With a foot and a half of snow still on the ground right now, it’s hard to believe that last March, I’m talking about a year ago, there was not enough snow to make a snow-cone and we were all basking in an epic heat wave. I was reminded of this last night at a screening of Joshua “Petey” Petersen’s documentary about the shooting of Northern Borders, the focus of the Movies from Marlboro program last spring. There was Willow O’Feral ’07 and other students and alumni from 15 colleges in the semester-long film intensive, dressed for summer and scraping little patches of snow into cardboard boxes to sprinkle around the scene, which was supposed to take place in the winter. It was just one of the many life-on-location lessons recorded in Petey’s fabulous documentary, along with slogging through mud, moving outhouses, scraping up chicken poop and, seriously, trying to get a cold, sluggish snake to respond to “lights, camera, action!”
Last night’s screening at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center was just the first glimmer of the rolling out of Northern Borders, which has its world premiere at the Latchis Theater next Wednesday, April 10. Director and film professor Jay Craven was there to stir the citizens of Brattleboro into a frenzy of enthusiasm, talking about Movies from Marlboro as a transformative experience for students and the most satisfying production experience in his career. The Latchis showing will be the first of five Vermont premieres in as many days, which is just the kickoff for a 100-town tour of screenings and fundraisers across New England this summer. Really, what does Jay eat for breakfast, anyway?
Although Petey couldn’t be there last night for his film screening, he sends his regards from New York—since graduating in December he has kept busy in music videos, narrative films and fashion photography, including being creative director at Universal Models for Peace. But Petey’s documentary is a totally awesome testament to the transformative power of, as Jay says, “watching films come alive,” not to mention the copious creative energy of Marlboro students like himself.