In 2013, Nancy Andrews set out to do something she had never done before - create a full-length film. Andrews had produced a number of short, experimental pieces, with her work collected in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. But a theater-ready feature was a new challenge.

Experimental to the core

Maine International Film Festival By-the-Sea

Friday, Sept. 18 - Monday, Sept. 21

Reel Pizza Cinerama

Kennebec Street, Bar Harbor

Andrews knew that her process would have to be different on this film. She’d need producers, camera and sound crews, a cast of actors, and a whole bunch of money - all things she’d managed to so far avoid in her career as an experimental filmmaker. But the biggest question for her fans didn’t so much involve process, as product. Would the National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Fellowship winner tone down her aesthetic? Was she moving away from the experimentation that had so far defined her body of work?

Just one look at The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes and the answer becomes quite clear. The movie is as odd and out-of-the-mainstream as they come.

“It’s a very unusual film. The genre is a combination of Yellow Submarine, Rocky Horror Picture Show, and Bride of Frankenstein meets … I don’t know,” Andrews told the Mount Desert Islander earlier this year. 

A strange hybrid

And so it is. Strange Eyes is a hybrid of animation, found footage, song, dance, and live-action narrative that follows the research of Dr. Sheri Myes (Michole Briana White) and her revolutionary attempts to expand human consciousness. Andrews describes it as a classic gothic horror, mad-scientist movie, with elements of musical, animation, and experimental cinema.

The movie, which includes many local people and settings, had its worldwide premiere at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in The Netherlands in January of this year. The North American premiere was at the Maine International Film Festival in Waterville this summer. 

The Strange Eyes of Dr. Myes screens at MIFF By-the-Sea at 6 p.m. on Friday and 9:15 p.m. on Saturday. Andrews will be present at the screenings to discuss the film, which is sponsored by The Trailhead Café.

A program full of student work

This year,  MIFF By-the-Sea is hosting an exclusive, hour-long program of Hancock County short films. All of the films in the program have ties to the area, and many are connected to the COA community. The program, which is sponsored by Lompoc Café, screens at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.  

The following Hancock County shorts were created by members of the COA community:

Don’t Sleep on Stockholm   Director Colin Capers ’95, MPhil ’09, Lecturer in writing, film, and literature.

A music video for imaginary music.

Glucklich  Director Katja Fluekiger ’15.

Animation built on interviews in which people discuss times in their lives when they were happiest.

Diving Blindfolded    Director  Amelia Forman-Stiles ’18. 

An elegiac work about transformation with narrative taken from the artist’s journal and blog entries written during her separation and divorce.

Life   Director Tom Strehan ’17.  

An associative video using found footage to reflect on its titular theme.

You Will Hate Love This   Director Gabriela Niejadlik ’14.  

Originally part of a multi-media installation on representations of femininity; an odyssey of childhood tribulations.

The Baker, Agnes   Director Navi Whitten ’17. 

This is a short documentary for and about Agnes, who has been baking since 1972. It was made in the last two weeks before she closed her shop.