BANGOR, Maine — As a student in the Bangor area, Old Town native Aron Gaudet now estimates he saw hundreds of movies at the theater complex located near the Bangor Mall.
Next month, Gaudet’s successful documentary about three senior citizens who serve as troop greeters at Bangor International Airport will open for a theatrical run at the very cinema where Gaudet spent so much time as a youngster.
The award-winning “The Way We Get By” will play at the Bangor Mall Cinemas 10 for one week starting Friday, Sept. 11. Times have yet to be determined, but the trailer for the movie will play in the weeks leading up to the opening.
“There was a stretch in high school and college when I was seeing two to three movies every weekend with my friends, and 90 percent of them were probably there,” Gaudet said Tuesday, hours after the deal was completed with Boston Culinary Group, which owns the Bangor theaters. “So it’s pretty cool to have our movie screening there.”
Bangor will be the first location to have DVDs of the film for sale.
“The Way We Get By” had its Maine premiere in April at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono. It has been screened at many small theaters throughout the state since then.
“It’s amazing to see the audiences that have come out,” Gaudet said Friday. “The word is out in Maine, and people are excited to see it when it comes to their town.”
For Gaudet and the film’s producer, Gita Pullapilly, who are engaged and planning an October wedding in Stockton Springs, the Maine showings are special. The two filmmakers’ attention now, however, is focused on a commercial run in Los Angeles that will help keep the movie eligible for a potential Academy Award nomi-nation.
According to the rules for the 82nd Academy Awards listed on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Web site, feature documentary films must complete a seven-day commercial run in theaters in Manhattan and in Los Angeles County by Aug. 31, 2009.
“The Way We Get By” played in Manhattan for the minimum run last month. Starting Aug. 14 the film will screen for a week at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Oscar nominations will be announced on Feb. 2, 2010.
Gaudet said awards aren’t his motivation in getting “The Way We Get By” into theaters, but he acknowledged the film has garnered acclaim and attention at film festivals all over the U.S. and Canada. The New York showing has prompted future commercial screenings in Chicago and Boston.
“We just wanted to give the film the best chance to succeed and get to a wider audience,” Gaudet said. “At the same time, you want to qualify for any end-of-the-year awards. It would be bad to not even be eligible. [But] I’m not really thinking about stuff like that. There are a ton of great documentaries out there, and sometimes people don’t realize how tough the competition is.”
Still, “The Way We Get By” has received some impressive awards, including the Audience Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C. It was the same prize won last year by the film “Man on Wire,” which went on to win the Oscar.
Gaudet said money hasn’t exactly been his motivation either. Since July 17 the film has made $34,202 according to www.boxofficemojo.com, most of which, he said, goes to theaters and others who help arrange for showings.
Meanwhile, the movie will screen this weekend at a film festival in Kosovo and closer to home in Rangeley and Damariscotta.
For information, go to www.thewaywegetbymovie.com