— Richard Kane keeps showing up.
He was at the Camden International Film
Festival one day and an energy conference in Augusta the next.
In between, he had a meeting of the Maine Film & Video Association
in Rockport. Before that, he was in Portland for the opening of
one of his two new films, "Protecting the Nature of Maine."
And mixed in there was a date in Bucksport for the opening for
his other new film, "Rock Solid: The Schoodic International
Sculpture Symposium." Among all that, he managed to get some
Kane, 58, may be the busiest filmmaker in Maine. He didn't necessarily
plan to release two movies at once, but they ended up on parallel
tracks. At the same time, he continues to plug away at the ambitious
Maine Masters Project, an ongoing series of film portraits about
outstanding Maine visual artists. The latest in that series is
a film about Stephen Pace, which came out last year. Kane is working
on a profile of Beverly Hallam, a York County painter, and a movie
about Carlo Pittore also is under way.
he's preparing for his next big movie, a project that will explore
Maine's foray in deriving energy from the ocean. Thus his attendance
last Tuesday at the energy conference.
But even when he's done with one project, he's never really done.
On morning last week, he was tweaking a sequence in "Protecting
the Nature of Maine" about the 50th anniversary of the Natural
Resources Council of Maine. The 30-minute film is part of a double-bill
of Kane movies Thursday night at the Grand in Ellsworth.
"Even though it's premiered, I just made a new version,"
Kane said, explaining his work on Final Cut Pro, his software
of choice. "I noticed a glitch the other night at the Farnsworth."
AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Since moving to Maine to live full-time in the late 1990s, Kane
has developed a niche for making films about artists and the environment,
two subjects that concern him deeply. But he put himself in a
position to make films he cares about by slogging away on the
front lines of movie making and film work for many years.
It was during that slogging that he realized he needed a change.
Kane was living near Washington, D.C., and working as a sound
guy for a national news outlet in the late 1990s. The big story
at that time was the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
"I was starting to go brain-dead sitting in front of
the Watergate building and waiting for Monica Lewinsky to come
out of her apartment," he said.
He and his wife Melody decided it was time to move to Maine. They
had been summering around Deer Isle since 1990, and Melody, a
potter, was increasingly drawn to the quiet life of coastal Maine.
They cast aside their D.C. lives and moved to Maine in 1998, building
their home a year later on a woodsy lot overlooking the Bagaduce
River a few miles from Castine.
The first few years were difficult, and even with his success
today, Kane finds himself struggling to raise enough money to
get films made. He spent two years and raised $15,000 to complete
He started filming when the first sculpture symposium began at
Schoodic in 2007 and completed a five-minute promotional film,
which he shopped around to attract funding. As the money trickled
in, he completed the film.
"It's tough to make a living making a half-hour film for
$15,000," Kane said. "But it's something I'd do again
and do it over and over again."
Kane latched onto the Schoodic project after he heard symposium
founder Jesse Salisbury of Steuben talk about it in Ellsworth.
He appreciated the passion that Salisbury evoked at the meeting,
and decided the project was worth documenting. Kane approached
Salisbury with the movie idea. Salisbury was interested, but could
offer Kane little more than access.
"We just didn't have it in our budget to do anything like
that. But he took the initiative to get a grant and start it,
and then write another grant and continue on with it," Salisbury
All the while, Kane juggled the Schoodic project with better-paying
commercial work. Salisbury remembers Kane coming and going from
the sculpture site at Schoodic as he landed unrelated work in
Washington and elsewhere.
Robert Shetterly, president of the Union of Maine Visual Artists,
credits Kane with raising the level of the quality of the Maine
Masters film series.
Shetterly and others with the Union of Maine Visual Artists began
the series a decade ago. They wanted to capture interviews and
document the work of important Maine artists, but they had limited
Kane offered that expertise.
a lot more about filmmaking than I did, because I knew nothing,"
Shetterly said. "But he got an immediate grasp about how
to make something like this work. He knew what we were trying
to achieve and how to make it happen."
In the years since, Kane has taken the
project on wholeheartedly. He raises all the money for the movies,
and helps promote and distribute them as well. For the Pace movie,
his wife wrote a curriculum guide to help Maine educators use
the film in the classroom.
Kane is proud of all of his work, but
holds in high regard his efforts on the Maine Masters project.
The series has become his passion.
"It's an important series, and has
in every episode real lessons about what it means to be an artist
and the importance of the artist relating to nature," Kane
"These movies work because they are
real," he continued. "I think that's the standard for
any movie I make. Is it real? Is it authentic? That has to be
the standard. It has to hit you in the heart. That's what I'm
trying to do with these films, to reach people emotionally."
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 207 791-6457 or at:
Copyright 2010 by The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.
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