Old ‘Tale’ coming to big screen

Posted: Saturday, December 7, 2013 5:00 
By Matt Krueger mkrueger@batavianews.com 

The “A Tale for Three Counties” community reading project typically deals solely with the written word. All imagery is confined to the imaginations of the readers.

But in an unusual circumstance, participants will now get to see one of the previous chosen books through the eyes of a filmmaker. And he will be here to describe his vision.

The Howard Frank Mosher book “Northern Borders,” the 2004 “Tale” selection, has been made into a feature film of the same title by director and producer Jay Craven. The “Tale” committee, though generous donations, has secured the rights to not only show the film, but hold a discussion with Craven in January at the Stuart Steiner Theatre at Genesee Community College.

The film will be shown at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at the theatre, 1 College Road, Batavia. Tickets are $15 and are available at all public libraries in Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties, as well as the GCC library.

“Having the director  able to come here really makes it an exciting event,” said Nina Warren, GCC’s director of library services. “The movie would be great, but getting someone who can speak to its creation is very cool. He’s an award-winning director, and I hear he’s a great speaker. This should be a special event.”

The picture stars Bruce Dern and Geneviève Bujold. Both have received Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy nominations in their careers. Dern won Best Actor at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival for “Nebraska.” Bujold won a Golden Globe in 1970. “Northern Borders” also stars Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick and 2010 Tony Award nominee Jessica Hecht.

“Northern Borders” tells the story of 10-year-old Austen Kittredge (Davey-Fitzpatrick), who is sent to live on his grandparents’ Vermont farm in 1956. Adjusting to his new life, Kittredge engages with a town full of eccentric people, including his grandparents (Dern, Bujold), whose marriage is known as the “40 Years War.”

Leslie DeLooze, the community services librarian at Richmond Memorial Library and chair of the “Tale” committee positively reviewed the book in 2004. She wrote “The characters have made us reminisce, laugh, shake our heads in agreement or exasperation, and have caused many enjoyable discussions around our three counties.”

In anticipation of seeing the film, DeLooze said she is anxious to seeing how the actors brought the characters she got to know so well through the book to life.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how Bruce Dern interprets the main character’s irascible grandfather and Genevieve Bujold as his strong-willed grandmother,” she said. “And I expect to see beautiful scenery.”

Craven, a film professor at Marlboro College, runs Kingdom County Productions and has written, directed and produced several films, including five based by Mosher’s books.

“Northern Borders” was created by a combination of 20 filmmakers and 34 students from 15 colleges.

In a review from the Barre Montpelier Times Argus, Jim Lowe described the film as “compelling, entertaining and deeply touching storytelling” and added that it was “Craven’s most consistent and polished to date.”

DeLooze admitted it has been years since she last read the book, but it looking forward to learning about how a book is translated into a film.

“I think I’m interesting in how you write a script, what you decide is important to the flow of the story,” she said. “And I know every story has a lot of editing. How does that work?”

Warren said she hasn’t read the book, since the GCC library staff didn’t join the “Tale” project until 2005 — a year after “Northern Borders” was featured. But she does plan to finish it before the film showing, so she can prepare her questions for Craven.

“This will be my post-semester gift to myself, to read the book and prepare for the movie,” she said.

The committee members are hoping for a turnout of 200 people for the film viewing and discussion, which will also include a raffle for a watercolor painting by Wyoming artist Gilbert Jordan. The theatre has a capacity of 328.

Mosher, who has returned to speak at “Tale” events twice since 2004, will not be part of the event.

“Although we kind of thought about it, we felt the audience was probably ready to hear from the director and producer,” said DeLooze, who added that Mosher was “probably the most down-to-earth person” she has met.

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Courtesy of Batavia Newspapers Corporation

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