BANGOR – River City Cinema will present Ian McCrudden’s made-in-Maine movie “Islander” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 6 and 7, at the Bangor Opera House.
The film’s writer, producer and star, Thomas Hildreth, will be on hand to discuss the movie at the Oct. 6 screening. Admission is $5 for each show. For information, visit www.rivercitycinema.com, e-mail info@
rivercitycinema.com, or call 989-9494.
Choosing the rugged Maine coast as the location for “Islander” was in no way incidental. Thomas Hildreth has deep roots in the state – he grew up in Maine, often spending summers on Vinalhaven, the primary location for the film.
His grandfather Horace Hildreth was governor of Maine from 1944 to 1948, and much of his extended family still lives here.
For Thomas Hildreth, Maine is home, a sentiment that infuses the film with a very personal touch.
“Maine is rich in character, very distinctive, very rugged, moody and old world. I always knew this island, where men once made their living digging granite out of the ground, would be a compelling and beautiful backdrop for a drama,” Hildreth said.
He first worked with director Ian McCrudden six years ago on the play “Mr. Smith Gets a Hustler” in New York. McCrudden directed the film version a year later and kept in the small but pivotal role of the killer. McCrudden immediately sensed the strength of Hildreth’s acting range and shortly thereafter they began to brainstorm on additional collaborative projects.
“Thomas suggested we set a film on this island he used to visit in his youth,” McCrudden said. “He took me up there to scout the location and I was immediately struck by the beauty of the island.”
Vinalhaven is one of hundreds of small islands off the coast of Maine but one of the few remaining self-contained fishing communities. The location fit easily into an idea McCrudden had been mulling over in his head.
“My uncle and brother were commercial fisherman in Alaska. I always wanted to write about that lifestyle because it’s so unique and this island was the perfect platform to do that,” McCrudden said.
Hildreth has performed extensively with both the Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Berkshire Theatre Festival, working with actor Paul Giamatti and actress Patricia Clarkson. With WTF, Hildreth appeared in the world premieres of Arthur Miller’s “American Clock,” John Guare’s “Moon over Miami, and “Widows” by Ariel Dorfman. Hildreth also played Hamlet opposite Peri Gilpin.
Hildreth appeared in the New York revival of Jean Paul Sartre’s “The Respectful Prostitute” and, as a member of the Classical Theatre Lab in Los Angeles, performed in “Joan of Arc” directed by Ron Maxwell, “Hamlet,” “Othello,” “Measure for Measure,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Ideal Husband,” “Cymbeline,” “The Tempest” and Michael Weller’s “Split” directed by Ron Canada, and “The Iliad” starring Philip Baker Hall. His television appearances include “Numbers,” “24,” “First Mondays,” “Dharma and Greg” and several daytime dramas.
A synopsis of “Islander” follows:
Eben has lived on a small island off the coast of Maine for his entire life, part of a close-knit community that revolves around lobster fishing. When mainland lobstermen brazenly stray into waters reserved for islanders, threatening their already tenuous livelihood, Eben loses his temper. Dire consequences result and the fisherman is forced to leave the island.
Ian McCrudden’s emotionally charged film follows Eben upon his return home five years later. The community that Eben left has changed, and he is no longer wanted there. His presence opens old wounds that most would prefer to forget. But Eben is ill-equipped and unwilling to start again somewhere else, and patiently begins trying to re-establish a claim to the only life he has ever known.
Thomas Hildreth played one of the lead roles in the stage and film versions of Ian McCrudden’s “Mr. Smith Gets A Hustler” starring Larry Pine in the title role. He also played principal roles in the films “Pawn To A King” starring Ron Canada and “Here Dies Another Day” starring John Randolph.