2013-09-25 / Arts & Entertainment

Film ‘Down by the River’s Edge’ to be shown

This locally- produced documentary focuses on French- Canadian immigrants to Franklin County

FARMINGTON — The Gold LEAF institute (the senior college at UMF) will be showing the film “Down by the River’s Edge” as part of the 150th anniversary celebration events at University of Maine at Farmington this fall. The film will be shown at 3:45 p.m. Oct. 10 in Thomas Auditorium. The auditorium is located on High Street on the UMF Campus. Entry can be made from the Preble or Ricker doorways. This showing is free and open to the community. Donations will be accepted.

Down by The River’s Edge was written and filmed by local Farmington resident Susan Gagnon. Set against the backdrop of the history of the local paper industry beginning in the 1890s, the film documents the stories of papermakers who worked at the landmark Otis Mill in Chisholm, and includes the devastation closing the historic Otis Mill. Oftentimes leaving family behind for years, men traveled over land and sea, from Quebec, the Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and across the Atlantic from as far away as Italy, Czechoslovakia and Ireland seeking and finding employment in the foothills of western


Through firsthand accounts, retired papermakers weave generational tales of their struggles and triumphs as immigrants settling together with loved ones into the trinity of a community: the Otis Mill, the Androscoggin River and the St. Rose of Lima Church, where all these new immigrants practiced their Roman Catholic faith.

Susan Gagnon, a former resident of Jay and Livermore Falls collaborated with Mt. Blue Community Access TV in Farmington producing the local documentary. After contacting JP Fortier, MBTV Station Director, novice filmmaker Gagnon was trained on how to use the station’s camera equipment and began filming the outside of the Otis Mill while it was still producing paper in May 2009. The Otis Mill shut down permanently in June 2009.

Gagnon, who wrote the screenplay, formerly a community health advocate and medical receptionist, enjoys writing, researching local history of immigrant populations, scrap booking and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

For more information, contact Gold LEAF office at 778-7063.

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