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Students and post--grads from 16 colleges work with professionals to make "Northern Borders," starring Bruce Dern & Geneviève Bujold.

Students and post--grads from 16 colleges work with professionals to make "Northern Borders," starring Bruce Dern & Geneviève Bujold. Read More
pledged of $56,000 goal

Funding Canceled

Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on July 6, 2012.

About this project

Create a New Way to Make Feature Films!

Get Rewards in Return!

Our goal: To make a powerful and enduring film--and to advance a sustainable independent New England cinema.  

Our mission: To act on educator John Dewey's inspired ideas about learning where we "enlarge meaning through the shared experience of joint action."

We’re also working to raise money, through this Kickstarter campaign. We need your help to finish our film, and make sure it gets seen by a national audience!

Donations are tax-deductible.

Here's How It Works

Welcome to our Kickstarter campaign!  If we raise $56,000 or more during the next 60 days, we'll receive your pledge and immediately put it to work on screen-- to complete our new feature film, Northern Borders.  Kickstarter will only charge your credit card if we meet or surpass that goal.  It’s all or nothing.  

Please donate what you can and share the Kickstarter link with friends and family. Thank you!

 Who Are We?

We’re a group of 27 students and 8 recent post-grads from 16 colleges, including Marlboro College, Boston University, Wellesley, Mount Holyoke, George Washington, NYU, Sarah Lawrence, Columbia, Champlain, Smith, Wheaton, Connecticut College, Plymouth State, University of Connecticut, Vassar, and Cornell.  

We’re working alongside 19 professionals make an ambitious 1950’s period feature film, Northern Borders, based on Howard Mosher’s award-winning 1994 novel that tells the story of 10 year-old Austen Kittredge, who is sent to live with his grandparents, whose charged relationship is called “the Forty Years War.”  Faced with daily challenges on his grandparent’s farm, Austen must navigate their difficult relationship, a new way of life, and the surprising characters he meets. Northern Borders was previously in development by producer Jake Eberts (Gandhi, Dances With Wolves) for actors Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. 

We’re making Northern Borders in a new way—on a bare-bones budget and in a partnership between students and professionals, based at Vermont’s Marlboro College, which is co-producing the picture with Vermont leading non-profit film producer, Kingdom County Productions.   

We worked for the entire 2012 spring semester to train and prepare, meet with visiting artists, study related literature and films—and to polish the script and bring the story to life in unexpected ways.  We also made a dozen short films. Then we launched into five-and-a-half weeks of production, with cast and crew working together to prepare locations, stage equipment, and play scenes.  We finished shooting April 25th on time and on budget!

Students and post-grads played key roles including costume designer, script supervisor, second unit directors and directors of photography, art director, grips and electrics, sound boom operator, camera operators, production coordinator, co-producer, prop wranglers, set decorators, assistant directors, and more. We're also making a behind-the-scenes documentary to tell the story of our triumphs and set backs—and provide a catalyst to other aspiring indie filmmakers.   

What’s the movie about?

Northern Borders tells the story of young Austen Kittredge, who is sent by his father to live with his grandparents on their Vermont farm where he experiences wild adventures and uncovers long-festering family secrets. The year is 1956 and Austen finds himself caught between his contentious grandparents and their thorny marriage. Austen does his best to navigate all of this, but the more he discovers, the deeper the mystery becomes.  A humorous, honest and sometimes startling coming-of-age tale, Northern Borders evokes Vermont’s wildness, its sublime beauty, its haunted past and aura of fascination. The film will showcase the region’s wobbly first steps toward rural electrification, and will take viewers to a fractious one-room schoolhouse and an unruly town festival where an FBI agent shows up to accuse young Austen’s Aunt Liz of having robbed the local bank with her former husband, a descendant of Jesse James.  

Why Is Northern Borders Different?

Imagine being an aspiring young cinematographer, director, production designer, editor, actor, or documentary filmmaker.  You take college classes and make good short films but the larger world of feature filmmaking seems distant and inaccessible.  You’d like to be really challenged – to get hands-on experience that teams you up with seasoned professionals and immerses you in the culture of an ambitious film shoot.  And you’d like to play a vital role in the making of a substantial feature film that will make its way onto movie screens, DVDs, festivals, and TV.  You’ve got a hundred questions – how do I light a night scene? How does art direction flesh out a story?  How do I get resonant performances from my actors? How do I analyze and adjust a script that’s headed into production?  What does a producer, an assistant director, or a script supervisor do?  Where do I find working mentors who will lead me through the intensive practices of feature filmmaking and challenge me to show what I can do? How can I find peers to help me articulate my own filmmaking vision—and how can I possibly raise the crucial money I need to make it happen?

The answer: The Movies from Marlboro Production of Northern Borders.

Why is this kind of film making important?

Our new film making partnership responds directly to the difficulties young filmmakers and seasoned independents face as they try to navigate the hyper-commercialized worlds of film financing, production, and distribution.  We’re charting a new course while providing intensive learning opportunities for emerging filmmakers.  Instead of digging for investors, we’re turning to hundreds of donors. Instead of looking to the studios and commercial distributors, we’re partnering with a college and a non-profit film producer.  And we’re committed to an extensive and unconventional grass-roots release for Northern Borders. We'll show it in big cities, for sure—but we will also take our film down dirt roads to more than 150 small New England towns where we’ll partner with local non-profits, send postcards to everybody in town, set up portable projection equipment in grange halls, theaters, museums, libraries, and schools, and lead Q & A discussions about our film—and our experience making it. 

We’re collaborating in ways that go beyond anything we’ve done before.   We’re producing a picture that advances the whole idea of “community cinema” by working with hundreds of people, near and far, to help get it made. It's film making in the spirit of an old-fashioned barn raising—making a picture that validates place-based characters, story, and themes.  We believe that people need to tell their own stories. We believe that indigenous film plays a vital role in defining us. 

Who are the actors?

Bruce Dern plays the lead role of Austen Kittredge Sr.  He’s been nominated for an Academy Award (Coming Home), a 2006 Emmy (HBO’s Big Love), and two Golden Globe nominations (Coming Home, The Great Gatsby).  Other credits include Patty Jenkins’ Monster, Sidney Pollack’s They Shoot Horses Don’t They, Elia Kazan’s Wild River, Douglas Trumball’s Silent Running, and two films with Alfred Hitchcock, Family Plot and Marnie.  Dern will also appear in new films by Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) and Francis Ford Coppola (Twixt). 

Genevieve Bujold plays Abiah Kittredge.  Genevieve was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe for her performance as Anne Boleyn in Anne of A Thousand Days (with Richard Burton). She has also won an Emmy award for Saint Joan and numerous other international film awards. Credits include Alan Renais’ La Guerre est Finie (with Yves Montand), Philippe DeBroca’s King of Hearts (with Alan Bates), Louis Malle’s Thief of Paris (with Jean-Paul Belmondo), Mihalis Kakogiannis' The Trojan Women (with Katherine Hepburn, Vanessa Redgrave, Irene Papas), Brian DePalma’s Obsession (with Cliff Robertson), John Korty’s Alex and the Gypsy (with Jack Lemmon), Michael Crichton’s Coma (with Michael Douglas), Richard Tuggle’s Tightrope (with Clint Eastwood), David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers (with Jeremy Irons), Alan Rudolph’s Choose Me (with Keith Carradine).

Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick plays young Austen Kittredge II.  Credits include Everybody’s Fine, with Robert DeNiro and Sam Rockwell, Sex and the City with Sarah Jessica Parker, Damages, with Glenn Close and Campbell Scott, and The Omen, with Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Mia Farrow.

Jessica Hecht plays Liz Kittredge James.  Credits include Sideways, Dan in Real Life, J. Edgar, and TV shows including Breaking Bad and Friends.  Also numerous theater credits including 2010 Broadway production of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge for which she was nominated for a Tony Award.

Other actors include: 10 year-old Jacqueline Hennessey (30 Rock and Saturday Night Live), Rusty DeWees (The Logger, Pieces of April, Black Dog), Jay O' Sanders (Tumbleweeds, JFK, Glory, Half Nelson) John Rothman (Sophie’s Choice, Ghostbusters, Zelig, Purple Rose of Cairo), John Shea (Missing, Southie, Lois and Clark), Mark Margolis (The Wrestler, Pi, Scarface, Gone Baby Gone, Breaking Bad), Tom Bodett (NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me).  ALSO: Irene Shamas, Jim Fitzpatrick, Kaley Ronanye, Alicia Lyn Hunt, Brent Crawford, John Kiedaisch, Karin Shearer, John Griesemer, Tara O'Reilly, and Nettie Lane.

Who are the students?

Students and post-grads include Anna Pinchuk (script supervisor, 2nd unit director), Katherine Harrison (assistant director), Jake Morely (location manager), Ali Pugh (boom operator), Lu Zhang (camera, still photographer), Jeremiah Davis (camera, grip & electric), Indra Tracy (camera, props, set dec), Petey Peterson (behind-the-scenes doc, 2nd unit director), Mac Mills (assistant director, PA, 2nd unit director), Patrick Meyers (grip & electric), Kaity Reilly (art dept. coordinator), Zebulon Goertzel (behind-the-scenes doc), Olvia Schaaf (costumes), Saskia Giramma (grip & electric), Emily Stalter (food), Reily Mumpton (best boy grip), Cara Catttoggio (extras, production), Brian Petillo (assistant director, 2nd unit director), Jake Haehnel (camera, 2nd unit director of photography), Keenan Ellis (grip & electric), Zak Adams (camera, grip & electric), Ashley Lin (production coordinator), David Friedman (camera, PA, 2nd unit director), Alicia Lyn Hunt (actor), Kaley Ronayne (actor), Jean Kim (assistant to director), Grace Statwick (props), Jon Miller (grip & electric), Samantha Cheirif (assistant director, 2nd unit director), Jessie Shull (costume designer), Jon Donnell (construction), Jason Knopp (food), Lauren Patterson (costumes, art), Erin Beaupre (art director).   

How about the project professionals?  Who are they?

Director Jay Craven has made five award-winning feature films, six documentaries and a regional TV comedy series.  His films have played 53 countries and more than 60 international festivals, including Sundance.  They have sold more than 250,000 DVDs and played Showtime, Sundance Channel, Starz, Disney Channel, and more than 200 PBS and local commercial TV outlets.  Craven has also worked to advance innovative education and practice, at Marlboro College, the Peacham School, Circus Smirkus, Queen City Radio Hour, Vermont Young Playwrights, Fledgling Films, Nantucket Film Festival's Teen View writing and filmmaking program, and the Emmy-winning student-staffed TV comedy series, Windy Acres.

Writer Howard Frank Mosher has written eleven novels, from which 4 award -winning films have been produced, starring Rip Torn, Tantoo Cardinal, Ernie Hudson, Martin Sheen, Treat Williams, Kris Kristofferson, Genevieve Bujold, Gary Farmer, Michael J. Fox, and others. The Los Angeles Times calls Northern Borders “a contemporary classic.”  The New York Times calls it “an unforgettable portrait of a people and time.”

Producer Chip Hourihan has produced fifteen feature films, including the 2008 film, Frozen River, which was nominated for two Academy Awards.

Producer Katherine Partington probably fits into our category of recent post-grads—but she rose to hundreds of challenges making Northern Borders.  A Marlboro College alumna, Katherine is a performer, choreographer and producer based in New York City. Her choreography has been presented at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange and the DUMBO Dance Festival. Katherine has built her producing skills assisting Sara Coffey of Vermont Performance Lab since 2007. She credits Unit Production Manager Veronica Nickel (producer of 14 shorts and features) and Assistant Director Mike Harrington (7 film credits and a Marlboro film alum) as essential partners for Northern Borders.

Director of Photography Brad Heck, has shot four feature films, five documentaries, and hundreds of shorts and commercials.  A Marlboro College alumnus, Brad has worked on several Kingdom County (KCP) films including Disappearances, Windy Acres, Shout It Out, and After the Fog and has taught at KCP’s Fledgling Films and Marlboro College.

Production Designer Dara Wishingrad has designed more than a dozen feature films including Michael Urie's metacomedy, He's Way More Famous Than You, John Leguizamo’s Fugly!, and Boaz Yakin’s Sundance-featured film Death In Love with Jacqueline Bisset and Josh Lucas. She has worked as a performance artist and dancer with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company.

ALSO: Wendy Guerrero (associate producer), Ariel Brooks (program coordinator), Georgia Grippo (PA), Kathleen Pullan (set decorator), Dara Waxman (set decorator), Catherine Taft (props), Willow O'Feral (still photographer, art dept), Terry Sylvester (scenic painter), Patrick Kennedy (assistant camera), David Wolff (digital technician), Chris DesRochers (gaffer), Mike Lukasik (best boy electric), Harry Ycaza (key grip), Kyle Harder (hair & make-up), Emma Strachman (hair & make up), Dave Richards (sound), Aaron Walsh (tutor). 

How will we use $56,000?

Our Northern Borders professionals are working for love and very little money. Every nickel you donate will go on screen—to help us meet pressing costs to  complete picture editing, sound design, color correction, sound mixing, film mastering, and initial release. Also music composition and scoring by the fabulous Horse Flies.  That’s our goal for this campaign. If we meet it, the funds raised will cover our costs to complete Northern Borders.  This is huge!  We’ll add an end credit offering shared thanks to our Kickstarter backers for making this possible.  Plus you’ll get a slew of cool DVDs, posters, t-shirts, and other perks.  Donors of $350 or more will also get their individual names in the film's end credits.

You can play a leading role!  Help us bring Northern Borders to life on screen.

 Donate today!


* Contact Jay Craven (

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Recent Press:

Vermont Public Radio

Burlington Free Press


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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10 USD

    Friend. High five! We will high five you in person if we run into you on the street—and send you a signed letter of thanks from the director and put your name on our website and in our playbill, as Friend.

    Estimated delivery
    10 backers
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25 USD

    Buddy. Previous perks plus signed poster of Northern Borders “outsider art.” Website and playbill credit as Buddy. Pays half the gas expenses for a Vermont or New Hampshire actor.

    Estimated delivery
    12 backers
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35 USD

    Cineaste. Previous perks plus a ticket to see the Northern Borders during its 100 Town Tour. Your name on website and in the playbill as Cineaste. Pays about half the rental cost of a Northeast Kingdom town hall for a film screening.

    Estimated delivery
    3 backers
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    Pledge $55 or more About $55 USD

    Film Buff. Previous perks plus a DVD of the finished film. Website and playbill credit as Film Buff. Pays for 10 minutes in the foley studio, to manufacture sound effects.

    Estimated delivery
    14 backers
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    Pledge $80 or more About $80 USD

    Doppelganger. Previous perks plus limited edition Northern Borders t-shirt. Website and playbill credit as Doppelganger. Provides a night of housing for lead actor.

    Estimated delivery
    9 backers
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $180 or more About $180 USD

    Dark Horse. Previous perks plus two tickets to a special premiere tour screening. Website and playbill credit as Dark Horse. Covers room rental for an NYC casting session.

    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
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    Pledge $350 or more About $350 USD

    Loop Group. Previous perks plus opening night invitation – plus name in the credits! Website, playbill, and film credit as Loop Group. Pays travel for horse (Romeo) and his patient and generous wrangler (Vicky).

    Estimated delivery
    3 backers
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $550 or more About $550 USD

    Director's Circle. Previous perks plus schools package donated to the school of your choice. Website, playbill, and film credit as Cineaste. Rents period costumes for Maple Festival and one-room schoolhouse scenes.

    Estimated delivery
    0 backers
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    Pledge $850 or more About $850 USD

    Auteur. Previous perks plus sponsorship for a local 100 Town Tour screening and signed screenplay. Website, playbill, and film credit as Auteur. Pays housing for Production Designer.

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    Pledge $1,500 or more About $1,500 USD

    Impresario. Previous perks plus art department souvenir and sponsorship for a local screening with the director. Your name on wesbite, playbill, and film credits as Impresario. Pays two-days of lighting and grip rental.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500 USD

    Underwriter. Previous perks plus sponsorship credit sponsorship for entire New England barnstorming tour. Your name on website, playbill, and film credits as Underwriter. Pays for one day in the final sound mix.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000 USD

    Mogul. Previous perks plus sponsorship head credit for anticipated public television broadcast. Your name on website, playbill, and film credits as Mogul. Pays for actors’ housing.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000 USD

    Angel. Previous perks plus free screenings in 2 schools or 2 communities of your choice with the director. Associate producer credit in the film’s main credits and on website, playbill, and end funding credits as Angel. Pays for film score composition and performance.

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    0 backers

Funding period

- (60 days)