Portland Film Festival returns with Falmouth connection

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PORTLAND — The second Portland Maine Film Festival returns this week with a variety of films, from short works to full-length features and animated films, at venues all over the city from Oct. 6-9.

For Tom Isler and his brother Jim, whose film “Two’s a Crowd” will be shown as part of a block of free short documentary screenings at the Maine College of Art on Oct. 8 at 3 p.m., it’s a chance to show their work close to home.

The Isler brothers graduated from Falmouth High School in 1997 and 2000. Their first serious experience with making documentaries was creating the school’s video yearbook.

Jim Isler went on to get a film degree and works for the National Geographic Channel in New York City. Tom Isler is in law school at the University of Pennsylvania and said he feels like making documentaries will always be his hobby.

“It wasn’t something I wanted to do as a career. It’s so hard to make any money as a filmmaker,” he said.

But he has a passion for telling other people’s stories. So that was what he set out to do when he approached his former boss, the editor of a business trade magazine in New York City.

“For four years, I knew him, and I thought, this guy is so funny, he really deserves to have a movie about him,” Tom Isler said.

The 20-minute documentary follows Allen and Collette, a couple who have been married for four years, but have never lived together. However, the economy forces Allen to give up his apartment and move in with his wife.

Both seem terrified by the prospect, and openly worry it will mean the end of their relationship.

So they divide Collette’s apartment and install a sliding door for privacy.

The film is a look at love and relationships, but also a statement about the economy and the time in which we live.

The film recently won an award at the Cony Island Film Festival, and Tom Isler said Allen and Collette have been getting calls from news media from around the world.

“We never expected it to get this much attention,” he said.

But the couple seems to be enjoying it, and even accepted the award at the Cony Island festival because the two filmmakers weren’t able to be there.

Tom Isler said he hopes the Portland film festival continues to grow in popularity.

“It’s relatively new and I hope it gets a good following,” he said. “The Portland area deserves a great film festival.”

The festival schedule can be found at portlandmainefilmfestival.com.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.

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