BDN Maine to host student film festival about dangers of drug abuse

BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Daily News and Project AWARE will host a film festival showcasing videos written, produced and directed by Maine high school students about how drug abuse has changed their lives.

The event, presented by Health Affiliates of Maine, will begin with a preview at 12:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor during the high school basketball tourney. The film screening and awards presentation will be at 1 p.m. The event is free to the public.

The film festival is a culmination of a six-month contest where students from around the state submitted short films that answered the question, “How has drug abuse affected your life or the lives of people around you?”

“We know that a lot of drug abuse starts in the teenage years,” said festival organizer Natalie Feulner. “We felt that if we started with teens they would have the opportunity to have those conversations early, before issues start to arise.”

“We hope to inspire change, and if we want to do that, we have to start before drug abuse becomes debilitating,” she added.

For the festival, the Bangor Daily News partnered with Project AWARE, a Maine organization with a goal to raise awareness about teen drug abuse. Project AWARE works with kids every day who are either struggling with or trying to find solutions to the many problems that emanate from substance abuse.

“Project AWARE supports kids who make a difference and this is exactly what this festival is about. So thank you to the BDN and their amazing staff for soliciting the voice of youth!” said Carl Lakari, Project AWARE coordinator and co-founder.

Awards will be given to the first-, second- and third-place films as chosen by our judges, selected members of the Maine film community. The People’s Choice award will also be presented to David Rice of Winterport, a senior at Hampden Academy, for his film “Someone who Cares,” which won the most votes in our public forum.

The MaineFocus Film Festival is a part of the MaineFocus initiative of the Bangor Daily News, a journalism and community engagement project that focuses on finding solutions to the most pressing issues in our state: eliminating domestic violence, curbing drug abuse and growing Maine’s economy.

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