Jay Craven is an award-winning director, writer, and producer whose narrative films include High Water (1989 w/ Greg Germann, Jane MacFie, Dennis Mientka); Where the Rivers Flow North (1993, w/ Rip Torn, Tantoo Cardinal, Michael J. Fox, Treat Williams); A Stranger in the Kingdom (1997, w/ Ernie Hudson, David Lansbury, Martin Sheen); In Jest (1999 w/ Bill Raymond, Rusty DeWees, Tantoo Cardinal); The Year That Trembled (2003, w/ Fred Willard, Marin Hinkle, Jonathan Brandis, Martin Mull), and Disappearances (2006 w/ Kris Kristofferson, Genevieve Bujold, Gary Farmer, Charlie McDermott, Lothaire Bluteau).
Craven also directed, produced, and co-wrote the 2005 Emmy Award-winning public television comedy series, Windy Acres (2004 w/ Rusty DeWees, Bill Raymond, Seana Kofoed). His documentaries include After the Fog: Interviews with Combat Veterans (2006), Dawn of the People (1984), and Gayleen (1985).
Craven’s films have played 345 U.S. cities and towns; 52 countries; and more than sixty international film festivals, including Sundance, Seattle, South By Southwest, Vienna, Vancouver, Nantucket, Avignon, Cleveland, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Havana, Savannah, and The American Film Institute’s AFI Fest. Also, television broadcasts on the Disney Channel, Sundance Channel, Starz, Encore, PBS affiliates in eleven states, and syndication to more than 150 commercial U.S. TV stations.
Special screenings include The Smithsonian, Lincoln Center, Anthology Film Archives, the American Film Institute, Art Institute of Chicago, Harvard Film Archives, George Eastman House, and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Also, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Boston University, Middlebury College, Yale University, Duke University. Webster University, Marquette University, San Francisco State University, University of Vermont, Keene State College, Colby Sawyer College, Amherst College, University of South Carolina, University of Mississippi.
Craven’s first feature, Where the Rivers Flow North, is included in The Sundance Collection at the UCLA Film Archives and was selected as one of three U.S. Finalists, from among 120 submissions, to Critics Week at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.
Awards and recognitions include two New England Emmys (for Windy Acres); 1995 Producers’ Guild of America NOVA award for Most Promising New Motion Picture Producer of the Year (for Rivers); 1998 Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts; a MacDowell Colony Fellowship; one of Knight Ridder’s “Ten Best Films of 1995” (for Rivers); two National Endowment for the Arts Regional Film fellowships (for Gayleen and High Water); and two National Endowment for the Arts Film Production Grants (for Rivers and Disappearances); two NEA/IFFCON appointments (for Rivers and Stranger scripts) and two Independent Feature Project/No Borders appointments (for Disappearances and They Don’t Dance Much scripts). Rivers was also selected for the 1994 Southern Circuit, America’s only regional film touring initiative for independent films.
Disappearances was also selected in 2006 by the American Film Institute to be one of 8 U.S. and 11 international films for its first-ever AFI : Project 20/20—a year-long global cultural exchange to U.S. and international venues, sponsored by the AFI, The National Endowment for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The President’s Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the State Department, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Craven directs Kingdom County Productions, in Barnet, Vermont, where, in addition to producing feature films, he directs the Fledgling Films program for teen filmmakers.
Craven’s projects now in development at KCP include They Don’t Dance Much, a country noir picture about “robbery gone wrong” in the rural Depression-era south; A Crime Unpunished (tentative title), a psychological thriller based on Georges Simenon’s novel, The Fugitive; and Bellows Falls, a suspense drama based on the novel by Archer Mayor.
Craven also founded and directed Catamount Arts (1975-91) in St. Johnsbury and directed its wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary film and performing arts producing, presenting, and educational program. Catamount began in 1975 as a four-night-a-week traveling 16mm film series to small rural towns. By 1984, its program included nightly 35mm film screenings and 60 annual world-class music, theatre and dance events. Artists presented included Merce Cunningham Dance Theater, Feld Ballet, San Francisco Mime Troupe, Miriam Makeba, Guthrie Theater, Miles Davis, Spalding Gray, Flying Karamozovs, Kodo Drummers, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Stephane Grappelli, Mummenschanz, American Repertory Theater, and many others.
At Catamount, Craven supported a program for older indigenous Vermont visual artists (the GRACE project) and renovated St. Johnsbury’s former Post Office into The Catamount Arts Center (offices, workshop spaces, gallery, and 120-seat 35mm theater). At Catamount, Craven also co-founded and produced (1986-’89) the Circus Smirkus, a professional circus arts training and performance program for youngsters aged 10-18.
Craven has consulted extensively on arts management issues for The New York State Council on the Arts, Burlington City Arts and more than thirty non-profit arts organizations and has served as a panelist for The National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Bush Foundation, The Vermont Council on the Arts and others. He is a regular commentator for Vermont Public Radio and writes a regular arts and media column for the Burlington Free Press and St. Johnsbury’s Caledonian Record.
Craven is a tenured professor of film studies at Marlboro College (1998-present).
Jay Craven graduated from the Hill School and attended Boston University’s School of Liberal Arts (student body president-1970-71), The School of Visual Arts, and Goddard College, from which he holds an MA.