BAR HARBOR — In the last year filmmaker Peter Logue, 27, has learned more about the history of his alma mater, Mount Desert Island High School, than he ever knew attending it.
A 2010 graduate, Logue began collecting information and interviews last fall regarding the 1968 consolidation of three island high schools into the one central high school. In his latest documentary titled, “Consolidation,” Logue relies on the folks who lived through the historical event to bring the story to life.
“With this film I let the interviews shape the story,” said Logue. ”Writing the narration was one of the last things I did for this film.”
While a time and place for the premiere has not been determined, Logue says they are hoping for a Bar Harbor venue around Thanksgiving weekend. Many former students of the high school will be home with family at that time to attend the 40-minute feature.
“Everybody that lived through this will be interested,” said Kimberly Swan, who is the executive producer for the film. “I love it … I wish I could do it for a full-time job.”
This is Logue’s second collaboration with Swan and the Bar Harbor Historical Society on a historic documentary that focuses on a major event on Mount Desert Island. Their first collaboration was “Fire of ‘47” about the fire that devastated much of Bar Harbor.
After Bar Harbor resident Hilda Roderick saw their first collaboration, she convinced them they should do another one and suggested the high school consolidation to celebrate the 50th anniversary.
Research for the project began in the wake of the fire film, utilizing newspapers going back to 1948.
“It’s astounding how many articles were written about the consolidation,” said Logue. He explained how every edition of the Bar Harbor Times during that time had an editorial on the front page focused on the issue.
“There were sort of whispers of consolidation as far back as the ‘20s,” said Logue. “They needed a unanimous vote from all four towns to move forward.”
A regional high school committee was formed in 1948, according to Logue. There was also an education survey underwritten by David Rockefeller, who owned the property the school was built on, that was 76 pages long and decisively in favor of consolidation.
Interviews that shaped the film included folks who graduated from the first couple of classes at the high school, a former teacher of Pemetic High School who did not go on to teach at the new school and the current high school principal, among many others.
“The focus of the film for a long time was what it was like that first year,” said Logue. “One of the most interesting things I learned about was the towns… A lot of those rivalries that were between towns 50 years ago still exist.”
He took copious notes from the newspaper research and gathered about 15 hours of video interviews with his Canon EOS 5D Mark II to tell the story. Condensing that coverage into a 40-minute film was no easy feat.
“I’m scared to even speculate about that,” he said when asked about how many hours he’s invested. “There’s been a lot of research for this film… I think film is a great medium because you can incorporate so many forms of information.”
It was his time at the University of Connecticut studying English that sparked Logue’s passion for filmmaking–not necessarily the English studies, but a job with the sports department putting together ‘hype videos.’
His job was to go through old footage and make small clips to show during the basketball games to get the crowds excited. After spending hours alone editing footage, Logue said it was fun to share his work with lots of people who really appreciated it.
“That was where I sort of got hooked on the power of filmmaking,” he said. “When I came back here after college I had no intention of setting up shop here. [But] it felt really natural to me to start making films here. There are such passionate and inspiring people here.”
For “Consolidation,” Logue got a few other island folks involved, but also some trusted previous collaborators. He recruited Steve Zirnkilton to narrate, as he did for “Fire of ’47.” Andrew Lynch composed the original score. Kristin Leffler serves as Logue’s story supervisor and Mike Perlman did some drone video for the movie.
“I’m always conscious of the fact that I don’t want these films to be an inside joke to people who grew up here,” said Logue. “I’m always challenging and questioning myself to make the story interesting to someone not from MDI … There’s certainly a lot of universal themes in this film.”