Maine Film 'To Keep The Light' Screens At Woods Hole Film Festival

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A still from the film "To Keep the Light," by Erica Fae. (Courtesy Erica Fae)
A still from the film "To Keep the Light," by Erica Fae. (Courtesy Erica Fae)

It's easy to assume a lighthouse keeper will be a guy wearing yellow foul-weather gear, sporting a ferocious beard. But a new film, "To Keep the Light," aims to change that image.

When she was just 16 years old, Abbie Burgess tended the Matinicus Rock Lighthouse off the Maine coast for 21 days. She'd saved her mother and sisters' lives during a storm and her father was stranded on the mainland. That was in 1856.

Ida Lewis saved as many as 25 people in Rhode Island's Newport Harbor when she was lighthouse keeper there in the late 1800s.

Ida and Abbie are among more than 300 women who tended lighthouses in the U.S. in the 19th century, often taking on the responsibility after their husbands or fathers fell ill or died.

In her new film, Erica Fae tells the story of a fictional woman named Abbie who's a composite of those hundreds of women.

She shot the film at a still-functioning lighthouse off the coast of Jonesport, Maine, and it's screening at the Woods Hole Film Festival Friday.


Erica Fae, writer, director and producer of "To Keep the Light." She also stars in it as Abbie. This is her first feature film, it won best feature cinematography at the Las Vegas Film Festival.

This segment aired on August 2, 2016.



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