Craven's "Peter and John" receives New England Emmy nomination

MARLBORO >> Jay Craven received great news a couple of weeks ago. His recent film release "Peter and John" was named as a nominee for the 2016 New England Emmy Award for Best Arts/Entertainment Program. The winner will be announced this Saturday during The New England Emmy Awards ceremony to be held at Boston's Copley Place Hotel. Craven, a Marlboro College teacher and filmmaker who works with Movies from Marlboro is pleased because this is what the MFM program is all about, to get recognition of New England films worldwide. Movies from Marlboro, a partnership between Kingdom County Productions - a Vermont nonprofit, experienced production company - and Marlboro College produces a new film every two years in collaboration with over 30 students from a dozen colleges that are mentored by 26 professionals in which students work in all aspects of film production. This nomination is not only an honor, but it helps boost the New England film market, something he and members of Movies from Marlboro believe in strongly.

"Peter and John," produced by Ellen McCulloch-Lovell and Virginia Joffe, is up against five other nominees in the category including two programs from ABC-TV/WCVB's "Chronicle" program ("Boston's Theater District" and "Look Up"), WGBH's "Front Row Boston" special, "Punch Brothers Live at House of Blues," and Connecticut Public Television's narrative production, "The Cobblestone Corridor."

In the past, Craven kept the production of his films in Vermont, but a story set in the historically preserved whaling town of Nantucket, Mass. attracted Craven after a bug was put in his while in Nantucket in 2012. During a fundraiser alongside Marlboro College alumnus Chris Knowles (Sex in the City, The Good Wife) who suggested he do one of his movie projects here. Craven, also influenced by Massachusetts ' incentive of 25 percent funding for production of films in that state, thought, why not?


He knew the period piece "Peter and John" well, and knew it would be a great fit in Nantucket's post card view. Set in 1872, it tells the story of two brothers whose relationship strains when the younger one receives word of a strange inheritance. The older brother imagines all sorts of scenarios why his brother received the inheritance. Add to the tension when both brothers became attracted to the same mysterious young woman arrives on their island. The story of the legacy of a complex brother relationship filled with jealousy unfolds in unpredictable ways to ultimately uncover the answer everyone wants to know - why did only one brother receive the inheritance.

The film is based on the 19th century novel by Guy de Maupassant, written when literature was moving toward deeper psychology of characters. An impressive lineup of actors and actresses take on these characters including 2014 Golden Globe winner Jacqueline Bisset (Truffaut's "Day for Night"), Christian Coulson ("the Hours," "Harry Potter: Chamber of Secrets"), Dianne Guerrero ("Orange is the New Black," "Jane the Virgin"), Shane Patrick Kearns , and Gordon Clapp ("Flags of Our Fathers," NYPD Blue").

It is usually tricky to get a hold of such stars, but the script has a lot to do with it, plus a lot of help from Bisset's agent and enthusiasm from the stars themselves. Craven said they were great finds and he is thrilled with the cast.

It was also a great learning experience for the students. The Nantucket Historical Society gave them free access to photographs, helping them put together this period piece that, like any period piece, takes a lot of research and preparation. They also had free access to a period house to use, allowing for wonderful location shots and the fabulous costumes were created by the Emmy-award winning designer from Waterbury , Sarah Beers.

Thanks to the Massachusetts funding incentive, regional sponsors including Cabot Creamery, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, and The Essex, The Amy E Tarrant Foundation, and Bill Stetson, they all helped to keep the budget to respectable $750,000.

"Peter and John" will tour all summer and fall throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, and coastal New England between now and the end of the year, choosing to hold separate screening events rather than through film festivals. Craven said it is a preferred way to go straight to the audience that is often larger in these events - and it is great to have an audience. It will screen at the Latchis Theatre also, with a date TBA. For more information or to arrange a local screening, contact or go to

Contact Cicely M. Eastman at 802-254-2311 ext. 261.