The crew from the moose hunting film "The Dream" is shown with the 50-inch bull moose bow hunter John Altman (front row, right) harvested in September in Aroostook County. The film is a finalist at the Badlands Film Festival. Pictured are (front, from left) Josh Leach, Rye Altman and John Altman and (rear, from left) Niklas Weikert, Forrest Rowe and Emma Altman. Credit: Courtesy of Niklas Weikert

Bowhunting in Maine will be in the spotlight on Saturday night when the 2022 Badlands Film Festival is held in Louisville, Kentucky.

“The Dream,” a film made and produced in Maine last year by Hunting ME, led by John Altman of Brooksville, is among the finalists in the feature film category at the event.

The Badlands Film Festival, named for the Utah-based national outdoors gear company, is part of the Archery Trade Association’s annual show. It’s the largest archery and bowhunting show in the U.S.

“It’s shared success,” said Altman, who is pleased the recognition will likely have a positive reflection on the state and its bowhunting opportunities.

“This film came from Maine and Maine has a really good story to tell,” he said. “For this film to have been produced here in Maine and for us to be featured in this film festival, I’m really excited about the potential for Maine.”

“The Dream” is one of seven feature film finalists. Altman said that means Hunting ME likely will be going up against some big-time production companies that have produced films for other national entities.

“We’re in there up against some of these other big filmmakers and films that had huge budgets to produce,” Altman said.

“We’re going on sweat and passion,” he added.

Altman and filmmakers Forrest Rowe and Niklas Weikert faced a monumental challenge while preparing the film for the Badlands Film Festival. The competition is limited to submissions of no longer than 10 minutes and the original cut of “The Dream” is 50 minutes long.

Altman said the editing process, though difficult, helped the Hunting ME crew develop a deeper appreciation for what they could accomplish with their short film. It took them a month to make the needed edits, leaving it at 9 minutes, 58 seconds.

“You’ll find that it has even more of an impact, and it’s even more spiritual than the long version, which you would think might be exactly the opposite,” he said. “It’s just fast and raw.”

Altman said the heartfelt observations and perspective of his wife Emma, the moose permit for the hunt the group filmed, helped provide the theme that tied the shortened film together.

John and Emma Altman will pick up Weikert in Boston and make the 20-hour drive to Louisville for Saturday’s festival. Rowe, who is in Ohio, will meet them there. The 2021 event was held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Having the opportunity to see the short version of “The Dream” played in front of a live audience is a dynamic John Altman is looking forward to with great anticipation.

“You know you’ve really captured the audience when there’s no shuffling, there’s nobody moving their feet around,” he said. “Everybody’s on the edge of their seat engaged. I’m really hoping to kind of see that.”

Altman hopes the exposure created by the nomination at the festival might not only promote Maine, but help Hunting ME make some connections that can help the group with some of the video projects it is planning for the future.

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...