Filmmaker kicks off Quad festivities

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(Host) Celebrations for America’s Independence today are intermingled with international festivities under way in Vermont’s largest city.

Vermont filmmaker Jay Craven says the events commemorating the arrival of Samuel de Champlain 400 years ago offer an opportunity to creatively examine the history and culture that shaped the Champlain Valley we know it today.

VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb reports.

(Mitch) Jay Craven is best known to Vermonters as the man behind the camera who directed such films as "Disappearances" and "Stranger in the Kingdom." He also runs his own production company– Kingdom County Productions-and that experience has served him well in programming the myriad events that make up the 2009 Burlington International Waterfront Festival. 

Craven says the musical performances, parades, forums, and street shows that celebrate the Quadricentennial of Samuel de Champlain’s arrival to the region have a different focus than celebrations held in Burlington in 1909. Those Tercentenary events, he says, highlighted America’s emerging status as a player on the world stage, while this year, every effort has been made to embrace Champlain’s cross-border historical and cultural influence.

(Craven) "One of the important parts I think of the Quadricentennial is the engagement with Quebec. I mean, the Quebec government has been very supportive. We will have 100 French-Canadian artists performing in Burlington on July 10th and 11th…we also have this huge parade on July 11th with 1,000 performers, 75 performing groups and that includes Bosnians, Somalis, Native Americans, Franco-Americans, people that are part of this melting pot." 

(Mitch) With so many events making up the festival, Craven says there is something for everyone. But for him, the coup of the festival was bringing in the troupe performing Aurelia’s Oratorio, written and directed by Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter Victoria:

(Craven) "The idea that we would have this opportunity to bring a French troupe all the way from St. Petersburg Russia where they were on tour, but to bring a French troupe and put them on stage after having shipped 2 tons of stage gear here to make it happen, was the first inspiration I had programming this festival." 

The Burlington International Waterfront Festival runs through July 14th.

For VPR News, I’m Mitch Wertlieb.

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