Documentary film shot in Portland to premiere at USM

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PORTLAND — The journey from the Masonic Temple at 415 Congress St. to Hannaford Hall at the University of Southern Maine does not typically take 15 months.

But that’s how long it took “Enough to Live On, the Art of the WPA,” a documentary filmed at the temple in June 2014 that will premier at USM Thursday, Oct. 8.

The film celebrates the 80th anniversary of the creation of the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration, a Depression-era program where the federal government commissioned works from writers, artists and photographers as part of the wider effort to put people back to work.

“What we’ve got is a spirit of ‘can-do’ and ‘let’s make it work,’” director Michael Maglaras said during filming. “Artists are our fellow citizens and they deserve to be employed.”

The premiere, to be preceded by a 6:30 p.m. reception, is also a fundraiser for Goodwill Industries of Northern New England. Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, the granddaughter of former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose administration created the WPA, is the CEO of Goodwill.

“The artists who took part in the WPA played important cultural roles in their communities through their work. They showed the dignity and power that all work holds in our lives – much like Goodwill’s mission today,” Roosevelt said in a press release last month.

Maglaras, who co-owns 217 Films with Terri Templeton, relies on Maine locations and crew for his documentaries, and said “Enough to Live On” resonates for him.

“This Portland screening is an important one for me,” he said. “What Goodwill stands for is the idea that each person has the ability to make a difference. These beliefs are truly a modern-day version of the idea fostered by Franklin Roosevelt 80 years ago.”

Other productions by 217 Films include documentaries about Lewiston-born painter Marsden Hartley, as well as John Marin and Lynd Ward. Excerpts from “Enough to Live On” can be viewed online at

The 98-minute film features footage from more than 70 works of art and the artists at work. Robert Reynolds of Danbury, Connecticut, came to Portland to share his thoughts and memories from the Great Depression.

“I haven’t had this much fun since I got married,” Reynolds said of being interviewed.

Tickets for the premiere are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online at The film will be screened at the USM Abromson Community Education Center in Hannaford Hall, 88 Bedford St.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Bob Reynolds of Danbury, Connecticut, prepares to be interviewed in Portland for the documentary “Enough to Live On” with 217 Films Production Manager Ramsey Tripp in June 2014.

217 Films co-owners Michael Maglaras and Terri Templeton will host the state priemier of their documentary “Enough to Live On,” shot in Portland, on Oct. 8 at USM.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.
  • Peter Surrett