Marlboro College

News14 Marlboro students and alumni on film crew of Disappearances, starring Kris Kristofferson

Marlboro, VT-- When Jay Craven’s new full-length feature film, Disappearances, starring Kris Kristofferson, went into production on April 11, 14 Marlboro College students and alumni started the experience of a lifetime. From assistant camera man to assistant director, these youthful crew members comprise a sixth of the film’s star-studded cast and production team. Lead cast members include Academy Award-nominee Genevieve Bujold (Anne of A Thousand Days, King of Hearts); Gary Farmer (Adaptation, Smoke Signals); and Luis Guzman (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Traffic).

“This is an extraordinary learning experience for these students and alumni to work alongside such a talented film crew,” says director Craven, referring to production designer Carl Sprague (art director on The Royal Tennenbaums and David Mamet’s State and Main; assistant art director on Spielberg’s Amistad and Scorsese’s Age of Innocence), cinematographer Wolfgang Held (shot the Oscar-nominated film, Children of the Underground); and costume designer Jill Kiber (assistant costume designer on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), among others.

“The Marlboro crew have found ways to make themselves indispensable to the production team despite their youth,” says Craven. “They’re working on a fully professional level.” Craven, who is also professor of film and video at Marlboro, explains that the students and alumni are getting more than professional experience. “In addition to working with a production team of this caliber, they get to observer the intense collaboration between the director, actors, art department and cinematographer,” he says. “This is very different from a student film, where the director can control the piece more tightly.”

Craven also has found the support of alumnus Todd Enright ’91, one of the film’s executive producers, along with John MacNeil and Mark Donadio of Boston’s Moody Street Pictures.

Shot on 35 mm cinemascope on location in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, Disappearances is based on the award-winning novel by Vermont writer Howard Frank Mosher (Northern Borders, A Stranger in the Kingdom, Where the Rivers Flow North.) Craven’s screenplay won the only 2001 film production grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The production period will extend through May 11th, with plans to complete the film during the fall of 2005 and a release date of February 2006.

The movie is a Prohibition-era whiskey-running adventure, comedy and drama. Kris Kristofferson (who, along with 96 film credits, is known for his talents as army helicopter pilot, Golden Gloves boxer, country music star and Rhodes Scholar), is Quebec Bill Bonhomme, a hardy schemer and dreamer, who, desperate to raise money to preserve his endangered herd through the never-ending winter, resorts to whiskey-smuggling, a traditional family occupation. Quebec Bill takes his son, Wild Bill, actor Charlie McDermott (Windy Acres, The Village) and Henry Coville (Gary Farmer), on a journey that takes them into vast reaches of Canadian wilderness.

Jay Craven and Bess O’Brien founded Kingdom County Productions in 1991 in Barnet, Vermont. Committed to producing cultural cinema, that draws on regional character, time and place, Kingdom County Productions has produced two other feature films (Where the Rivers Flow North; A Stranger in the Kingdom) directed by Craven and based on Howard Frank Mosher stories; an Emmy Award-winning regional television series (Windy Acres); and documentaries exploring regional social issues such as Here Today and Journey Into Courage.

Marlboro College alumni and students on the production crew are “James” Brad Hecht ‘04, 2nd unit Camera Operator; Geoffrey Eads ‘00, Best Boy Electric; Carrie Sterr ‘01, Script Supervisor; Michael Harrington ‘03, 2nd 2nd Assistant Director; Patrick McMahill ‘03, 2nd 2nd Assistant Director; Kermit Blackwood ‘00, Bird Wrangler and Costumes, senior Andrew Hayes, Assistant Cameraman; junior Thomas Hudson, Still Photographer; junior Michael Jensen, 2nd 2nd Assistant Camera; freshman Katherine Harriman, 2nd 2nd Assistant Camera; sophomore Michelle Threadgould, Wardrobe Assistant; sophomore Natalie Garcia, Set Production Assistant; sophomore Casey Ratliff, Set Production Assistant and Assistant to Director; sophomore Joshua Pellerin, Behind the Scenes Documentary  Crew.

Founded in 1946, Marlboro College offers undergraduate education in the liberal arts and, since 1997, graduate study focused on Internet technologies. Its 330 undergraduate students enjoy an 8:1 student-faculty ratio, a voice in governing the community and individualized courses of study on a 350-acre campus in the hills of southern Vermont. Marlboro is a Colleges That Change Lives college.

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