People gather last July for opening night of the Maine International Film Festival at the Skowhegan Drive-In Theatre. The 24th MIFF event will kick off Friday. “The Bride in the Box” will play at the Skowhegan Drive-In on July 14.  Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

The retelling of an old ghost story that Doug Bost heard while vacationing in Bar Harbor with his family was the inspiration behind the feature film that will premiere next week at the Maine International Film Festival.

Bost, director of “The Bride in the Box,” was inspired to create a script after hearing a story from a friend while vacationing in Hancock County. The movie premieres July 13 and has two other showings during the festival.

The festival, known as MIFF, aims to bring films from around the world to Maine and is scheduled to run from July 9 to 18.

“We were on vacation on Mount Desert Island a few years ago, and we were hanging out with some friends. Somebody told a very old ghost story, about the bride in the box,” Bost said. “There was something about the juxtaposition of hearing that ghost story when we were on this beautiful vacation in Maine, me and my wife and our daughter.”

Following this night of storytelling, Bost and his wife, Carolyn Baeumler, continued sharing the tale with one another with great fascination.

And after finding a version of the original story in Alvin Schwartz’s children’s series, “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” the pair realized their retelling of the tale gave it a new life.

The cast includes Carolyn Baeumler, Bost’s wife, their daughter, Acadia Bost, Victor Verhaeghe, Hal Robinson, Tammy Faye Starlite and Terry Kinney. The movie was shot at a family friend’s camp on Hancock Point.

“Almost immediately, in just telling and retelling the story amongst ourselves, we embellished it and came up with new things to make it more interesting,” Bost said.

The film centers around the main character, Iris, the daughter of Don and Heather, as the family travels to the Down East area. Due to job demands, Heather is delayed and running late.

The father-daughter duo arrive to their vacation spot, described as “a house with an old trunk at the end of the hall.” After Heather arrives, tensions between the couple arise as their daughter works to figure out what is inside the box, which is locked and cannot be opened.

The movie is one of three films included in the festival that has a focus on being made, produced or set in Maine.

The other films in the MIFF lineup for this summer that were either filmed or produced in Maine, or are set here, include “The Catch,” directed by Matthew Ya-Hsiung Balzer, and “Fighting Indians,” directed by Mark Cooley and Derek Ellis.

Another film, “Bread in the Bones,” is sponsored by Maine Grains in Skowhegan.

This is Bost’s first feature film as a director, though he is experienced making short films. He’s also worked on other feature films as a writer, including “Diminished Capacity,” a 2008 film directed by Terry Kinney and starring Matthew Broderick.

“I’ve always wanted to make features, not just short films. It really excites me more than anything else,” Bost said.

Because of the small cast, limited locations and lack of special effects needed to tell the story, Bost was able to make his idea “as inexpensive as possible and as simple to shoot as possible.”

He added that the crew of cinematographers, electricians, camera assistants and producers were split between companies from Maine and New York.

“The Bride in the Box,” premieres July 13 at 3 p.m. at Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville. Run time is 1 hour, 26 minutes.

Based in Waterville, MIFF is a project of Maine Film Center and sponsored by Colby College, Waterville Creates and the Lawry Family Foundation.

MIFF for 2021 kicks off Friday at the Waterville Opera House, with the New England premiere of “Nine Days,” directed by Edson Oda. The film schedule, tickets for individual showings and festival passes are available through MIFF’s website — miff.org.

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