BROOKSVILLE — A decade ago, Jim Picariello’s afternoons at the park with his young daughters often were interrupted by that universal scourge of parents — rowdy teenagers driving too fast.
“They’d come by the park in Blue Hill driving way too fast. I was stuck not wanting to be that guy going up and telling them to slow down, but also being angry with them,” the Brooksville filmmaker recalled. “And being stuck pushing my kids on the swing, maybe a little jealous of their youth. So I started thinking about this little revenge fantasy.”
That became the genesis for “Passive Aggressive Dads,” the latest film Picariello wrote and directed. By day, he works as an instructional designer at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine. He’s also a screenwriter whose short about a 6-year-old’s birthday party was accepted by “Sesame Street” and broadcast on HBO last winter.
Now, “Passive Aggressive Dads” has been accepted and will be shown in coming weeks at the Beaufort International Film Festival in South Carolina and the Sedona International Film Festival in Arizona.
Picariello and the five-minute short’s producer Kyle Lamont were slated to show a portion of the film on Feb. 18 at Fogtown Brewing in Ellsworth. The screening also was to feature other work made by Lamont’s Sullivan-based production company, Good to Go Studios.
“Working with Jim was so fun, and he is so smart and creative with his writing,” Lamont said. “It’s great to connect with other people around here and to celebrate work that is produced locally.”
Picariello has led a storied life. He spent time in a Buddhist computer programming cult. He started a frozen tea business. About 10 years ago, he got into writing scripts and filmmaking. His screenplay titled “The Cult of Us” was featured in the quarterfinalist round of the 2015 Academy Nicholl Fellowship. His short film “This Time It’s Shopping” won numerous awards at film festivals around the country.
“We filmed ‘Passive Aggressive Dads’ last year over the course of two days. We had a whole crew, a supporting cast, it was quite the production,” said Picariello, who raised $8,000 for the film through crowdfunding. “Getting into screenwriting is hard in rural Maine, but it’s nice when you find folks like Kyle who are creative and interested in it.”
Lamont grew up in Sullivan, graduating in 2003 from Sumner Memorial High School, and went on to study journalism at the University of Missouri. She lived in New York and Amsterdam, working in film production, before returning to Maine to start Good to Go Productions.
“I’ve had a lot of experience around the world, but I’m drawn back home,” she said. “I think that’s a trend, people returning and sharing what they’ve learned back here, and creating a resource in this area.”
Picariello and Lamont both hope to work on another short film this summer. And for Picariello, those trips to the park with his daughters have come full circle.
“The daughter I was pushing on the swing when I was thinking of this film, she’s 16 now,” he said. “And I’ll be taking her to the Austin Film festival because now she loves writing as well.”