Thursday, Sept. 27

Camden Opera House

7:30 p.m. "Betting The Farm" (2012, USA), 84 minutes

Friday, Sept. 28

Bayview Street Cinema

10 a.m. Free Shorts First 1 (seven films), 102 minutes

Noon "Drought" (2011, Mexico), 83 minutes

2 p.m. "Off Label" (2012, USA) 73 minutes

4 p.m. "Colombianos" (2012, Sweden) 90 minutes

7 p.m. “The Waiting Room” (2012, USA), 81 minutes

9 p.m. "Journey to Planet X" (2012, USA), 76 minutes

Strand Theatre

7 p.m. "Herman’s House" (2012, USA/Canada/UK), 81 minutes

9 p.m. "Only the Young" (2012, USA), 68 minutes

Saturday, Sept. 29

Bayview Street Cinema

10 a.m. Free Shorts First 2 (10 films), 93 minutes

Noon "Canícula" (2012, Mexico), 65 minutes

2 p.m. "Code of the West" (2012, USA), 71 minutes

4 p.m. "The List" (2012, USA), 85 minutes

7 p.m. "Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton As Himself” (2012, USA), 89 minutes

9 p.m. "Ballroom Dancer" (2011, Denmark/USA/UK/Ukraine/Russia/Hong Kong/Japan/ Germany), 84 minutes

Farnsworth Art Museum

11 a.m. “Goranson Farm: An Uncertain Harvest” (2012, USA), 54 minutes

12:30 a.m. "Citadel" (2011, Germany/Bolivia), 48 minutes

1:30 p.m. “East Hastings Pharmacy” (2012, Canada), 46 minutes

3 p.m. “Hardwater” (2012, USA), 75 minutes

Strand Theatre

11:30 a.m. “Peak” (2011, Germany/Italy), 91 minutes

1:30 p.m. "Downeast" (2012, USA), 77 minutes

3:30 p.m. Secret Cinema 1 (2012), 80 minutes

6:30 p.m. Secret Cinema 2 (2012), 106 minutes

9 p.m. "The Imposter" (2012, UK), 95 minutes

Sunday, Oct. 2

Bayview Street Cinema

10 a.m. Free Shorts First 3 (eight films), 103 minutes

Noon “Survival Prayer” (2012, USA/Canada), 70 minutes

2 p.m. Secret Cinema 3 (2012), 85 minutes

4 p.m. "Special Flight" (2011, Switzerland), 100 minutes

Farnsworth Art Museum

11 a.m. Dirigo Shorts (four films), 94 minutes

1 p.m. "Night Labor" (work-in-progress, USA), 72 minutes

3 p.m. "Question One" (2012, USA), 87 minutes

Strand Theatre

11:30 a.m. "Call Me Kuchu" (2012, USA/Uganda), 87 minutes

Noon Shorts Plus (five films), 51 minutes

2 p.m. "The Revisionaries" (2012, USA), 83 minutes

4 p.m. "Meanwhile in Mamelodi" (2011, Germany), 75 minutes

6 p.m. “Wavumba” (2011, Netherlands), 80 minutes

Camden Opera House

5:30 p.m. Closing night reception

7:30 p.m. "Chasing Ice" (2012, USA), 75 minutes

The eighth annual Camden International Film Festival runs Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 27 to 30 in Camden and Rockland and offers nonfiction films, short and feature-length, from around the world — and around the Midcoast.

CIFF has always had a Made in Maine Showcase, but in recent years, made-in-Maine films have been showing up in the regular lineup as well. This year’s opening night film, “Betting the Farm,” comes from North Haven’s Push Start Productions, best known locally for its “Meet Your Farmer” series of shorts for Maine Farmland Trust. “Betting the Farm” includes a couple of the farmers first seen in that series as it tells the ongoing tale of MOO Milk.

Two years ago, Push Start filmmakers Cecily Pingree and Joshua Mann and their feature-length documentary won the inaugural Points North Pitch Award, which allows filmmakers with works-in-progress to pitch their projects to a group of key industry decision makers. As “Betting the Farm” makes its official Maine premiere this year (North Havenites got a sneak peek over the summer), CIFF’s Points North Documentary Forum is bursting at the seams with leading documentary industry broadcasters, distributors, funding organizations and executive producers. The two-day forum runs concurrently with the festival and will be based at the Camden Opera House.

“We’ve got more than 30 delegates this year; it’s really the area we’re going to be developing as the heart of the festival,” said CIFF founder Ben Fowlie.

The film festival itself is a little bigger this year; Fowlie said there are some 10 more films, but six of them are short subjects. The growth of the festival, which has become part of the University of Maine’s curriculum, has enabled the staff to grow as well and Fowlie has found a strong working partner in Alyssa Morris, the new director of operations.

“We’ve got a really diverse team, a good team,” he said.

The films, which Fowlie chooses and programs, span the globe, telling both intimate, personal tales and those of larger concerns. This year saw a record number of submissions, around 500, and Fowlie starts traveling the country in March in search of the most compelling.

“It’s a solid nine months for me now … I’ve spent a lot of time in Maine this summer, so it will seem kind of strange to head back to Boston in November,” said Fowlie, who grew up in Camden.

Among the Maine-set films in this year’s fest is “Goranson Farm: An Uncertain Harvest,” making its world premiere; and “Liberty Tools,” a short about the Liberty Tool Company. The latter is in the Shorts Plus screening at the Strand, which gathers a series of short documentaries that highlight creativity in Maine and will be followed by a discussion led by Farnsworth Art Museum’s Roger Dell. In the feature lineup is “Downeast,” which had a work-in-progress screening last year. “Downeast” filmmakers David Redmon and Ashley Sabin will screen another work-in-progress, one that zeros in on some of the previous film’s subjects. “Betting The Farm” is similarly a follow-up of sorts, and Fowlie thinks that trend is a good thing for Maine filmmaking.

“It looks at these great characters in greater depth, Maine people dealing with challenging issues that face people all over the country,” he said.

Which is not to say that all documentary films, in CIFF and otherwise, are soberingly serious. Fowlie said he saw “Catcam” at South by Southwest “and just loved it” — it is included in the final of the free-admission Shorts First screenings at the Bayview Street Cinema in Camden all three mornings.

In fact, the festival’s opening and closing films, which Fowlie said may be CIFF’s best bookends yet, tackle subjects that could be depressing in an uplifting way. The opener is “Betting The Farm”; the closer, Sunday night at the opera house, is “Chasing Ice,” a critically acclaimed Sundance favorite that follows National Geographic photographer James Balog on an Arctic adventure to create a time-lapse, multi-year record of the world's changing glaciers.

“We start local and end global, but people will leave thinking, that was a really good film — and that really is what we’re trying to do,” he said.

Tickets to individual screenings, as available, are $8.50. Festival Passes ($75) and VIP Passes ($150), which include receptions and parties, may be purchased online (through Saturday) and picked up, or purchased, at the CIFF Box Office, first floor of the Camden Opera House. For complete information about the festival, including descriptions of all films, or about Points North, visit camdenfilmfest.org.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.