Big Waves & Rave Reviews of 'Sea Change' At MidCoast Film Fest
Updated: Aug 12, 2019
Original Article by Christine LaPado-Breglia
I had the very good fortune of being able to attend the sold-out opening-night reception and screening of two films at the inaugural MidCoast Film Fest at Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta on the evening of Friday, July 26. I also checked out the three-day film festival’s Maine-focused short-film program on the afternoon of Sunday, July 28.
Wow! Next year, I need to go all three days to all the films if possible.
What MidCoast Film Fest co-founders Andrew Fenniman, who is also Lincoln Theater’s executive director, and Matt Smollon have managed to do is bring to the Midcoast area a decidedly top-notch film festival featuring compelling independent films from around the world and at home here in Maine.
What I saw on opening night (in addition to the delicious hors d’oeuvres passed around by Bristol’s Stone Cove Catering!) were two films: a very short, touching film – “Go, Go, Go!” – by filmmaker Jose Macerola about a beloved pack of sled dogs, and “Sea Change,” a feature-length movie filmed on eight GoPro cameras chronicling the arduous 6,689-mile rowboat journey of South Africans Riaan Manser and Vasti Geldenhuys from Morocco to New York City. The extensive editing alone just to produce the final result is utterly impressive – 8,000 hours of footage edited by 15 editors to come up with a film that runs an hour and 15 minutes.
And what a fantastic film! Its title, “Sea Change,” alludes to both the changing conditions of the Atlantic Ocean they were traversing and the changes that Manser and Geldenhuys went through as a couple. And the intimate conditions of filming two people on a rather small boat makes for some intense viewing. There were times when I felt as close as one might feel to actually being on that boat in what were sometimes rough seas.
The July 26 showing of “Sea Change,” by the way, was its Maine premiere.
The July 28 shorts program – which came in between the screening of what looked like an interesting film called “Dear Walmart,” in which Walmart workers share their stories, and two animal-themed films later in the day, “Flying Fur” and “Apex Survival” – was excellent. The short films ranged from “The Grey Zone,” which documents the land dispute between the U.S. and Canada over Machias Seal Island, to “The Maker,” an intriguing film about hardworking ceramic artist Dan Weaver, to the closing short, the entertaining “Jack,” written by and starring Damariscotta native Ryan Gaul, who appeared at a Q&A following the shorts program.
“We started the festival because we are always looking for new things to add to our programming which will not only keep the theater alive and vibrant, but will intrigue people who already enjoy Lincoln Theater and entice new folks to come,” said Fenniman post-festival. “We also wanted to find a way to contribute and augment the film scene here in Maine.”
For updates, sneak peeks and more, don't forget to follow Sea Change on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as Engel Entertainment's Instagram and Facebook pages to stay in the loop! For more information about Sea Change, its awards, and the incredibly creative female-driven team of filmmakers who brought its story to life, check out the film's website here.