Sandpoint Film Festival

Celebrating local filmmaking, one scene at a time

By Cameron Rasmusson and Mary Maio
Reader Staff

We’ve all heard of Sundance, Cannes and Toronto film festivals, where the stars and journalists go the carouse and hype the most exciting new films. But are they true film festivals?

Mary Maio would say no.

Do I have something on my face?

Do I have something on my face?

Well, maybe that’s overstating it somewhat. But Maio, an animator and filmmaker, believes Sandpoint has a festival in its truest form, one that brings community members and artists together in a celebration of all things film.

“During the festival, all enjoy seeing the filmmaker’s labor of love on the big screen,” Maio said.

If Sandpoint Film Festival is one thing, it’s a labor of love. When Lakedance International Film Festival packed up shop and left town to become the Edmonds International Film Festival in Edmonds, Wash., local movie lovers saw a cultural void to fill. The result was a new festival, one that inspired movie lovers throughout the community to pick up their cameras and take a stab at filmmaking.

The festival began in the Little Theater but eventually outgrew the smaller venue, taking its rightful place on the full-sized screen of the historic Panida Theater. The caliber of filmmaking grew with event itself. International filmmakers began submitting films boasting impeccable craft and well-constructed narratives, upping the ante significantly.

While excellent filmmaking is all well and good, Maio believes the community spirit is what makes Sandpoint Film Festival a more authentic experience. To that end, here’s Maio’s breakdown of all the fun ahead:

On Friday, Nov. 6, the Sandpoint Film Festival will host Meet the Filmmakers mixer at the Cafe Trinity at City Beach, 4:30- 6 p.m. with hors d’ouvres and wine.

On Saturday, Nov. 7 from 8-10 a.m. is Sit and Sip with the Filmmakers at Creations in the Cedar Street Bridge. The event will include coffee, biscotti cookies and smoothies.

The Sandpoint Film Festival screening will begin at 12 p.m. Saturday at the Panida Theatre with block one, then at 3 p.m. with block two and finishing at 6 p.m. with block three. During the breaks between blocks, the Little Theater next door will be open to the film audience and filmmakers for no-host wine, beer and concessions. Take this opportunity to critique and share insights on the films.

At 8:30 p.m. in the Panida is the awards ceremony. This year, Frontier Communications will present the Idaho Filmmakers Award. Festival officials will award the best films of each category. And after voting, the audience from each block will decide on the three audience choice awards.

To wrap up the festival will be a post-production party at 9 p.m. with a no-host bar at Cafe Trinity on City Beach.

This year, seven local films will be screened: “Techno Madness” by director Mary Maio, “Give Up The Ghost” by director Rob Lindner, “Spread The Virus” by director Hailey Hines, “Interview With Erik Daarstad” by director John Maio, “The County Poorhouse” by director Aric Spence and “I’ll Take Oliver” by director Becky Revak.

Each social event is $15 and each block is $7. But for $20, one can purchase an all-access pass with $10 going to the non-profit selling the tickets.Tickets are available at Creations, Sandpoint Vegetarians (call 265-5412), from any Sandpoint Boy Scout or on the web at Go to for more information or call 290-0597.

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