VIDEO: North Pond Hermit on the big screen

A year ago last spring, I was contacted by a group of young, New York City documentary filmmakers. They were on their way to Maine in search of the newly-discovered North Pond Hermit. Since the Hermit was currently secluded behind bars, and not in a talkative mood, they were settling for interviews with the panoply of peripheral characters orbiting the kerfuffle. I was one of them.

I didn’t do any reporting on the Hermit story and I live in Portland, far away from the action zone, but I’d gained a bit of fleeting notoriety with a song about the reclusive outdoor enthusiast. I’d made it onto the radio and produced a CD featuring the tune with my group, the Half Moon Jug Band.

Director Lena Friedrich (a sometimes actress, originally from France) came to my house with her crew.  Laura Snow ran the camera and Aitor Mendilibar recorded the sound. I made them coffee and they interviewed me in the kitchen. Then, I played my banjo and sang the song for them.

As you can see above, I made them sing it with me as well.

A rough-cut version of the documentary ran at the Maine International Film Festival last summer. The finished product, a short film simply called “The Hermit” is premiering this weekend at the Camden International Film festival. It’s running in a group of brief films called “Dirigo Shorts: You Can’t Get There From Here” on Sunday Sept. 28 at 1 p.m.

That’s me in the opening of the promo clip above. I have no idea if I’m still in the finished film, which is only half as long as the original, or if my song still plays over the final credits. Unfortunately, I’m playing a gig in Washington, D.C. this weekend and I won’t be able to go see the show.

If anyone reading this blog sees the film, can you report back on what you saw and how it turned out?

It’s hard to imagine a nicer, more dedicated and enthusiastic filmmaker than Lena. I wish her, Laura and Aitor the best and much success.

Documentary filmmakers from New York City (from left) Aitor Mendilibar, the sound recordist, Lena Friedrich, the director and Laura Shaw, the cinematographer, gather round BDN photographer and "banjournalist" Troy R. Bennett to sing the "North Pond Hermit Song" Friday morning. The crew spent a week in Maine working on a documentary about the suddenly famous hermit, AKA Christopher Knight. Troy R. Bennett | BDN

Documentary filmmakers from New York City (from left) Aitor Mendilibar, the sound recordist, Lena Friedrich, the director and Laura Snow, the cinematographer, gather round and sing.


Troy R. Bennett

About Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.