The Song of the Broad Axe

A documentary about creating something from nothing. 

Erin Murphy (Director/Editor) is a documentary filmmaker, freelance videographer, and educator based in Portland, Maine. Her recent documentary work tells stories about the past through the lens of the present.

Her short film, Something Different, explores the life and the work of a grist mill owner, Curt Falk, in central Pennsylvania. This fully operational, water-powered mill is a living time capsule. The newest piece of machinery was purchased in 1950; many pieces have been operational since the turn of the century. Curt’s dedication to keep the mill running despite the difficulty is inspiring. Something Different offers a glimpse into a world that many people will never see in their lifetimes – a working gristmill running on water power. The film screened at the Maine International Film Festival, the Rochester International Film Festival, and the Big Muddy Film Festival, among others. 

Erin has also produced several short documentaries through her work with Open Field Collective, a collaborative documentary production company based in New York City. Their web-based series, How We Learned, focuses on understanding how musicians, artists, and farmers learned to do what they are passionate about.

As a freelance videographer and editor Erin has worked professionally with Teachers College - Columbia University, Bucknell University, Brandeis University, Colby College, and the University of Texas in Austin. She is hired for her documentary storytelling capabilities in order to produce compelling web-based content about arts programs, school initiatives, and faculty stories.

Erin is also a visiting instructor at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She teaches courses on documentary production, digital storytelling, and narrative filmmaking in the Cinema Studies Department. Her most recent documentary course focused on telling stories about what it means to grow and produce food in Maine.

You can see her work here. You can email her here.

Nina Schmir (Producer/Composer) is an enthusiast of Maine culture and history. Nina has been passionate about independent filmmaking for many years, and has worked on a number of independent fiction films in various capacities while living in New York. A singer-songwriter in her spare time, she also scored her first industrial video while living in the Big Apple, and enjoyed the experience immensely. Her first interest in documentary film was sparked while working on several different film festivals, including the NY-Avignon Film Festival, which she worked with for several years, in both New York and Avignon, France.

After making the move to Maine, Nina met local filmmakers who were taking part in the 48-hour film festival, where she was able to score her first short.

Her life experiences have pushed her interests more and more into documentary, and she realized that her new home was filled with stories worth telling. After having the opportunity to work on “Fixing the Future,” a documentary that examines the reinvention of the American economy on the local level, partially shot in Maine, she decided it was time to take a leap. In teaming up with Erin, she found the perfect partner in crime – and the two set out to tell the story of Maine through the guise of the axe. Nina is co-writing, producing and scoring The Song of the Broad Axe. You can email her here