WATERVILLE — Sitting at a corner table Friday afternoon in the first floor of the Waterville Public Library, Ezra Ehrenzeller showed off the collection of screenplays he’s written. His mother, Tamara, said Ezra, a big fan of movies, began writing screenplays as soon as he could write. He researches voice actors, studios and soundtracks for his movies, she said, and he keeps all his scripts in a box for his brother and often organizes family movie nights.

Ezra, 9, of Oakland, said, “It’s more than just pictures. They make you learn stuff.”

The mother and son were among a half dozen who attended an all-day workshop on filmmaking as a collaborative art, the first of its kind at the Maine International Film Festival. Directed by Brooklyn-based filmmaker Lynne Sachs, workshop participants broke off into pairs, with each person making his or her own two-minute film.

Before the pairs went off to make their movies, Sachs showed them a few short films to show how experimental filmmaking without cuts can be done. One film, titled “Painting Myself into a Corner” by artist Keith Haring, had no cuts at all in it.

Sachs, whose film “Tip of My Tongue” was screened at the festival, asked each participant to come with a cellphone to film the movies and “wacky props” for each of the films. By using the props, she said, the filmmakers were free to explore new ideas.

One group that was making a film about a doctor who went to medical school in just 20 minutes brought a white jacket that looked like one a doctor would wear. John Lovejoy, who played the doctor, went into the library elevator as himself in the film and came out as a doctor.

Sachs said teaching film as a collaborative art makes the experience more fun for the students involved, and the format allows each participant to learn from the others. She likes the idea of the uncut two-minute shorts as a means of storytelling, and the films she showed were largely that same style.

By and large, the performances were more physical than dialogue-based, she said, much like the film she showed by Haring, which was full of activity and motion.

“Your creativity explodes,” she said.

The point of using cellphones to record the films was multifaceted, she said. On one hand, cellphones are far more accessible than a big, expensive camera. A person might come to a workshop and use a bigger camera, but they likely wouldn’t have access to such equipment again.

More importantly, Sachs said she wanted those in attendance to see that cellphones can be used artistically and as a means to be expressive constantly.

“I really want people to look at phones as a paintbrush,” she said.

At a lunch at Jorgensen’s Cafe on Main Street paid for by the film festival, Sachs asked the participants not to use their phones as a distraction, but instead to enjoy the communal meal. She said that not every participant at the workshop was angling to become a filmmaker, but she hoped that they were able to take home the notion that the cellphone is a powerful tool for managing their lives and can be used for art.

“It can still be a place where you express yourself,” she said. “I hope people will walk away with that.”

Once the films were finished, they were shown on a screen on the top floor of the library so everyone in the workshop could see them.

Earlier in the day, as Tamara Ehrenzeller readied her phone to record, she asked Ezra how they should begin. With his props on the table, he said to begin with him building.

Ezra, a boy living with autism, made a film in which he stacked, knocked down, and stacked again a pile of wooden pegs. All the while, he called out to an off-screen character to keep it down and to stay out. He called his movie “Noisy Problems.”

Finally the red-headed boy called out what could be every director’s favorite phrase: “That’s a wrap.”

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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