Discipline: Film/Video

Jay Craven

Discipline: Film/Video
Region: West Barnet, VT
MacDowell Fellowships: 1991

Jay Craven is an award-winning director, writer, and producer, whose narrative films include High Water (1989); Where the Rivers Flow North (1993); A Stranger in the Kingdom (1997); In Jest (1999); The Year that Trembled (2003); Disappearances (2006); Northern Borders (2012); Peter and John (2015); and Wetware (2018). He is currently preparing a 2020 production of Martin Eden, based on Jack London’s autobiographical novel.

Craven also directed, produced, and co-wrote the 2005 Emmy Award-winning public television comedy series, Windy Acres, along with four episodes of the Queen City Radio Hour—a comedy and music variety show performed before a live audience and broadcast over Vermont Public Radio. His documentaries include After the Fog: Interviews with Combat Veterans (2006); Dawn of the People (1984); and Gayleen (1985).

Jay directs the biennial Cinema Sarah Lawrence program (formerly Movies from Marlboro) where 25 professionals mentor and collaborate with 35 students from multiple colleges to make an ambitious narrative feature film for national release.

Craven founded and directed Catamount Arts (1975-91) in St. Johnsbury and directed its wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary film and performing arts program. In 1987 he co-founded (with Rob Mermin) Circus Smirkus, America’s only touring youth circus. And from 1979 to 1991 he co-produced Don Sunseri’s G.R.A.C.E. project for older indigenous visual artists.

Craven continues to curate and produce performing arts events through the KCP Presents series in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. He also curates the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival and the Woodstock Film Series and produces the annual Nantucket Youth Circus Workshops along with the Nantucket Young Playwrights residency Program for teen writers.

Craven writes regular arts and public issue commentaries for Vermont Public Radio and is currently writing a memoir that will be completed in 2020. He is also a professor of screenwriting and film studies at Sarah Lawrence College.



Jay Craven worked in the Mansfield studio.

The Helen Coolidge Mansfield Studio was donated by graduates of the Mansfield War Service Classes for Reconstruction Aides. Helen Mansfield helped found the New York MacDowell Club. The small, shingled frame structure with stone foundation was originally fronted on the west side by a neat white picket fence and gate, a garden, and a stone pathway…

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