Screenplay by Jahn Sood, Directed by Peter Logue
SHOOTING JUNE 2017.
“We Were An Island” imagines the life of Art & Nan Kellam, a couple who moved to an uninhabited island off the coast of Maine in 1949. Whether in response to the horrors they witnessed in international news during World War II or from a desire to take on a life project that was utterly unique, the couple built their own home and lived in near isolation for the subsequent four decades. During their time on Placentia, the Kellams experienced both independence from society and a connection with nature that seem nearly impossible today. They lived a life of their own design, and yet not without challenges. Their story is an apt metaphor for what it means to enter a life partnership, what is gained and what we each give up. Ultimately it is a grand accomplishment just to remain on that ‘island’ of our own design. In a series of short imagistic scenes, our film tells the Kellam’s story from their arrival on Placentia in 1949, until just after Art’s death in 1985, when Nan made the choice to return to the island and live there alone.
When Maine filmmaker Peter Logue approached playwright Jahn Sood with the idea of writing a narrative film inspired by the life of Art & Nan Kellam, he was surprised to find that Sood had visited Placentia in the 1990s when the Kellam’s home was still intact and that the playwright had dreamed about the life they must have lived there. Logue, having grown up on nearby Mount Desert Island, was steeped in local lore about the couple’s alternative lifestyle and wanted to tell their story as a way to celebrate Maine living. The two began researching in 2015. They since have connected with Peter Blanchard III, the author of “We Were An Island: The Maine Life of Art and Nan Kellam,” who is also the steward of Placentia Island, now owned and protected by The Nature Conservancy, as well as several MDI residents who remember the Kellams first hand. They also had the benefit of reading from Nan Kellam’s extensive journals from her time on Placentia. Sood has now completed a draft of the screenplay, and the team has expanded to include cinematographer Dean Merrill who has made a career shooting films at sea off the coast of Maine as well as for nationally syndicated studios.
Jahn Sood (Screenwriter / Producer)
Jahn Sood is a New York based playwright and composer. He assisted composer Pat Irwin (of the B-52’s) on the scores of AMC’s Feed the Beast, Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, HBO’s Bored to Death, and several films. His original works have been presented at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Two River Theater Company, Barrington Stage, Goodspeed Opera House, Joe’s Pub, 54 Below, Cloud City, SPACE at Ryder Farm, Barrow Street, Musical Theatre Factory, Theater at St. Clements,NYU Tisch, Culturehub Studios, The Factory Theater (Boston), Barn Arts Collective (Bass Harbor, ME), The Strand Theater (Rockland, ME), Seoul Institute of the Arts (Korea) and Stage Theater Neue Flora (Hamburg, Germany). He was a founding member of Ezra Furman & the Harpoons and toured nationally with the group. He is a graduate of NYU Tisch (Graduate Musical Theater Writing) and Tufts University and a proud member of the Dramatist’s Guild of America, ASCAP and AFM Local 802.
Peter Logue (Director / Producer)
A native of Southwest Harbor, Peter Logue has directed, filmed, and edited a series of acclaimed short films including: The Search for the White Rose, a documentary about German university students who led a massive resistance against the Nazis, has screened at Harvard, USC, DePaul, Springfield College, and over forty other venues and has been distributed in more than 5,000 high schools nationwide; and Outrunning Parkinson’s, a documentary about Great Cranberry Island native Michael Westphal’s return to marathon running after a battle with Parkinson’s. Peter has produced and directed commissioned films for Friends of Acadia, College of the Atlantic, the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, MDI Hospital, Camp Beech Cliff, Criterion Theatre, MDI Historical Society, Bar Harbor Historical Society, and the New England Parkinson’s Ride. He received the 2016 Maine Arts Commission Artist Fellowship for Multimedia/ Film.
Dean Merrill (Director of Photography)
Dean Merrill has been working with media for over fifteen years as a cinematographer and director. He has worked with international brands and studios such as National Geographic, The History Channel, ABC, L.L. Bean, Timberland, LoJack, Chase Manhattan, and featured in The New York Times, National Public Radio (NPR), Filmmaker, Indiewire, and MovieMaker Magazine. He was the cinematographer for the 2015 feature film “Neptune” and has worked on several Maine-made narrative films throughout his career.
Peter P. Blanchard III (Consultant / Author of Source Material)
We Were An Island: The Maine Life of Art and Nan Kellam
A long-time conservationist and environmental activist, and the founder of Greenwood Gardens, a New Jersey nonprofit organization dedicated to horticulture and environmental education. He owns and manages two Maine islands as nature reserves. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, a non-profit land conservation organization, headquartered in Brunswick, Maine.