WATERVILLE — The 20th annual Maine International Film Festival opens July 14 with a film partly shot on Monhegan Island, off the Maine coast.

“The Sounding,” a mystery directed by Catherine Eaton and released this year, will be shown at 7 p.m. in the Waterville Opera House and will be followed by an opening night party in Castonguay Square featuring the band Muddy Ruckus. The 10-day festival runs through July 23 and features more than 100 foreign- and American-made films screened at the Opera House and Railroad Square Cinema.

Thousands of film enthusiasts from around the world attend the festival and get to interact with directors, actors, producers and writers; attend parties and other events; and take part in question-and-answer sessions after screenings. A program of the Maine Film Center, a nonprofit organization, the festival also has a special focus on Maine-made films.

“The Sounding,” also shot in New York City and on adjacent Long Island, revolves around the character Liv, a young woman raised by her grandfather on a remote island who has never spoken. When Lionel, her grandfather, learns he is dying, he calls the son of his best friend and former protege, Michael, to the island and asks him to protect Liv’s independence.

That night, as Lionel reads aloud to Liv, his voice fails. She picks up the book of Shakespeare’s work, starts to read and then weaves a language from Shakespeare’s words. Michael discovers her speaking and commits her to a psychiatric hospital. Incensed, Lionel’s attorney blocks Michael from treating her. Meanwhile, she becomes a full-blown rebel while at the hospital, and her increasing violence threatens to keep her locked up forever.

Ken Eisen, MIFF’s programming director, said the film “resonates with Maine, with life, and with the beat of a different drum.”

“‘The Sounding’ speaks to all of us as it tells its haunting story of a woman who chooses to speak only in her own way,” Eisen said.

Eaton, the director, also stars in the film along with Teddy Sears, Harris Yulin, Erin Darke and Frankie Faison.

According to a news release from Nate Towne, marketing manager for Waterville Creates!, which promotes the festival, Eaton said the cast and crew braved the cold and the sea while shooting.

“The island and the islanders gave incredible support and the sheer raw beauty necessary to lend Liv’s world its own narrative voice,” she said. “The use of Monhegan Island as well as other authentic locations is intended to give a level of honesty to ‘The Sounding’ that reflects Liv’s own.”

The opening night reception in Castonguay Square, downtown next to City Hall, will include outdoor projections by LumenARRT!, which uses video projections to educate and entertain audiences while seeking to give voice to local groups promoting environmental, social and economic justice. Food and drinks will be provided by the Silver Street Tavern, according to Towne.

Eaton, an award-winning director, writer, actor and producer, also is a freelance producer for Madison Square Garden. She shares an Emmy Award with the team behind Bloomberg Television’s investigative report “Deadly Brew: The Human Toll of Ethanol” and has performed on Broadway as well as on television.

She studied at Cornell University, where she was a College Scholar and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from University of Minnesota/Guthrie.

Tickets for the festival’s opening night cost $12 per person and will be available starting June 26 at www.miff.org, which lists where tickets are available. On that day, the festival program will be posted on that site, according to organizers. People also may obtain tickets by calling 866-811-4111. Festival passes start at $95 and are available now for purchase.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

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Twitter: @AmyCalder17