Festival founder Ben Fowlie opened the evening by thanking the audience for continuing to make the small-town festival a robust showcase for great documentary films. The festival, which hosts screenings in Camden and Rockland, Maine, plus a filmmaking forum, is New England's most respected documentary film festival.
Also last night, the festival's Harrel Award for Best Film (for which I was a jury member) was given to Pete Nicks' look at emergency room care and American health care, "The Waiting Room." A special jury mention went to David Redmon and Ashley Sabin's "Downeast," about a small-town lobster processing plant.
The festival's Emerging Cinematic Vision Award went to Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims' look at suburban California youth, "Only the Young." And a special jury mention was given to Benjamin Kahlmeyer's "Meanwhile in Mamelodi," a look at a South African family struggling with their day-to-day lives as the World Cup comes to town.
Update (8 Oct 2012): Opening night film "Betting the Farm," from Jason Mann and Cecily Pingree, won the festival's Audience Award.