Northern Borders

2012 Pilot | Mission and Vision

Movies from Marlboro was designed as an innovative hands-on film practicum that would embody John Dewey's ideas about a way of learning in which we "enlarge meaning through the shared experience of joint action." Unlike "film school," where students work on modest projects with other students, the Movies from Marlboro team partnered with professionals with the goal of making a powerful and enduring, feature length, independent film intended for national release. (Visit Kingdom County Productions for film tour details.) The program pioneered a new model for film education -- students earned college course AND professional film credit simultaneously -- and a new way of advancing sustainable independent cinema. 

“Everyone who spoke on the set in Marlboro this month seems to think Craven’s approach can work. That includes [Actor Bruce] Dern, who was initially terrified at the prospect of working with so many inexperienced crew members. He now thinks Craven’s methods could be imitated by others. “It may be the next step for independent film,” Dern said.” - Burlington Free Press

The Semester

  • A week-long trip to the Sundance Film Festival
  • Academic classes in literature, film studies, screenwriting and more; Pre-production classes and prep in camera, lighting, directing, art direction, and production management
  • In collaboration with film professionals, completion of principal photography for a feature-length film

“The unique structure of this program catered to my interests more than any previous educational experience I’ve had. I’ve spent ages in class analyzing films and critical theory, and all that has made me want to do is make movies. This program did an exceptional job of coupling film discussion with actual filmmaking assignments.” - Mac Mills, Wheaton College

The Story

Northern Borders tells the story of a young city boy sent by his father to live on his grandparents’ farm in Kingdom County, Vermont, where he experiences wild adventures and uncovers long-festering family secrets.  It’s 1956 and the farm becomes a magical place for Austen Kittredge, full of eccentric people like his rascal cousin and stubborn but loving grandparents, whose thorny marriage is known as the Forty Years War. A humorous and sometimes startling coming-of-age story, Northern Borders evokes the Northeast Kingdom’s startling wilderness, its sublime beauty, and its aura of enchantment.  In a New York Times Book Review, Fannie Flagg called Mosher’s novel, “a touching and unforgettable portrait of a people and time.”

The People

  • 27 college undergrads: 8 from Marlboro plus19 visiting from Boston University, NYU, Wellesley, Champlain, Mount Holyoke, George Washington, Connecticut College, Sarah Lawrence, U Conn, and Wheaton
  • 7 recent graduates from: Columbia, Cornell, Marlboro, Plymouth, Smith, and Vassar
  • 20 film professionals and 12 visiting mentors / artist presenters
  • 21 principal actors and 122 extras
  • As well as...a snake, a horse and 20 live cluster flies!

“For me the visiting artists were not only informative, but proof in a way that we were being taken seriously. Being given access to these amazing people shows a great trust in our ability to be professional and take away what we need to from their expertise. It was another confirmation that this project was the real deal.” -Ali Pugh, Mt. Holyoke