By Dale McGarrigle
Special to The Weekly
WINTERPORT — Youths putting on a show to entertain themselves and others is an age-old concept.
Brothers David and Daniel Rice have given this idea a new twist, getting friends together to make short films and posting those on YouTube through their Groovy Movie Productions.
The brothers, a senior and junior, respectively, at Hampden Academy, recently took home the grand prize with their short film “My Roommate Joe” in the Maine Student Film and Video Festival. That film, a mystery about how roommate Dwayne seeks to track down his missing roommate Joe, was screened in conjunction with the Maine International Film Festival in Waterville in July. (Their other short film, “Eric’s Birthday,” about a teen recalling his brother’s senseless death, placed in the senior division of the competition.)
This year marks the third time that the brothers have entered the competition. Two years ago, they didn’t place; last year, they were finalists.
The win earned David a scholarship for a two-week workshop in July at Maine Media Workshops in Rockport. While there, he created the short film “Mr. Henry,” about an old man who is granted his wish, only to regret it by the end.
The win marks the culmination, so far, of the Rice brothers’ infatuation with film, which began with a camcorder that recorded on VHS tape.
“We recorded skits and stuff,” David recalled. “We progressed to a better camera and started putting together narrative, then scripts, and kept trying to improve the movies.”
David, 18, is the screenwriter and director, while Daniel, 16, acts and edits, although the division of labor is rarely that clear-cut.
They’ve gotten by with a little help from their friends. Jakob Burns and Danish exchange student Fred Lund co-starred in “My Roommate Joe” and Josh Van Trump starred as the titular character in “Eric’s Birthday.”
Neither could choose among their many filmmaking inspirations. David did thank his instructors at MMW and David Barry, his teacher in Commercial Video Communications at United Technologies Center in Bangor.
In the future, David hopes to pursue filmmaking in some capacity, while Daniel plans to keep it as at least a hobby.
In the meantime, they hope to keep improving.
“We’re going to use some of our older ideas, and put them together now that we have more experience and better equipment,” Daniel said.
“We plan on making a longer movie, using people from our school, and make the best film we have yet,” David said.
The Rice brothers’ films can be seen at youtube.com/user/GroovyMoviePro.