WATERVILLE — The 22nd annual Maine International Film Festival came to a close Sunday evening with 250 to 300 moviegoers turning out at the Waterville Opera House for the screening of Julius Onah’s psychological thriller “Luce.”

The film, which stars Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer and Tim Roth, tells the story of Amy and Peter Edgar, a couple whose image of their Eritrean-born adopted son Luce is distorted when he’s accused of writing a disturbing essay for school.

Festival coordinators picked the film specifically as the finale of the 10-day festival in order to leave an impression on moviegoers.

“It was an amazing closing night,” said Mike Perrault, executive director of the Maine Film Center, which is the organization that puts on the film festival. “We chose to end with a film that speaks a lot to what’s happening in America right now.”

Festival officials did not have an estimate immediately Monday of how many people attended the festival.

Ken Eisen, the director of programming at the Maine Film Center who’s responsible for picking the festival’s feature lineup, said the film and its content were intense and memorable for those who attended the screening.

The final night of MIFF also included the presentation of the audience award for Best Film, which went to Avi Belkin’s documentary “Mike Wallace is Here.” Jeanne Herry’s French drama “In Safe Hands (Pupille)” came in second place for Best Film.

According to Eisen, both films are set to return for regular runs at Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville.

“In Safe Hands (Pupille)” will begin screening this Friday, and “Mike Wallace is Here” is scheduled to start Aug. 16. Both will run for about a week, depending on audience interest, Eisen said.

He said this year’s festival yielded mostly positive feedback.

“We heard a lot of compliments from attendees over the course of the 10 days,” Eisen said. “We had some good turnouts; it was really exciting.”

And even though Eisen said it’s too early to predict any changes coming to next year’s festival, he is sure of one thing: “We’ll always continue to build upon what we have. But for now, I could use a couple of days off, that’s for sure.”

Controversy arose during the festival over the inclusion of the Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1972 film “Last Tango in Paris,” prompting former Waterville Mayor Karen Heck and others to protest outside the opera house. Heck and other critics objected to the film because it depicts what has, in recent years, been revealed as a real-life sexual assault on an actress.

In response, the directors of the Maine Film Center issued an unusual statement saying, “We disagreed strongly with the inclusion of this film in the MIFF lineup” and declaring the film would be shown free and that prior ticket proceeds would be donated to a charity.

Morning Sentinel columnist J.P. Devine reviewed festival films each day in the newspaper and said he chose to write about “Last Tango in Paris” as an ode to the film’s director, Bertolucci, whom MIFF partly dedicated this year’s festival to.

“I know there was a lot of flak about the festival showing ‘Last Tango in Paris,’” Devine said. “But I was a film student, and when I was in school, everyone was crazy for Bertolucci, so that’s why I included it in my reviews.”

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