Waterville gets ready for 22nd annual Maine International Film Festival

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WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) - Waterville is prepping for one of Central Maine's biggest events of the year: The Maine International Film Festival.

MIFF kicks off its 22nd year on Friday.

"MIFF really is the best 10 days of the summer in Maine," said Mike Perreault, MIFF Director and Executive Director of the Maine Film Center. "We work tirelessly throughout the year to build this really incredible program and to share it with people who come to Maine from around the world but also with our local community who lives here and really gets to take the most advantage of it."

"I think [it's] the finest selection of films we've ever had," said Ken Eisen, co-founder of Railroad Square Cinema. "We have more world premieres, more U.S. premieres, international premieres, east coast premieres, New England premieres than we've ever had before."

It brings films and people from all over the world to Maine to see top quality films, such as the world premiere of Winslow resident Brian Zemrak's highly-anticipated film, "Bongee Bear and the Kingdom of Rhythm." It will be screened Saturday, July 13 at 12:30pm at Railroad Square Cinema and Sunday, July 14 at 12:30pm at the Waterville Opera House.

"It's really what our purpose is, both for filmmakers to give them an outlet for their work, and for our audiences, for them to be able to experience their work in the way that it should be experienced," said Eisen.

With thousands coming to town for the event, it provides an economic boost.

"It's a huge boon for the community," said Perreault. "I mean people come into our city, they shop, they eat at local restaurants, they support businesses, all while they're experiencing the festival, so it's great for the community."

And there are a number of other activities than the movies, such as MIFFONEDGE.

"Before you head out to the movies, I really encourage everyone to check out the MIFFONEDGE Volume 7 exhibition that's happening at the Old Post Office right on the corner of Main and Elm Streets," said Perreault. "It's an incredible experimental and sensory experience that you won't get anywhere else."

For more information and to book tickets to the festival, visit MIFF.org.