Camden International Film Festival has announced the slate of feature and short films for its 11th edition, which will run Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 17 through 20, at venues in Camden, Rockport and Rockland. CIFF will present more than 60 features and short films from across the globe, the country and the state, with filmmakers attending nearly every screening.

This year’s program includes more international titles than ever. The Camden International Film Festival presents a snapshot of the cultural landscape through the year’s best nonfiction storytelling. CIFF is recognized as one of the top documentary film festivals in the world and one of the 12 best small-town film festivals in the United States.

Highlights of this year’s program include Locarno Film Festival (Switzerland) titles “Machine Gun or Typewriter,” “The Ground We Won” and winner “Olmo and the Seagull”; and, fresh from the Toronto International Film Festival, climate change documentary “This Changes Everything” and Points North alums “Containment “and “Drawing the Tiger.”

In addition to the titles listed below, CIFF will screen a sidebar program of historic ethnographic films with support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; a program celebrating the home movie archives of Charles Norman Shay in collaboration with Northeast Historic Film; and the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking Shorts List, whose titles will be announced at the festival.

"We couldn’t be more thrilled with this year’s festival program," said Ben Fowlie, founder and executive director of the Camden International Film Festival. "This complex, diverse and engaging lineup is yet another reminder that the documentary form is both thriving and continuously evolving. We’re honored to share the vision and voices of this remarkable group of American and international filmmakers.”

CIFF also has announced its Points North Documentary Forum lineup of films, speakers and panels; see Following are brief synopses of the 2015 Camden International Film Festival Selections for feature film screenings.

“Above and Below” (2015, Switzerland/ Germany), directed by Nicolas Steiner, takes viewers far, far away and out of sight, where April, Dave, Cindy, Rick and the Godfather are creating life on their own terms, off the grid and under the radar. From the depths of the flood channels under Sin City, to a reclaimed military bunker in the middle of the dusty, heated Californian nowhere land to beyond the stratosphere where Mars now lives on earth, each has been flung into — or chosen — periling circumstances.

“All Things Ablaze” (2014, Ukraine), directed by Oleksandr Technyski, Aleksey Solodunov and Dmitry Stoykov, plunges viewers into the Ukrainian winter of 2013–2014. The film is an impassioned record of the Ukrainian uprising that challenges the usual biased political stances and tries to look at the very core of a complex and violent conflict.

“Best of Enemies” (2014, USA), directed by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon, is a behind-the-scenes account of the explosive 1968 televised debates between liberal Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley Jr. The film delves into the entangled biographies of these two great thinkers and luxuriates in the language and the theater of their debates, begging the question, "What has television done to the way we discuss politics in our democracy today?”

“Breaking a Monster” (2015, USA) is directed by Luke Meyer, who will attend the screening. Chronicling the break-out year of the band Unlocking the Truth, the film follows 13-year-old members Alec Atkins, Malcolm Brickhouse and Jarad Dawkins as they first encounter stardom and the music industry, transcending childhood to become the rock stars they always dreamed of being.

“Containment” (2015, USA), directed by Peter Galison and Robb Moss, is an alum of CIFF’s Points North Forum whose filmmakers will be in attendance. Left over from the Cold War are a hundred million gallons of radioactive sludge, covering vast radioactive lands. Governments around the world, desperate to protect future generations, have begun imagining society 10,000 years from now in order to create monuments that will speak across time. Part observational essay and part graphic novel, “Containment” weaves between an uneasy present and an imaginative, troubled far future.

“Democrats” (2014, Denmark), directed by Camila Nielsson, spends three years with two political opponents appointed to write Zimbabwe's new constitution, the ultimate test that can bring an end to President Mugabe's 30 years of autocratic rule. It can go either way: towards the birth of a constitutional democracy or renewed repression. The result is a gripping story of a country’s attempt at the coveted political system of democracy.

“Drawing the Tiger” (2015, USA), directed by Amy Benson, Ramyata Limbu and Scott Squire is another Points North alum whose filmmakers will attend. A family in Nepal living on less than a dollar a day wins the globalization jackpot: a charity scholarship for their daughter to go to school in the capital city. She promises to return, to free her family from poverty … but she doesn’t in this intimate portrait of the price one family pays for its golden opportunity.

“Elephant’s Dream” (2014, Belgium), is directed by Kristof Bilsen, who will be in attendance, and offers poetic and compassionate insight into a country in transition, as seen through the microcosm of three state-owned institutions and its public sector workers in the third largest city in Africa: Kinshasa, a railway station; the central post-office; and the only existing fire station.

“Frame by Frame” (2015, USA) is directed by Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli, who will be in attendance. After decades of war and an oppressive Taliban regime, four Afghan photojournalists face the realities of building a free press in a country left to stand on its own ‑ reframing Afghanistan for the world and for themselves.

“From This Day Forward” (2015, USA) is directed by Sharon Shattuck, who will be in attendance. With her own wedding just around the corner, filmmaker Sharon Shattuck returns to her small Midwestern hometown to examine the mystery at the heart of her upbringing: how her transgender father Trisha and her straight-identified mother Marcia stayed together, against all odds.

“Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” (2015, USA) is the latest from Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney, who will attend. Based on the book by Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright, Gibney’s film profiles eight former members of the Church of Scientology, whose most prominent adherents include A-list Hollywood celebrities, to shine a light on how the church cultivates true believers, their experiences and what they are willing to do in the name of religion.

“The Ground We Won” (2015, New Zealand), directed by Christopher Pryor, is a verite study of manhood as observed through the rites and rituals of a rural New Zealand rugby club. With great bawdiness and backbone, a team made up of farmers seeks redemption from a long run of bitter loses.

“How to Change the World” (2015, UK/Canada), directed by Jerry Rothwell, is the story of the pioneers who founded Greenpeace and defined the modern green movement. In 1971, a group of friends sail into a nuclear test zone, and their protest captures the world’s imagination, as revealed in never-before-seen archival footage.

“I Am The People/Je Suis Le Peuple” (2014, France, directed by Anna Roussillon, offers the perspective of the political changes in Egypt of poor villagers in the country’s south, who followed the tense situation on Tahrir Square on their TV screens and in the newspapers while tens of thousands of protested in Cairo.

“In Transit” (2015, USA), directed by Albert Maysles, Lynn True, Nelson Walker, Ben Wu, David Usui, most of whom will be in attendance. Maysles’ last film takes viewers aboard America’s busiest long-distance train route. The film unfolds as a series of interconnected vignettes, ranging from overheard conversations to moments of deep intimacy, in which passengers share their fears, hopes and dreams.

“Kings of Nowhere” (2015, Mexico) is directed by Betzabé García, who will be in attendance. Three families live in a village partially submerged by water in northwestern Mexico: Pani and Paula don’t want to close their tortilleria and spend their spare time rescuing the town from ruins; Miro and his parents dream of leaving but can’t; and Yoya and Jaimito live in fear, but have everything they need.

“Machine Gun or Typewriter” (2015, USA), is a punk agit noir directed by Travis Wilkerson in which a haunted man desperately searches for his lost love through an illegal pirate radio broadcast.

“Meru” (2015, USA), directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, tells the story of a journey — of friendship, sacrifice, hope and obsession. In the high-stakes game of big-wall climbing, the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru may be the ultimate prize. Sitting at the headwaters of the sacred Ganges River in northern India, the Shark’s Fin has seen more failed attempts by elite climbing teams over the past 30 years than any other ascent in the Himalayas.

“Of the North” (2015, Canada) is directed by Dominic Gagnon, who will attend. Like its predecessor, the film draws on amateur films posted on YouTube as Gagnon shows the descendants of Nanook in the process of making “their own” cinema. He creates an anti-exotic Vertovian “Kino-Eye” that reveals trashy and unbridled acculturation and takes apart the existing clichés about the Inuit.

“Olmo and the Seagull” (2014, Denmark/Brazil/Portugal/France), directed by Petra Costa and Lea Glob (the film’s producer will attend), is a journey through the labyrinth of a woman’s mind. Free-spirited and pregnant stage actress Olivia’s desire for freedom and success clashes with the limits imposed by her own body and the baby growing inside her. As the months of her pregnancy unfold, she looks in the mirror and sees both female characters of “The Seagull” — Arkadina, the aging actress, and Nina, the actress who falls into madness — as unsettling reflections of herself.

“Peace Officer” (2015, USA), directed by Scott Christopherson and Brad Barber (one will attend), is a feature documentary about the increasingly militarized state of American police as told through the story of William “Dub” Lawrence, a former sheriff who established and trained his rural state’s first SWAT team only to see that same unit kill his son-in-law in a controversial standoff 30 years later.

“The Russian Woodpecker” (2015, Ukraine/UK/USA), directed by Chad Gracia, tells the tale of Fedor Alexandrovich, who discovers a dark conspiracy while researching a secret Soviet antenna at Chernobyl that interrupted global radio communications from 1976-1989. When he is invited to address the crowds in Kiev's Revolution Square during height of the protests, he must decide whether to risk his life by revealing what he uncovered.

“Sailing a Sink Sea” (2015, USA), directed by Olivia Wyatt, who will attend, is an experiential documentary exploring the culture of the Moken people of Burma and Thailand. The Moken are a seafaring community, one of the smallest ethnic minority groups in Asia, that traditionally spends eight months of the year in thatch-roofed wooden boats. Wholly reliant upon the sea, their entire belief system revolves around water; this film weaves a visual and aural tapestry of Moken mythologies and present-day practices.

“Tell Spring Not to Come This Year” (2015, USA), directed by Saeed Taji Farouky and Michael McEvoy, follows one unit of the Afghan National Army during its first year of deployment in Helmand without NATO support. It is an intimate film about the human side of combat, told from a largely unheard and misrepresented perspective.

“(T)error” (2015, USA), directed by Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe (one of whom will attend), is the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during an active FBI counterterrorism sting operation. Through the perspective of "Shariff", a 63-year-old Black revolutionary turned informant, viewers get an unfettered glimpse of the government's counterterrorism tactics and the murky justifications behind them.

“Thank You for Playing” (2015, USA) is directed by David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall, who will attend. Ryan Green’s five-year-old son Joel has terminal cancer. Ryan, an indie video game developer, is building an unusually poetic video game to document his experiences raising a dying child, and to honor Joel while he is still alive.

“This Changes Everything” (2015, Canada/USA) is directed by journalist and filmmaker Avi Lewis (“The Take”) and produced in conjunction with Naomi Klein's bestselling book of the same name. The urgent dispatch on climate change contends that the greatest crisis we have ever faced also offers the opportunity to address and correct the inhumane systems that have created it.

“Those Who Feel the Fire Burning” (2014, Netherlands), directed by Morgan Knibbe, is a poetic investigation into a serious and prevalent social problem. The plight of refugees who survive perilous journeys in search of a better life is explored as a group of refugees try to enter Europe illegally by boat, a storm appears from nowhere and an old man falls overboard.

“Toto and His Sisters” (2014, Netherlands). Directed by Alexander Nanau, is the story of Toto and his sisters, Ana and Andreea. During their mother's imprisonment, Toto passionately learns dancing, reading and writing, while his sisters try to keep the family together in a world that has long forgotten what the innocence of childhood should be.

“T-Rex” (2015, USA), directed by Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari, (one will attend), focuses on 17-year-old Claressa “T-Rex” Shields from Flint, Mich., who dreams of being the first woman in history to win the gold medal in Olympic boxing. To succeed, she will need to stand her ground both inside and outside of the ring. Her family’s instability and addictions threaten to derail her dream, but she is determined to take them to a better, safer place … and winning a gold medal could be her only chance.

“Uncertain” (2015, USA), directed by Anna Sandilands and Ewan McNicol (who will attend), is a cinematic and disarmingly funny portrait of Uncertain, Texas, a 94-resident town on the brink of extinction as its vast, swampy lake is being choked by an aquatic weed. Three Uncertain men make their own bids for survival.

“Western” (2015, USA), is directed by Bill Ross and Turner Ross (one will attend). In Eagle Pass, Texas, where the U.S. and Mexico meet along the Rio Grande, a cattleman and the mayor face the dawn of a new reality. In the matter of a few turbulent months, the specter of cartel violence begins to loom from upriver, leading to an indefinite border closure and its rippling consequences on the home front.

Work-in-Progress Screening: Ian Cheney, who has some Waldoboro roots, returns to CIFF win an untitled new film. His new work-in-progress explores the terraforming of Mars; and waterways of New York City. As scientists unlock strategies for warming and colonizing the frigid red planet, waterfront dwellers of America’s largest city grapple with the legacies of pollution and the specter of rising seas here on Earth. Blending science fiction themes with atmospheric soundscapes and cinematography, the film features gritty portraits of waterfolk alongside interviews with sci-fi authors, inventors and self-proclaimed space farmers. Filmed in New York City, Greenland, Iceland, Chile, Thailand, The Netherlands, Italy and Germany, Cheney’s documentary will immerse viewers in a world of canals, glaciers, oysters and extremophiles, drawing on macrophotography, astrophotography, underwater footage and NASA archival imagery.

Short Film Selections

CIFF also will screen a number of short films. Selected for the 2015 festival are “70-Some Years” (2015, USA), directed by Riley Hooper; “American Renaissance” (2015, USA), directed by Jarred Alterman and Ryan Scafuro; “Body Team 12” (2015, USA), directed by David Darg; “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah” (2015, UK), directed by Adam Benzine; “Cop My Money” (2014, USA), directed by Theo Anthony; “Denali” (2015, USA), directed by Ben Knight; “Diver” (2015, USA), directed by Chris Gelfand and Caroline Losneck (Maine-made Dirigo Short); “Eric, Winter to Spring” (2014, USA), directed by Danya Abt; “The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul” (2015, Australia), directed by Kitty Green; “Farm” (2015, USA), directed by Christoph Gelfand (Maine-made Dirigo Short); “Heretix: Up and Running” (2015, USA), directed by Francis Decky (Maine-made Dirigo Short); “Hotel 22” (2014, USA), directed by Elizabeth Lo; “The Land” (2015, USA), directed by Erin Davis; “The Last Barn Dance” (2015, USA), directed by Ted Richardson and Jason Arthurs; “Last Pyramid” (2015, USA), directed by Dave Schachter (Maine-made Dirigo Short); “Letter to Subi” (2015, USA), directed by Genevieve Carmel; “Luchadora” (2014, USA/Mexico), directed by River Finlay; “The Many Sad Faces of Mr. Toledano” (2015, USA), directed by Joshua Seftel; “My Gal Rosemarie” (2015, USA), directed by Jason Tippet; “New Mission” (2014, USA), directed by Christopher Giamo; “Object” (2015, Poland), directed by Paulina Skibinska; “Of the Unknown” (2014, UK), directed by Eva Weber; “Pink Boy” (2015, USA), directed by Eric Rockey; “The Reagan Shorts” (2015, USA), directed by Pacho Velez (Points North alum); “Seeding Fear” (2015, USA), directed by Craig Jackson; “Spearhunter” (2014, USA), directed by Luke Poling and Adam Roffman; “Territory” (2015, UK), directed by Eleanor Mortimer; and “Things” (2015, UK), directed by Ben Rivers.

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

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or