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Sparks--and Laughs--Start to Fly When Rural Vermont Meets Urban New York

Marlboro, VTWindy Acres, a new comedy series from Vermont Public Television and director Jay Craven, is a hilarious and heartwarming send-up of what happens when rural Vermont meets urban New York. On November 8 and 15, the American screening premiere of the seven-episode series, with an introduction from Craven, will be shown at 7:30 in Whittemore Theatre at Marlboro College.

Windy Acres’s heroine Stephanie Burns (Seana Kofoed, Third Watch), New York marketing ace, loses her job at an upscale children’s clothing company during a downsizing move. When she discovers a Website for agricultural tourism, she impulsively stuffs her two daughters in a borrowed car and sets out for pastoral Vermont. Once in the Green Mountain State, she meets love-starved, hardscrabble dairy farmer Lucien LaFlamme (Rusty DeWees, The Logger, A Stranger in the Kingdom) and sparks start to fly—especially when Lucien refuses to have anything to do with a bed and breakfast tourist scheme hatched by his uncle and Stephanie.

Not surprisingly, the B and B isn’t as “quaint” as advertised on the Internet. In fact, when Stephanie’s 17-year-old daughter sees it, she refuses to get out of the car. Then Stephanie’s ornery daughter falls for the local mechanic, and Stephanie’s 10-year-old daughter finds her own heartthrob in Lucien’s nephew. Everything that could possibly go wrong does in this unconventional romantic comedy, with a quirky but endearing cast; Tantoo Cardinal, (Dances with Wolves, Where the Rivers Flow North) Bill Raymond (Where the Rivers Flow North, 12 Monkeys), Ariel Kiley, (The Sopranos, Law and Order) Felicia Hammer, Charlie McDermott, Stivi Paskoski and Abby Paige.

Craven, Marlboro College professor of film studies, has directed three films: Where the Rivers Flow North, A Stranger in the Kingdom and The Year That Trembled. This is Craven’s first television series. Drawn to filmmaking for “writing and being able to work with actors,” he was delighted to find that television enabled him to focus almost exclusively on these aspects.Television “is faster and lighter…not so indelible” as film, says Craven. In the future, he would enjoy doing a television series every year, and has left the possibility open for a second season of Windy Acres.

Ten Marlboro students and recent graduates worked as the film crew and production team for the series along with those from the University of Vermont, Burlington, Middlebury, Champlain, Smith, Bard and Pratt colleges and Wesleyan University. Craven enjoys working with students, and has directed teenagers over the past 9 years as part of the Fledgling Films Summer Institute he developed in 1997.

The series, a culmination of a five-year effort, is an important step in the production of local television. “We hope that Windy Acres will help us lay the groundwork for more regional television,” said Craven. “It will give local audiences the powerful experience of seeing their own culture and lifestyle captured on the small screen.” Windy Acres will be available on video on November 14th.

This event is part of Marlboro College’s “Serious Fun” series, and is free and open to the public. For more information contact Elena Sharnoff, Marlboro College Public Affairs Officer, at (802) 251-7644.

 

 

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