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Martha at the Callicoon Theater

January 5, 2012

The first time I remember going to the Callicoon Theater was to see a print of “A River Runs Through It” that the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA) was showing. I was probably 12. Since then, I’ve been back a half a dozen times. I’ve always liked it. I had my mind blown by “Being John Malkovich” and snapped a photo of Richard Castellano adjusting the marquee for “Analyze This.” The idea that a movie I am closely involved in would show there is a dream.

I remember when Sean Durkin and I rode into the Monticello bus station for the first time. We were both juniors at NYU and we were upstate to work on my short film. At the time, Sean was concentrating on cinematography.

“This place is awesome. I am going to shoot here someday,” he said.

I believed him, of course, but I don’t think I thought it would happen so soon.

The memory was in the front of my mind four years later while the “Martha Marcy May Marlene” (MMMM) crew milled about the bus station getting ready to film. It made me smile. I drove back to Narrowsburg when the shooting was over. Back to the editing room that I had set up on the second floor of the DVAA on Main Street.

I grew up going to operas, movies and plays at the Tusten Theater. I shot there for the very same student film that Sean and I rode up to scout. I roamed RiverFest and the gallery often. So when it came time to choose a place to edit while MMMM was being shot, the DVAA seemed like a natural progression.

Filming was based in Livingston Manor at the farmhouse owned by the family of Antonio Campos, one of the producers and part of the trio at Borderline Films (see page 15). It turned out that one of Sean’s producing partners and dear friend of Antonio’s family had an old farmhouse in Livingston Manor. The farm was picturesque and perfect for the story.

The production was still looking for a lake house where the second half of the film was to take place. Eventually Tenannah Lake stood in for Connecticut.

The film is about a young woman who escapes from a cult.

Earlier that summer, Sean had gotten back from the Sundance director’s lab and the shooting schedule was tight because we were racing the change in season. The amazing production team figured a way to make it happen. Sean cast Elizabeth Olsen as the lead, and John Hawkes and the rest of the very good cast fell into place.