July 13, 2018

Maine International Film Festival raises its game with mobile-first site

Courtesy Maine International Film Festival
Courtesy Maine International Film Festival
Waterville's 10-day Maine International Film Festival, hosted by the Maine Film Center, draws thousands to the city. More than 100 films will be screened, at Railroad Square Cinema and the Waterville Opera House.

Organizers of the 10-day Maine International Film Festival that kicks off this evening in Waterville aim to improve the experience for visitors with a new mobile-first website, funded with a $10,000 grant from the Maine Office of Tourism.

"It's all geared towards enhancing the audience and user experience," Mike Perreault, the director festival and executive director of the Maine Film Center, told Mainebiz.

Downtown Waterville already offers free wifi, so festival goers can go to the site to check the schedule on their mobile devices, buy tickets and access visitor information on area and arts attraction — and easily share it on social media.

Perreault, who started with the festival as an intern six years ago and is marking his first year as director, said the $10,000 came in the form of a Tourism Enterprise Marketing Grant "to rebuild our aging website."

Some 10,000 visitors are expected to attend the festival, which Perreault said includes the largest-ever selection of Maine-made short films. Some will be highlighted on Saturday's Making it in Maine Day.

"At the festival, we're driven to support filmmaking and film makers in Maine, and an important part of that is exhibiting their work," he said.

The festival budget is around $125,000.

"While we can't program every submission we receive, we really believe that highlighting Maine voices not only celebrates the talent we have in our state and encourages further film production here, but it also creates an important dialogue…representing stories and cultures at home and around the world," Perreault said.

The festival, which was founded in 1998, shows nearly 100 films from both national and international filmmakers at the Waterville Opera House and Railroad Square Cinema. It ends Sunday, July 22.

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