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Kingdom County Productions and Northern Vermont University Partner for Ethan Allen/Lucy Prince Feature Film Project

Northern Vermont University (NVU) and Kingdom County Productions (KCP) announced today that NVU students will take part in producing a feature-length film through KCP’s Semester Cinema program. Semester Cinema, an experiential learning program with a fifteen-year history, will be based at Northern Vermont University’s Lyndon campus during the winter/spring 2022 semester.

Students from colleges across the country will work together during a film intensive semester that includes classes, workshops and production of an ambitious feature film for national release — right in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

The KCP-NVU partnership agreement will base classes and the production of KCP’s new film, LOST NATION, in both Nantucket and on the NVU-Lyndon campus. The film, which features a multi-racial narrative, is set during the American Revolution in Vermont, Massachusetts, Philadelphia, Montreal, and London. The principal characters include larger-than-life schemer, dreamer, and Vermont founding father, Ethan Allen, along with Lucy Terry Prince and Abijah Prince — a pioneering poet and an intrepid backcountry entrepreneur who were among the first free, Black settlers to Vermont.  It will be directed by KCP Artistic Director Jay Craven and produced by filmmaker and writer Elena Greenlee who joined the Semester Cinema project in the summer of 2020.

“LOST NATION will capture an indelible moment that conveys the complexity and power of the American Dream,” said Craven, “and the challenge to fulfill the promise of the American Revolution.”

With Semester Cinema, a biennial program, 28 film professionals mentor and collaborate with 40 students from multiple colleges to create an ambitious feature film for national and international release. The semester starts with a week at the Sundance Film Festival followed by seven weeks of classes, workshops, and pre-production, and then six weeks of full-tilt production.

“KCP’s Semester Cinema program fits perfectly with NVU’s growing commitment to experiential learning through our Learning and Working Community model,” said NVU provost Nolan Atkins, “where students grounded in the liberal arts find practical applications for their study in real world situations.”

Students participate by taking a full-credit “semester away” from their home college, similar to study abroad. Colleges that plan to send students to participate in the 2022 semester include Wellesley College, Mount Holyoke, Skidmore, Hamilton, Bates, Kenyon, Spelman, Hobart, Sarah Lawrence, Swarthmore, Middlebury, Bennington, Boston University, University of California at Berkeley, and Northern Vermont University.

Semester Cinema is inspired by education pioneer John Dewey’s call for “intensive learning that enlarges meaning through shared experience and joint action.” Semester Cinema began its life as Movies from Marlboro and was developed by KCP Artistic Director Jay Craven during his twenty years teaching at Marlboro College. It began in 2006 as a student internship program attached to the production of Craven’s film, DISAPPEARANCES (starring Kris Kristofferson and based on the novel by Howard Frank Mosher). By 2012, it had grown into a full-scale semester curriculum built around KCP’s production of NORTHERN BORDERS also based on a Mosher novel and starring Academy Award-nominated actors Bruce Dern and Genevieve Bujold.

Since then, the program has produced film intensive semesters around the productions of PETER AND JOHN, starring Jacqueline Bisset and based on the novel by Guy de Maupassant; WETWARE, based on the novel by Craig Nova and starring Morgan Wolk Cameron Scoggins and Jerry O’Connell, and JACK LONDON’S MARTIN EDEN, produced at Sarah Lawrence College, and starring Andrew Richardson, Hayley Griffith and Annet Mahendru.

Principal production for LOST NATION will take place in Nantucket and Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Student applications are still being accepted. For more information, visit www.semestercinema.org and contact info@semestercinema.org or jcraven1590@gmail.com.

Kingdom County Productions works to integrate the arts into community life through experiential learning, the production of place-based film, theater and writing projects and presentation of world-class performing arts in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.