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Beneath The Harvest Sky' Tales from the set

April 22, 2014
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'Beneath The Harvest Sky', a drama of remarkable depth and beauty, is set to premiere at theaters throughout Maine on Friday, April 25 one week before it opens nationally.  

Dominic (Callan McAuliffe) and Casper (Emory Cohen) are two high school seniors best friends of antithetical character - determined to leave their small Maine border town amid a backdrop of the potato harvest, sex, drugs, rock and roll, love, death and betrayal.  

The film is so realistic and the performances so fully-realized - you'll be forgiven for momentarily forgetting that you're not watching a documentary. 

'Beneath The Harvest Sky' is the feature fiction debut for filmmakers Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly, a duo with an award-winning background in documentary filmmaking. They wrote, directed and produced the film, shot in and around Van Buren in the summer and fall of 2012.  

Over the last few weeks, I spoke with the filmmakers and several of the cast for behind the scenes tales from the set of 'Beneath The Harvest Sky.'  

'The cast was everything,' Pullapilly told me. 'Everyone who sees the movie talks about the actors' performances,' Gaudet adds. 'Across the board, the entire cast is really strong.'

Sarah Sutherland ('Catherine' on HBO's 'VEEP') plays Emma, a college-bound senior working her final potato harvest. In the film, romance blooms for Emma and Dominic as they work side by side.

Sutherland says she had a very meaningful experience in Maine filming 'Beneath The Harvest Sky.' She told me of a pivotal moment that speaks volumes about her commitment and to Gaudet and Pullapilly's dedication to their actors.  

'We all lived together so I had the luxury of being able to wake Aron and Gita up at any hour,' she told me. 'This particular night, I was having issues with how I was going to approach a very important scene the next day. I went to speak with them about it for what I thought would be a five-minute conversation. Three hours later, we had completely re-written the scene together. That was a really amazing experience and one of many where Aron and Gita honored each of us as co-collaborators.'

Sutherland says that even after her scenes were shot, she stayed on in an associate producer capacity. 'I didn't want to leave. My agent was literally calling Aron and Gita and saying, 'She has to go. I need her back in the city.' I will literally fight tooth and nail to work with them for the rest of my life.'  

Timm Sharp ('Enlightened,' 'Six Feet Under,' 'Undeclared') plays Badger, uncle of Casper and brother of drug-smuggling Clayton (Aidan Gillen 'Littlefinger' on HBO's 'Game of Thrones.')

For Sharp, the experience of living with his cast-mates provided a unique bonding experience. 'It was incredible,' he remembered. 'You get to know people very quickly that way (laughing). We had huge bonfire every night. '  

'Those two people (Gaudet and Pullapilly) are amazing to me,' he continued. 'They're gaining success by instinct and feeling. I first met them via Skype. They wanted to check me out to make sure I was a good person and would be a good fit for this team they had assembled. They are very real people.'       

A native of Fargo, North Dakota, Sharp says that Aroostook County seemed like a familiar place even though he had never been there before. 'The people were so polite. They're people with morals - God-fearing people. I felt like I was home,' he told me. 

Callan McAuliffe ('The Great Gatsby,' 'I Am Number Four') is an Australian, although his native accent is undetectable in 'Beneath The Harvest Sky.' 'My character (Dominic) grew up alongside the regular kids in the area,' he said. 'Emory (Casper) took it down a darker route and his accent (French-Canadian) is a lot more forward. Our characters are polar opposites, so I decided to take it down a step because not everyone in Aroostook County speaks with an accent.'

harvest moon

In the film, we see McAuliffe's character begin to fall for Emma (Sutherland). 'The chemistry that you see between Dominic and Emma was there because I got to know Sarah Sutherland off the set,' McAuliffe said. 'She's a very kind soul and just a lovely individual, which made it all the easier.'  

McAuliffe recently completed 'Hacker' a film shot in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Toronto and New York. Later this year, he'll be seen in 'Kite' with Samuel L. Jackson and 'Robot Overlords' with Sir Ben Kingsley.  

Brandon Wardwell (Austin) is a Lincoln, Maine native and one of the actors who came to the attention of Gaudet and Pullapilly through a casting call in Bangor. He also appeared in last year's 'Bluebird,' shot in Millinocket and Lincoln. 

Wardwell says that he appreciated the family atmosphere on the set of 'Beneath The Harvest Sky.' 'Everyone was looking out for each other like a family,' he said. 'It felt almost like a summer camp. You're really tight with everybody and then you're gone.'

The stand-out moment for Wardwell was 'the moose safari.' 'That was crazy and so much fun. It's the middle of the night and this moose suddenly jumps out of the woods and we take off after it. The camera crew was in the truck next to us. Luckily, they got a great shot.' 

Wardwell says that, even though his role was a small one, he is very happy to have been part of the film. 'I made the most out of it that I possibly could. I really did my best, and that's something to feel great about.'

Wardwell currently lives in New York City and has just completed his first screenplay.

'Beneath The Harvest Sky' will open in theaters throughout Maine on Friday, April 25. Bangor Mall Cinemas 10 will host a gala premiere featuring a Q&A with the filmmakers and a performance from soundtrack artist Dustin Hamman beginning at 6:30 p.m. The film is also available through iTunes, Amazon and video-on-demand.  

'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, 29 April 2014 13:28

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