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Filmed in Maine Beneath the Harvest Sky' to open in April

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Nearly four years in the making, 'Beneath the Harvest Sky,' the debut narrative drama from award-winning filmmakers Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly, is set to premiere in theaters throughout Maine on April 25- one week before it opens nationally.  

For Gaudet and Pullapilly, partners in film and in marriage, bringing 'Beneath the Harvest Sky' to the big screen is the realization of a dream they have had for many years. 'Hopefully, after people see this, they will look at us as filmmakers who make professional, narrative films,' Gaudet told me in a recent phone interview. 'I think we're still looking to legitimize ourselves after we did a self-released documentary.'  

The pair's 2009 documentary 'The Way We Get By' profiled the Maine Troop Greeters and focused on the lives of three senior citizens dedicated to meeting and greeting all military flights in and out of Bangor International Airport. The film won 18 film festival awards, including five 'Best Documentary' awards.  

'Beneath the Harvest Sky' is a departure from 'The Way We Get By' in virtually every way. The movie is an intense dramatic account of teen life in Van Buren, Maine, set amid the backdrop of the annual potato harvest. Filming took place in and around the LaJoie family farm growers of potatoes for Terra Blue potato chips.  

The film stars Callan McAuliffe as Dominic Roy, a 17-year old with strong family values and a dedicated work ethic. Dominic's best friend and ethical opposite is Casper (Emory Cohen), who has chosen a darker life making money with his father, smuggling drugs across the Canadian border. The two high school seniors made a pact to leave their tiny town for the big city, but they each have very different ideas on how to make that happen.           

beneath the harvest sky

Emory Cohen (Casper) and Zoe Levin (Tasha) talking outside of the Van Buren school in Beneath The Harvest Sky (Photo Credit: Steven Capitano Calitri)

For Gaudet and Pullapilly, making the movie realistic was very important. 'We come from a documentary background, so we wanted to keep this story as real and authentic as possible,' Pullapilly told me. 'It's amazing to see how many people across the board relate to it.  It has a raw, authentic feel to it.'

One of the duo's goals with 'Beneath the Harvest Sky' was to give teens a movie they could relate to. 'When we were teens, we saw realistic teen films like 'Rumble Fish,' 'The Outsiders,' 'At Close Range' and 'Stand by Me,' Pullapilly said. 'We felt that movies like that just didn't exist today. We thought it would be great for teens to have a film that they could call their own like we did.'

Gaudet says that he and Pullapilly are proud of the early reaction audiences have had to 'Beneath the Harvest Sky.' 'The response has blown us away. They talk about the actors' performances, which we're really proud of because working with the actors was something we really enjoyed during the making of the movie. The second thing they talk about is how authentic everything feels. We set out to make something that would feel authentic to northern Maine. We feel like we accomplished that.'  

During negotiations with their film distributor, Gaudet and Pullapilly had Maine audiences in mind. 'There's probably no other filmmakers out there who worked in a clause to have their movie open theatrically in Maine before it opens in New York City,' Gaudet said. Pullapilly continued: 'Our entertainment attorney said, Really?  That's going to be a sticking point?' And we said, It's really important to us.''

When Gaudet and Pullapilly sat down with agencies in Hollywood to discuss the movie, they were happily surprised to discover that it had already created serious industry buzz. 'Our agent showed them the movie and they thought we must have had a budget of several million dollars,' Pullapilly said. 'We told them, You don't know what it's like to be able to make a movie in Maine.' What looks like millions of dollars on screen is really just Maine people coming out to support us.'

'Beneath the Harvest Sky,' directed and written by Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly and produced by the duo along with Kavita Pullapilly and executive producer, Allison Jones, will open on Friday, April 25 at the following Maine theaters: Bangor Mall Cinemas (a gala premiere which will include a Q&A with the filmmakers), Reel Pizza Cinerama in Bar Harbor, Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville, Alamo Theater in Bucksport, Colonial Theater in Belfast, Frontier Cinema & Caf in Brunswick, Nickelodeon Cinemas in Portland, Caribou Theaters and the Temple Theater in Houlton.

'Beneath the Harvest Sky' will screen at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City from April 16 through 27. Tribeca Films, the movie's distributor, selected the film as one of four titles to be made available starting April 15 on all 'video on-demand' platforms as a launch for the national release. The film will be available through Amazon Instant, iTunes, Vudu, Time-Warner, Comcast, Direct TV and other digital outlets.  

'The Big Morning Show with Mike Dow' can be heard on Big 104 FM The Biggest Hits of the '60s, '70s & '80s - airing on 104.7 (Bangor/Belfast), 104.3 (Augusta/Waterville) and 107.7 (Bar Harbor)

    

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 18:40

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