CAMDEN, Maine — “Betting The Farm,” a documentary film by Cecily Pingree and Jason Mann, follows three farm families as they risk everything to launch their new milk company — Maine’s Own Organic Milk. The film will kick off the 8th annual Camden International Film Festival with a screening 7 p.m. Thursday at the historic Camden Opera House. The documentary will then hit the road and be shown through the end of October in communities across the state.
The film premiered in front of sold-out crowds at the prestigious AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Film Festival in June. CIFF will be just the second public screening of the movie.
After the premiere in Camden, the film will play in towns across the state, including Portland, Presque Isle, Rockland and Eastport. The filmmakers and characters from the film, including farmers Vaughn Chase of Mapleton, Aaron Bell of Edmunds and Richard Lary of Clinton, will attend many of the screenings to meet audiences and answer questions following the movie.
“We are really excited to bring this film home to Maine,” said co-director Cecily Pingree in a news release. “It’s the story of three Maine farm families struggling against long odds to save their farms, and we think Maine audiences in particular will be excited to see it.”
“It’s not a promotional film, by any stretch of the imagination,” said co-director Jason Mann in the news release. “What these families — and the other members of the MOO Milk organization — did was very brave. They let us be a part of their lives for more than two years as they endured significant financial and emotional stress. We came away with tremendous respect for the hard work it takes to produce every gallon of milk.”
“Betting The Farm” is the story of a group of Maine dairy farmers who — dropped by their national milk company — are suddenly confronted with the real possibility of losing their farms. Banding together, the farmers launch their own milk company, Maine’s Own Organic Milk.
Farmers Chase, Lary and Bell — along with their families — struggle to make ends meet as they get the company off the ground.
“You really have to let your characters open up on screen, and I think everyone in this film did,” said Ben Fowlie, founder of the Camden International Film Festival. “As a Mainer, I’ve always respected the independent spirit and drive that Mainers have, and Jason and Cecily captured that beautifully in this film.”
After being shown Thursday night at the Camden Opera House, the film will be shown at the following locations:
• Stonington, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sept. 30, Stonington Opera House.
• Rangeley, 7 p.m. Oct. 5 and 6, Lakeside Theater.
• Waterville, 1 p.m. Oct. 6 and 7, Railroad Square Cinema.
• Presque Isle, 7 p.m. Oct. 10 and 11, Braden Theater.
• Bryant Pond, 7 p.m. Oct. 12, University of Maine-Bryant Pond.
• Bar Harbor, 2 p.m. Oct. 13, Reel Pizza Cinerama.
• Farmington, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Oct. 13, Narrow Gauge Cinemas.
• Belfast, 7 p.m. Oct. 16, Colonial Theatre.
• Houlton, 7 p.m. Oct.16, Temple Theatre.
• Rockland, 7 p.m. Oct. 18, The Strand Theatre.
• Dover-Foxcroft, 7 p.m. Oct. 19, Center Theatre.
• Unity, 7 p.m. Oct. 20, Unity College Center for the Performing Arts.
• Vinalhaven, 6 p.m. Oct. 24, Smith Hokanson Memorial Hall.
• Brunswick, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Oct. 25 and 26, Frontier Cafe Cinema.
• Kennebunk, 7 p.m. Oct. 26, First Parish UU Church Kennebunk.
• Machias, 7 p.m. Oct. 27, University of Maine-Machias Performing Arts Center.
• Eastport, 7 p.m. Oct. 28, Eastport Arts Center.
• Ellsworth, 7 p.m. Nov. 2, The Grand, Ellsworth.
• Portland, 7 p.m. Nov. 3, University of Southern Maine, Hannaford Hall.
Bangor and Lewiston dates coming soon.