Move over, Cannes. Maine will be playing host to its first-ever international mustache film festival, part of its annual pageant that celebrates the bristly facial hair.
The festival set for March 30 in Portland will feature short films with storylines that involve mustaches or a main character who wears a mustache, said Nick Callanan, head of No Umbrella Media, a video production company organizing the event.
The idea for the mustache film festival, believed to be the first of its kind, grew out of an annual mustache pageant held locally to benefit arts and cancer research organizations, he said.
This year's 2012 Stache Pag will feature contestants wearing all manner of mustaches, from handlebars to horseshoes, Callanan said. There are also the walrus and Fu Manchu styles, he said.
"It's just about men expressing themselves," he said.
To be considered for the festival, films must be eight minutes or less and have a mustache theme or a main character with a mustache. Callanan said he has received submissions from as far away as Norway.
The films will be screened ahead of the pageant, which has been held annually for five years at bars, bowling alleys and elsewhere, he said.
What began as a gathering of friends mushroomed into an event that attracted some 450 people last year, he said.
The pageant includes categories for various types of mustaches, including the "Magnum, P.I.," named after the amply mustachioed television character played by actor Tom Selleck.
Popular Hollywood movies that would be considered "mustache films" might include "Smoky and the Bandit," starring Burt Reynolds with a thick mustache, "Tombstone" with Val Kilmer or films featuring action star Chuck Norris.
Proceeds from the film festival will be donated to Northeast Historic Film, a film preservation organization, and those from the pageant will be given to an arts support organization called MENSK and a cancer research fundraising group called My Stache Fights Cancer.
(Reporting By Daniel Lovering, Editing By Ellen Wulfhorst and Patricia Reaney)