A Southwest Harbor filmmaker is one of seven artists awarded Maine Arts Commission 2016 fellowships.
Peter Logue, whose short documentaries include a touching portrait of teenage lovers reuniting in their 80s and a moving story of a runner grappling with Parkinson’s disease, learned last month he is to receive a $5,000 fellowship from the commission. Fellows are chosen based on a review of submission materials by a panel of judges.
A 2010 graduate of Mount Desert Island High School, Logue returned to the island after graduating from the University of Connecticut. He had no plans of staying; New York or Los Angeles were on his list of possible destinations. That changed after a screening of his film “The Search for the White Rose” at the Southwest Harbor Public Library.
“The Search for the White Rose” looks at the legacy of a little-known resistance movement led by university students in Nazi Germany. The members later were executed by the Gestapo. The 2014 film was made during Logue’s senior year at UConn.
The favorable reception the film received at the library led to Logue’s decision to stay on MDI.
“It made me realize the island has a lot to offer to the young artist,” he said during a recent interview.
Reconnecting with his hometown “artistically and personally” became a goal, an objective he cited in applying for the fellowship. He didn’t need to go elsewhere to find material. Instead, he could tell “the stories of people in our community.”
One of those stories is of Frank Gray and Ada Hatch, who dated in their teens, and after the deaths of their spouses, reunited and married while in their 80s. Logue said he decided to make the film after reading an article about the couple in the Islander. His initial curiosity often sparks the idea for a film.
“There’s always this moment where I learn something, and I feel a connection with it,” he said. “What follows is a need to share that story.”
“The Search for the White Rose” came about in this manner. Logue heard about the resistance group and knew it would make a good story for his first film. But it was only during production that he realized the gravity of his material.
“It was daunting dealing with that subject with no experience,” he said.
What initially was to be a five-minute documentary, ended up more than 20 minutes long, his longest film to date. When his brother-in-law, Canadian Brass trumpeter Caleb Hudson, enthusiastically signed on to compose an original soundtrack, Logue knew the story was important to tell.
“I realized I had something bigger on my hands than I thought,” he said.
“The Search for the White Rose” had its first screening at UConn in April 2014. Before long, other schools were asking Logue to show the film. As word spread, so did the film’s popularity. There currently are 5,000 copies of the film available in high school libraries nationwide, Logue said.
“The Search for the White Rose” also is available for rental online at Logue’s website peterloguefilms.com. Clips from that film and complete versions of some of Logue’s other films, including “Frank and Ada” and “Outrunning Parkinson’s,” are posted on the website, where they can be viewed at no charge.
Although Logue considers himself primarily a documentary filmmaker, he has made narrative films, some in connection with the Barn Arts Collective of Tremont. Their collaboration on the tongue-in-cheek “commercial” for Gott’s Store is a hilarious look at the little store with just about everything. He is finishing production on a 10-minute musical love story involving New York City street performers called “Life is Awesome.” The screenplay and music were written by Andrew Simon and Brittany Parker of the Barn Arts Collective.
Logue also is busy with promotional videos for the MDI Biological Laboratory, the Criterion Theatre and the upcoming Acadia National Park centennial celebration. In January, he begins a 10-week stint at Pemetic Elementary School in Southwest Harbor, where, along with Michael Brzezowski, the school’s technology integrator, he’ll be teaching filmmaking skills to students in the third through fifth grade. The Pemetic Film Club, as it’s called, is funded through a grant from the Catherine Johnson Foundation, Logue said.
At some point, he’d like to make feature-length films, Logue said. For now, he’s content making five- or 10-minute documentaries.
“I really like doing these small documentaries,” he said. “For the most part, it’s just me and my subjects.”