MONMOUTH — The makers of “Scooter McGruder” left Saturday’s L/A Film Festival with a little more hardware than when they arrived.

The romantic comedy, the first feature-length film to come out of Monmouth-based Freight Train Films, was named the People’s Choice Award for best feature-length film.

“It was a pretty amazing feeling,” said Bill McLean, the longtime actor who created Freight Train Films in 2009.

McLean wrote the screenplay for “McGruder” and starred in the film. His wife, Tiffany McLean, co-directed and co-edited the film with Jeff Sullivan.

“McGruder” is the story of Scott McGruder, a 40-year-old hapless handyman trying to put his life together while winning over the woman he loves.

The first-ever L/A Film Festival drew about 200 submissions from around the world. About half of those films were chosen to screen in Lewiston and Auburn during the festival, and 20 of those films were nominated for a people’s choice award in one of four categories, including short film, feature-length film, documentaries and experimental.

Festival goers then voted for their favorite film. “McGruder” attracted a larger audience than any other film in the festival, McLean said.

The People’s Choice Award winners were announced during a festival dinner party held at the French bistro, Fuel.

“Personally, it means a lot to myself and my wife,” McLean said. “We know we’re a team that can do something spectacular.”

Earning the people’s choice will likely help launch “McGruder” to loftier heights, McLean said. The movie will be formally introduce during a red carpet premier in the coming weeks. McLean said its important that he can now advertise event with the words “award winning” attached.

Those words also will help “McGruder” stand out in distributors’ minds. There were about 5,000 movies made across the world in 2009, McLean said. About 123 of those will be screened by a distributor. About 60 of those will be sold and distributed.

“McGruder” has four guaranteed screenings.

“We just moved from the bottom to the top of the pile,” McLean said. “They give more money and extra looks to films that win awards. Our chances for selling it just went up.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.