Special Screening: Lost Nation


Main Theater Thu, Aug 1 7:00 PM
Run Time:2H


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Special Screening: LOST NATION – Q&A to follow with director Jay Craven

Description: Jay Craven’s newest film, “Lost Nation,” will play Nantucket’s Dreamland Theater at 7pm, Thursday, August 1st.  The picture is set between 1775 and 1785 and was mostly shot on Nantucket during the spring of 2022. Locations include the NHA’s Oldest House, Thomas Macy House, and Quaker Meeting House as locations. Sets were built at the American Legion Hall on Washington Street – and the Main Street/Fair Street side of the Pacific National Bank doubles as Philadelphia’s Independence Hall.


“Lost Nation” captures a Revolutionary War era action drama set in the early upstart Republic of Vermont.  The film stars Irish actor Kevin Ryan (“Copper,” Harry Wild”) as Vermont founding father and rebel schemer, Ethan Allen, who leads resistance to New Yorker land claims, launches an ill-fated attack on British forces in Montreal, and leads invasions by his Green Mountain Boys into New York strongholds of Guilford and Brattleboro. At every turn, Allen navigates thick entanglements with allies, enemies, and family.


“Lost Nation’s” parallel and intersecting story features Kenyan actress Eva Ndachi (“Beautifully Broken”) as Lucy Terry Prince, whose poem, “Bars Fight,” about the 1746 Deerfield Massacre, is the first known work of African American literature. Enslaved in Western Massachusetts at the age of 3 - for 30 years - Terry then settled with her family on a Guilford homestead carved out of the forest by her husband, formerly enslaved frontier transport operator, Abijah Prince.  Prince family antagonist, aspiring Guilford politician John Noyes, is played by Rob Campbell (“The Crucible,” “Ethan Frome,” “The Unforgiven”).


Like Ethan Allen, the Princes found themselves caught up in turbulent times that threatened their prospects for the land and liberty they sought during the American Revolution.  Like Allen, Lucy Prince also upset the status quo in her assertive use of early Vermont’s legal and political systems to protect her family from local harassment and intimidation.


Film director Craven was first drawn to the Ethan Allen story in 1974, when he spent winter afternoons at the Vermont Historical Society research room, scrawling handwritten notes on yellow legal pads.  Now, 50 years later, he’ll be taking this long-imagined but newly produced film on the road.


“With “Lost Nation,” Craven said, “we took what we learned from historical research to build a story. There’s a lot of known history about Ethan Allen – though no images of what he looked like.  There is also plenty that is not known.  And some research has been put forward by historians, only recently, that enriches and complicates this fascinating story.  For the Princes, less is known but court and town records reveal plenty of dramatic action.”


“I hoped to capture an indelible moment that shows the complexity and power of an early version of the American dream – along with the challenge to fulfill the promise of the American Revolution.  It allows us to consider the life and actions of Vermont’s larger-than-life rascal and early pioneer, Ethan Allen – and little-known early Black Vermonters.”


“In doing this, we reflect on actor Tom Hanks’s recent call for history-based fiction films that “map our cultural DNA, reflect who we really are and help determine what is our full history – including the history of Black people that has too often been left out.”


“The film was quite challenging to produce,” said Craven, “because it was filmed on more than 3 dozen Vermont and Massachusetts locations - and needed to include battle scenes, dozens of locations and 43 speaking parts for characters ranging from Ira Allen and Thomas Chittenden to George Washington and Alexander Hamilton.  One fun fact: Boston patriot Samuel Adams is played in the film by his direct descendent, Samuel Adams.


“Lost Nation” is Craven’s 10th feature film.  His work has shown at Sundance, Lincoln Center, The Smithsonian and more than 500 cities and towns across the U.S. - also in 53 countries.  He is the recipient of the Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the 2023 Herb Lockwood Prize, four regional Emmys, the Producers Guild of America’s NOVA Award, the National Endowment for the Arts’ American Masterpieces recognition, and others. His 1993 film, “Where the Rivers Flow North” was a named finalist for Critics Week at the Cannes International Film Festival.


The film was produced through Kingdom County Productions’ Semester Cinema program where 30 professionals mentor and collaborate with 45 students from 10 colleges, to make an ambitious feature film for national release.  The film also includes Nantucket actors, Michael Kopko, Jack Bulger, Ronan Murray, and Annie Ard.