remnants of this culture born out of folk art and molded by poverty.

“Two Raging Grannies” (2014, Norway/Denmark/Italy), directed by Havard Bustnes, is a touching and thought-provoking documentary that challenges the idea that we must continue to shop, consume, amass and keep the economy growing. A combination of curiosity and frustration with the status quo drives Shirley and Hinda, two gutsy, nearly 90-year-old American women, to seek answers to the burning question on everyone’s mind: How do we get out of this economic mess? Armed with courage, humor, a long friendship and a zest for life, Shirley and Hinda take to cities and towns across the USA and demonstrate that it is never too late to make a difference.

“Virunga” (2014, UK), directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, goes to the Virunga National Park in the forested depths of eastern Congo, one of the most bio-diverse places in the world and home to the last of the mountain gorillas. In this wild, but enchanted environment, a small and embattled team of park rangers —including an ex-child soldier turned ranger, a caretaker of orphan gorillas and a Belgian conservationist — protect this UNESCO world heritage site from armed militia, poachers and the dark forces struggling to control Congo’s rich natural resources. When the newly formed M23 rebel group declares war in May 2012, a new conflict threatens the lives and stability of everyone and everything they’ve worked so hard to protect.

“Waiting for August” (2014, Belgium), directed by Teodora Ana Mihae, offers intimate scenes from daily life. Georgiana Halmac is turning 15 this winter. She lives with her six siblings in a social housing condo on the outskirts of Bacau (Romania) and their mother, Liliana, an economic migrant in Torino, will not be back until the summer. During her mother’s absence, Georgiana is catapulted to the role of new head of the family and her adolescence is brutally cut short, as she is now responsible for her brothers and sisters. Caught between puberty and responsibility, she moves ahead improvising.

“Walking Under Water” (2014, UK/Germany/Poland), directed by Eliza Kubarska, celebrates Alexan, the last compressor diver on Mabul Island near Borneo, as he teaches 10-year-old Sari everything he knows, from dangerous fishing techniques and the temptations of the tourist economy to wisdom about the underwater world. The film presents the Badjao tribe’s ancient traditions and collective experience as a magical narrative, spinning the urgent pressures and problems they face into a hybrid of fantasy, fiction and fact. The Badjao people once lived like fish, spending the majority of their time in the water, but with the encroachment of modern civilization, that way of life has become nearly extinct. Breathtaking underwater photography emphasizes this loss and the drought of enchantment on dry land.

“Wild Home” (2014, USA), directed by Jack Schurman and Robert Schurman, is a documentary film about Bob Miner, a Vietnam veteran who has found his way back to the world by rehabilitating abused and abandoned animals deep in the woods of Maine. Along with his wife, Julie, they’ve built a kingdom where they care for lions, tigers, hyenas, kangaroos, black bears and more than 200 other species of animals. Created in the tradition of intimate, character documentaries such as “The Cruise” and “Little Dieter Needs to Fly,” the film follows the quiet redemption of a man who has found peace by creating his own kingdom in the most unusual of places and sharing it with the world. This made-in-Maine film is one of this year’s Made-in-Maine Dirigo Docs.

Short Film Selections

CIFF also will screen a number of short films. Selected for the 2014 festival are “3 Acres in Detroit” (2013, USA/France), directed by Nora Mandray; “A Marriage to Remember” (2014, USA), directed by Banker White and Anna Fitch; “Adrift” (2013, Belgium/Columbia), directed by Frederik Jan Depickere; “The Animated Life of A.R. Wallace” (2013, USA), directed by Flora Lichtman and Sharon Shattuck; “Bridge Tender” (2014, USA), directed by Hunter Snyder (Maine-made Dirigo Short); “Cathedrals (Kathedralen)” (2013, Germany), directed by Konrad Kästner; “Changing Hands: Rocky Ridge Organic Dairy,” “Pig Not Pork: Farmers Gate Market” and “Seeding a Dream: Sheepscot General Store” (all 2014, USA), directed by Bridget Besaw (Dirigo Shorts/Growing Local); “Crooked Candy” (2014, USA), directed by Andrew Rodgers; “The Dogwalker (Hundvakten)” (2014, Sweden), directed by Caroline Ingvarsson; “Foundry Night Shift” (2014, USA), directed by Steven Bognar; “Hacked Circuit” (2014, USA), directed by Deborah Stratman; “The Hermit” (2014, USA), directed by Lena Freidrich (Maine-made Dirigo Short); “Home” (2012, New Zealand), directed by Thomas Gleeson; “Katah-Din” (2014, USA), directed by Taylor Dunne (Maine-made Dirigo Short); “The Last Days of Peter Bergmann” (2014, Ireland), directed by Ciaran Cassidy; “Last Reel” (2014, USA), directed by Steven Bognar; “The Lion’s Mouth Opens” (2014, USA), directed by Lucy Walker; “The Murder Ballad of James Jones” (2014, USA), directed by Jesse Kreitzer; “No Exit” (2014, USA), directed David Redmon and Ashley Sabin (Maine-made Dirigo Short); “Notes on Blindness (2014, UK/USA/Australia), directed by Peter Middleton and James Spinney; “One Year Lease” (2014, USA), directed by Brian Bolster; “Party Line” (2014, USA), directed by Alan Magee (Maine-made Dirigo Short); “Phoebe’s Birthday Cheeseburger” (2013, USA), directed by Will Lennon; “Pink Helmet Posse” (2014, USA), directed by Benjamin Mullinkosson and Kristelle Laroche; “Santa Cruz Del Islote” (2014, USA), directed by Luke Lorentzen; “Twenty eight feet: Life on a Little Boat” (2013, USA), directed by Kevin A. Fraser; and “Unlocking the Truth” (2013, USA), directed by Luke Meyer.

For more information on each film, as well as festival passes and other ticket information, visit