Saturday March 17, 2012

MARLBORO -- Two Academy Award-nominated actors will star in Jay Craven’s new feature length film, "Northern Borders," slated to start principal photography on March 21 in Marlboro.

Bruce Dern will play the lead role of hard working no-nonsense farmer, Austen Kittredge Sr., and Genevieve Bujold will play his fiercely independent wife, Abiah.

"Northern Borders" is Craven’s fourth and final film based on novels by Howard Frank Mosher. It is being produced through an innovative partnership between Marlboro College and Craven’s non-profit film and performing arts company, Kingdom County Productions. Fifteen professionals will collaborate with 24 students and eight recent post-grads from 12 colleges, including Marlboro, Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, Boston University, Smith, George Washington, Connecticut College, Wheaton, Vassar, Cornell, Champlain College and the University of Connecticut. These students are now half-way through an intensive spring semester at Marlboro, where they have, so far, prepared for production and taken film studies, screenwriting and literature classes related to story, themes, and characters in the Mosher story. They will now turn their attention full-time to the work of production, alongside the professionals.

"Northern Borders" tells the story of 10-year-old Austen Kittredge II, who is sent to live with his grandparents whose contentious relationship is called "the Forty Years War.


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" The film was previously in development by Academy Award-winning producer Jake Eberts ("Dances with Wolves," "Gandhi") for Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

In addition to his Oscar nomination for the 1978 picture, "Coming Home," Bruce Dern has received nominations for a 2006 Emmy (HBO’s "Big Love") and two Golden Globes ("Coming Home" and "The Great Gatsby"). His 87 film credits also include "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid," "Monster," and two films with Alfred Hitchcock, "Marnie" and "Family Plot."

Genevieve Bujold earned an Academy Award nomination and Golden Globe for her performance as Anne Boleyn, playing opposite Richard Burton, in "Anne of a Thousand Days." Bujold’s other credits include Phillippe DeBroca’s "King of Hearts," David Cronenberg’s "Dead Ringers," Brian DePalma’s "Obsession" and Alan Rudolph’s "Choose Me." Also, "The Trojan Women" (with Katherine Hepburn, Vanessa Redgrave), "Coma" (with Michael Douglas), "Tightrope" (with Clint Eastwood), and Alain Resnais’ "La Guerre est Finie," with Yves Montand.

Twelve-year-old Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick will play the film’s lead role, as grandson Austen Kittredge II. His film and TV credits include "Everything’s Fine" (with Robert DeNiro), "The Omen" (with Liev Schrieber and Mia Farrow), "Sex in the City" (with Sarah Jessica Parker) and "Damages" (with Glenn Close).

Jacqueline Hennessy, age 10, will play Austen’s school chum, Theresa Dubois. Her credits include "Saturday Night Live" and "30 Rock." Rebellious truant, Hettie Hill, will be played by 16-year-old Irene Shamas, who attends Brattleboro High School and has performed in seven shows at the New England Youth Theatre. Other Vermont and New Hampshire actors will include Tom Bodett, Rusty Dewees, John Kiedaisch and Tara O’Reilly.

Chip Hourihan, producer of the Oscar-nominated 2008 film, "Frozen River" is leading the production "Northern Borders." Marlboro College alumnus Todd Enright is executive producer.

Seven other Marlboro alumni will work in positions ranging from director of photography, producer, and assistant director to carpenter and assistant camera.

"More than for any film I’ve made, ‘Northern Borders’ depends on essential partnerships," said Craven, "between mentors and students, participating colleges, and the local community. Our budget is very tight and people are coming forward with vital and generous contributions of cash, labor, clothing, food, art supplies, loaned props, period cars, and much more. This is a style of filmmaking that resembles a barn raising. Many people are pitching in."

To that end, two "Northern Borders" public fundraising events are scheduled for April, to help generate needed support for the project. Actor Bruce Dern, writer Howard Frank Mosher, director Jay Craven and assorted other cast and crew will attend. The first will be held on Tuesday, April 3, at 6 p.m., at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center. The second event will be held on Monday, April 9, at 6:30 p.m., at the Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center in Burlington. For more information or to attend either event, contact Linda Little at 802-357-4616 or e-mail Linda@KingdomCounty.com.

For more information about "Northern Borders" or to offer support, contact Jay Craven at jcraven@marlboro.edu.