LEWISTON — Next month’s Emerge Film Festival will feature a documentary about an Auburn family and the aftermath of suicide.

“Scattering CJ” will be shown Friday, Oct. 4, at The Dolard & Priscilla Gendron Franco Center on Cedar Street. The hourlong film will begin at 7:30 p.m., with a panel to follow.

Film poster for “Scattering CJ.” Photo courtesy Spark Media

“We’re not showing any other films at the same time. We want everyone to come see ‘Scattering CJ,'” said festival director Peter Scheibner. “We think it’s that good.”

The documentary by Spark Media tells the story of the Twomey family following the 2010 suicide of 20-year-old C.J. Twomey. His mother, Hallie Twomey, made international headlines with her heart-wrenching Facebook post seeking people to help scatter C.J.’s ashes, her attempt to give her son the adventure he never got. Almost six years later, more than 22,000 people have volunteered and small packets of C.J.’s ashes have been scattered in 1,100 locations all over the world.

C.J. Twomey Photo courtesy Twomey family and Spark Media

Emerge is one of the first festivals to screen the film. “Scattering CJ” had its world premiere a week ago at the Camden International Film Festival, where it received multiple standing ovations.

Emerge is typically held in April, but organizers moved it to October this year. The sixth annual festival will run Oct. 2-5.


New this year: All films and panels will be free.

“It’s kind of our thank-you note to Lewiston,” Scheibner said. “We appreciate everything Lewiston’s done for us and we want to give something back to them. It’s the same value it was when we were charging $50 a ticket, but now you can have it for free. We really want people to come out and experience some of the incredible filmmakers here in our community.”

The festival will begin Wednesday, Oct. 2, with an evening of short films at Rinck Advertising on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. The movies will start around 5:45 p.m. and will be shown in four rooms, back to back, so viewers can move from one film to another throughout the evening.

“It’s basically a choose-your-own-journey type thing,” Scheibner said.

On Thursday, Oct. 3, there will be a showing of “Reservoir Dogs,” Quentin Tarantino’s first big film, at 7:30 p.m. at the Franco Center. A panel discussion will follow about first-time filmmakers.

On Friday, Oct. 4, a 10 a.m. educational session at the Franco Center will focus on possible future tax incentives for filmmaking in Maine. Starting at 1:30 p.m., the festival will screen films at the Franco Center and Community Little Theatre on Academy Street, including “Breaking Their Silence,” an award-winning documentary about women fighting poaching, and “Return to Hardwick,” a World War II documentary.


That evening, the festival will show “As One,” a short film about loss and overcoming loss, with “Scattering CJ” to follow.

Featured on Saturday, Oct. 5, will be a series of films at the Franco Center and Community Little Theatre starting at 10 a.m., including several short horror movies. At 7 p.m. at the Franco Center, the festival will offer an encore presentation of whichever film is named Best in Festival.

All events will be free and no tickets are required. Seating will be first-come, first-served.


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