WELLS, Maine — Patrick Hampton has lived in Los Angeles, Boston, Hawaii and Canada. Recently the actor and aspiring filmmaker moved home to Wells. A funny thing happened while returning to his roots: he realized the film scene was hotter here than out west.
“I decided to stay in New England, the industry is booming,” said Hampton. “A lot of people want to shoot in Maine.”
It might not be “Good Will Hunting,” but Hampton’s “Dear Dad,” which starts filming next month in Wells and Ogunquit, could be the coming-of-age movie for anyone struggling with communications and misconceptions in love.
“It’s about living life and the journey of it. Realizing you are not alone,” he said.
The 25-year-old wrote and will direct and star in the 10-minute short based on his life in southern Maine. After his parents went through a messy divorce, despite living in the same town, he became estranged from his father, who “never supported my idea as a filmmaker.”
“‘Dear Dad’ is one of those things I want to make him proud of. It came out of a place of anger and hate,” said Hampton.
“I’m going to local businesses for sponsorships, hoping to tap the Maine talent, keep it as local as possible. It’s a home piece for me,” said Hampton, who says if crowdfunding doesn’t work something else will.
At the same time, he is gearing up to launch a film startup called Heart of Maine Studios in Wells. He has a potential site located off Route 1 and has piqued the interest of industry veterans.
Eric Matheson, a production designer from Cape Elizabeth, says young energy like Hampton’s is needed to keep the film industry thriving in Maine. As incentives to film here continue to lag behind states like Massachusetts and New York, “we have to go out of state to work,” said Matheson, who just finished filming “The Equalizer” with Denzel Washington.
Matheson, who is the production designer on “Dear Dad,” says Hampton’s proposed 10,000-square-foot studio could be a game changer.
“You can do post-production there and within 60 miles you have everything you need,” he said. “Between Wells and Portland is an excellent location.”
Hampton hopes to get venture capital backing to make the sound stage and film lot a reality.
“Our goal is to bring major projects into the state of Maine, we want to quadruple the business here,” he said.
“Dear Dad” will start shooting at The Leavitt Fine Arts Theatre in Ogunquit and Ell Pond in Wells starting the second week in November.
“It should be able to touch home and grab the audience,” said Hampton.
On his father, whom he is currently living with: “I hope he sees it and understands that this is where I’ve been working the last few years, to see that everything that’s happened is in the past. I just want my family to be proud of me.”