SULLIVAN — To get anywhere around Downeast Maine, you’ve got to drive, and that gives you plenty of time to think.
“There’s lot’s of driving up here. To see anyone, there’s that commitment to driving somewhere,” Sullivan filmmaker and podcaster Kyle Lamont observes. “And that means plenty of time alone, and there’s some inspiration in that solitude. Lots of ‘aha’ moments can happen like that.”
The 2003 Sumner Memorial High School graduate gets plenty of that quality road time for reflection nowadays, having moved back to Maine and made Sullivan her home base in 2012.
From the Sullivan Harbor house her grandfather Samuel Robinson built, she runs Good To Go Studios. Her production company has shot commercials for Bar Harbor’s Side Street Café and Emma Thieme of Maven Leather & Seats in Cherryfield.
She also produced a music video for Austin-based band The Bright Light Social Hour filmed in Washington County.
In addition, she teamed up with Brooksville screenwriter Jim Picariello to make ““Passive Aggressive Dads,” a short film about a 6-year-old’s birthday party, which was accepted by “Sesame Street” and broadcast on HBO in 2018. Earlier this spring, the five-minute short won Best Comedy at the Beaufort International Film Festival in Beaufort, S.C.
“Working with Jim for that accolade [the award for “Passive Aggressive Dads”] is just so much sweeter, because of our grit to get it done with our resources around here,” the filmmaker said last week. “So I’m looking forward to grow closer to the community here, and make an imprint here.”
From a young age, Lamont demonstrated grit in the ocean and swimming pool, where she distinguished herself in distance freestyle events. At age 13, she helped set two world records as a relay team member in a double crossing of the 21-mile English Channel.
“It hasn’t kicked in yet, that I swam the English Channel,” Lamont told Bangor Daily News reporter Jessica Bloch in a 1998 story. “Only like 700 people have ever done that!”
While attending Sumner, Lamont’s interest in writing was kindled by the high school’s former language arts teacher Andrea St. George Jones.
“Mrs. Jones, she was my teacher there, she ended up being a really close mentor of mine for an independent study program,” Lamont recalled. I was actually writing for the paper [The Ellsworth American], working on the ‘Our Town’ series [including] Sullivan and a few other towns. She took me under her wing and helped me cultivate an interest in that.”
At home, Lamont got a close look at visual storytelling through her parents, Curtis and Pepper Robinson, who had their own film production company.
“They met while working at HBO, and then with their production company I remember reading scripts as a kid, doing little voiceovers,” she remembered. “So I’d like to say that I was born with this passion.”
Lamont’s interest in writing and her swimming success took her to the University of Missouri School of Journalism in Columbia, Mo. She was among four high school standouts signed by the Missouri Tiger women’s swimming team to compete in all distance freestyle events.
In her other life as a journalism student, Lamont landed an internship with a local TV news affiliate.
“I saw how editing worked, how live news worked, how being a production assistant, being behind a camera. So I’d say that’s when I was really drawn to visual storytelling,” she related. “Now its like one minute can be worth a thousand words.”
After graduating from the University of Missouri, Lamont moved to New York City. With the recession kicking into gear, work was scarce. She shot the occasional wedding and other freelance shoots, but continued to pursue her own projects. She also spent a year living in Amsterdam.
Among her own creative work was a hosted online series called “Bands on the Bubble,” in which Lamont interviews and films musicians in concert in order to highlight eclectic emerging bands ranging from Jamaican reggae artist Fantan Mojah to the Swedish electronic pop group Little Dragon performing in Amsterdam.
Lamont’s passion for live music inspired Concert Cast the Podcast about Maine’s rich variety of music venues including Fogtown Brewing Co. in Ellsworth The microbrewery features a wide mix of live music from the Americana folk-rock band Moosestones to a five-piece indie rock band Yard Dog.
Since moving back to Maine, Lamont has embraced the challenge of not being based in a major metro area professionally. She still does some travel-oriented freelance work for the digital media company Matador Network.
“It’s been a great experience to work with people from around the world, and it’s really encouraged me to bring that to bring that to Downeast Maine,” said Lamont. “There’s a lot of great minds up here, the fun part is mining for them and having the opportunity to develop an idea and execute it all the way through.”
The Sumner graduate never finds herself lacking potential sources, subjects and ideas for films to pitch and podcasts to do in the Downeast region.
“Maybe there’s a little bit more of a sense of adventure up here,” she said. “I guess there’s a kind of rugged character trait that you have to have. Maybe by living up here, you’re creating a little more character for yourself.”
To see and hear Lamont’s work, go to goodtogostudios.com. Her podcast Concert Cast the Podcast can be found on iTunes.