Marlboro College

NewsPress Release -Independent Filmmaker Jay Craven Starts Production on New Movie

MARLBORO, VT -- Independent filmmaker and Marlboro College film professor Jay Craven will begin production May 29 on Novel City Pictures' "The Year That Trembled," a coming-of-age story set in the shadow of Kent State during the turbulent spring and summer of 1970. Craven wrote the script, which is based on the novel by Scott Lax, and will be directing the film on location near Cleveland.

"The Year That Trembled" will feature an eclectic ensemble of young talent, seasoned comic actors, and veterans from Craven's previous films. Vermont actor Rusty DeWees and Marlboro College student T.J. Hellmuth will play supporting roles in the film, as well as Upper Valley native, actor, and 2001 Obie and Drama Desk-winning producer (for "The Syringa Tree") Matt Salinger .

Middlebury native Sarah Beers will design costumes, and St. Johnsbury resident and Kingdom County Productions Executive Director Hathalee Higgs will be the associate producer. More than a dozen of Craven’s Marlboro College film students and Fledgling Films Summer Institute participants will work as interns and crew on the picture. The Horse Flies (of Ithaca, New York), composers and performers for Craven's "Where the Rivers Flow North" (1994) and "A Stranger in the Kingdom" (1998), will oversee scoring and original source music evoking the period.

Making her debut screen appearance in a co-starring role is 18-year-old Kiera Chaplin, granddaughter of comic legend Charlie Chaplin and great-granddaughter of Nobel Prize winning playwright Eugene O'Neill. Chaplin, who lives in Switzerland, has studied acting in London and will later appear in Miramax Films' "The Importance of Being Ernest," starring
Judi Dench and Rupert Everett.

Other notable actors who will be featured in the film (with partial credits) include: Fred Willard ("Best in Show," "Waiting For Guffman," "Austin Powers"); Marin Hinkle ("Frequency," ABC TV's "Once and Again"); Jonathan Woodward (Mike Nichols' "Wit," starring opposite Emma Thompson); Henry Gibson ("Magnolia," "Nashville," "A Stranger in the Kingdom"); Martin Mull ("The Player," "Mrs. Doubtfire," "Fernwood To-Nite"); Jonathan Brandis ("Ride With the Devil," "Outside Providence," "Hart's War"); Meredith Monroe ("Dawson's Creek," "Beyond the Prairie," "Mary Jane's Last Dance"); Sean Nelson ("Fresh," "American Buffalo," "A Stranger in the Kingdom"); Bill Raymond ("12 Monkeys," "Summer of Sam," "Where the Rivers Flow North," "Eight Men Out"); Charlie Finn ("Super Troopers," "The In Crowd"); Jay Fergueson ("Higher Learning," "The In Crowd," "Glory Days"); and Danica
McKellar ("The Wonder Years").

According to Pulitzer Prize-winning Vermont writer Ron Powers, who compares "The Year That Trembled" with his nonfiction best-seller "Flags of Our Fathers" (co-authored with James Bradley), "It is not often that a cinematic project in America gives off the unmistakable aura of being exactly the right movie for exactly the right moment in the country’s history. 'The Year That Trembled' is exactly that project. "Its creators have done nothing less than re-invent an archetypal narrative -- that of coming of age at a time when war threatens to consume them and annihilate their most cherished illusions of love and life," says Powers.

"The thematic issues linking 'Flags of Our Fathers' and 'The Year That Trembled' mirror the contrasting social realities that set the 1940s apart from the 1970s and reveal kids caught up in the myths, the cultural tensions, the geopolitics, and the great military currents of their time and place," continues Powers. "Each set of boys, each boy, the fictional and the real, responded in ways that evoke with absolute freeze-frame clarity the soul of a nation at a decisive moment in its history."

'The Year That Trembled' is scheduled for completion in time for festivals in early 2002, with a theatrical release to follow. Craven's next Vermont picture, "Disappearances," remains in development for production in 2001-2002. "Disappearances" is a whiskey-running adventure and comedy that will complete the trilogy of films based on the novels by Vermont author Howard Frank Mosher.

Kingdom County Productions, launched by Craven and Bess O'Brien in 1991, is a nonprofit media arts education organization and independent film production company that produces dramatic and documentary films rooted in Vermont. In 1997, Kingdom County Productions created Fledgling Films, an educational division, to conduct workshops and produce films written, acted, and directed by teens.

Craven teaches film and video studies at Marlboro College in southern Vermont, where he is building a cross-collaborative film program that draws on Marlboro's resources of filmmakers, actors, musicians, writers, photographers, and visual artists. Founded in 1946, Marlboro offers undergraduate education in the liberal arts and, since 1997, graduate study focused on Internet technologies.

For more information, contact Kingdom County Productions at (802) 592-3190 or Additional information is also available from Marlboro College at (802) 257-4333 or

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