A still from "The Washing Society," a documentary about the women who work in New York City laundromats by Lynne Sachs and Lizzie Olesker. The film will be shown as part of the MIFF By-the-Sea festival at Reel Pizza this weekend. PHOTO COURTESY OF REEL PIZZA

Around the world with MIFF By-the-Sea

BAR HARBOR — When you drop off a bag of dirty laundry, who does the washing and folding?

That question is at the heart of “The Washing Society,” a documentary about the women who work in New York City laundromats. The film is one of dozens, part of the Maine International Film Festival, that will be screened Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 at Reel Pizza Cinerama as part of MIFF By-the-Sea.

“First time collaborators filmmaker Lynne Sachs and playwright Lizzie Olesker observe the disappearing public space of the neighborhood laundromat,” event organizers said, “and the continual, intimate labor that happens there, investigating the intersection of history, underpaid work, immigration, and the sheer math of doing laundry.

“Sachs and Olesker present a stark yet poetic vision of those whose working lives often go unrecognized, turning a lens onto their hidden stories, which are often overlooked.”

MIFF By-the-Sea is a curated, best-of program of films from the Maine International Film Festival. The film festival is a collaboration of First Light Film Society and Reel Pizza. Nearly three dozen films will be presented over the four day festival weekend, hailing from as close as College of the Atlantic and as far away as Paraguay, Turkey, China, and Argentina.


Short films to be screened as part of the MIFF By-the-Sea festival at Reel Pizza this weekend include “If All Hinges Upon Oneself” by College of the Atlantic professor Nancy Andrews. The animation in the film is by COA students.

Thirteen different full-length films will screen twice each over the weekend.

Other documentary feature subjects include genetic food modification, women who sing the blues, the challenges of living in close proximity to black bears, estranged preeminent twin artists, a tribute to Charlie Chaplin, and a portrait of a Northeast Kingdom (Vt.) hermit.

Among the full-length features is “The Heiresses,” a prize-winning film about two long-time friends struggling with the reality of their new situations when their lifetime of wealth comes to an end. Ana Brun won Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival for her portrayal of Chela, a descendant of a wealthy family in Paraguay dealing with her friend’s imprisonment on fraud charges. The film is in Spanish and Guarani with English subtitles.

Other dramatic feature subjects include stories of a young Zambian woman who is branded a witch, a blind pianist and friend of Mozart who regains her sight but loses something more special, a voyage down the Yangtze River, both geographically and in time, and a road movie about a stranded pregnant woman and her elderly dog.

The festival also includes three programs of short films — animated, international, and Maine-made. The Maine short films include “Popul[asian]: 356” by Annie Lee, a documentary about what it’s like to be an Asian student at Colby College in Waterville.

For those especially interested in the short film form, another opportunity to see a different selection of new works comes up immediately after MIFF By-the-Sea.

From Oct. 2-4 at 5:30 and 8:15 p.m., Reel Pizza will be screening the Manhattan Short Film Festival, an international program with a simultaneous global release in which the audience members vote for their favorite film and actor with others world-wide.

Tickets are available at the box office for all the films. Doors open on Friday and Monday at the regular time of 4:30 p.m.; on Saturday and Sunday doors will open at2:30 pm to accommodate earlier matinee screenings.

More information about every film including screening times and a link to the preview trailer is available online at reelpizza.com/miff.php and on Reel Pizza’s Facebook page. Contact 288-3828.

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