‘Becoming Acadia’ to premiere at Criterion

BAR HARBOR — The documentary “Becoming Acadia” will premiere at the Criterion Theatre on Friday, Sept. 30, at 8 p.m.

The making of a documentary is often a story in itself, and for local filmmaker Jeff Dobbs, the story of “Becoming Acadia” began four years ago when he was asked if he had anything planned for the centennial of Acadia National Park.

“Without hesitation I answered, ‘a documentary about George Bucknam Dorr,’” said Dobbs, who collaborated with Bing Miller on the project.

“The idea of doing something specifically about Dorr had been in the back of our minds for well over 10 years or more, so whenever during the course of other research we came across anything to do remotely with him, we tucked it away in our archives for future use.”

Dobbs and Miller then reached out to friend and past collaborator Gunnar Hansen to begin outlining the script for what would eventually turn into “Becoming Acadia.” Shortly after, Hansen was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away within months. Friend and script-writer Catherine Russell stepped up to help complete the project. These unforeseen circumstances challenged the filmmakers’ conventional documentary-making process.

“Sometimes fate intervenes and causes a few bumps in the road. You just have to deal with it,” Dobbs said.

“Becoming Acadia” brings Dorr’s book “The Story of Acadia National Park” to the big screen. Hundreds of archival photographs, paintings and maps and the storytelling voice of Jack Perkins, set to the music of the College of the Atlantic’s own John Cooper help tell the story of how Dorr became known as “The Father of Acadia National Park.”

A question-and-answer session with the filmmakers will follow the screening. Tickets cost $8 for balcony seats, $7 for orchestra and $6 for student/senior orchestra seats. They are available online at or at the box office an hour before show time.


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