Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
We returned to 459 Bellevue yesterday to put Jerry Slocum on camera. Jerry is Eileen's oldest child and only son -- and he was outstanding, filled with wonderful stories and insights about his mother that we had not heard.
We are nearly through production, with one or possibly two more shoots to go. And then we begin editing.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Spent the morning in Newport, first on a visit with Nuala Pell to the cemetery where Claiborne Pell and two of his and Nuala's children are buried, and then I stopped by the cemetery where Eileen and her husband John lie in rest. Here is a shot of the Slocum plot, the mid-November leaves scattered among the yews. Eileen and John's stone is second from the right.
We are nearing the end of principal photography, with a major shoot this coming Monday at 459 Bellevue with Eileen's son, Jerry.
Monday, November 9, 2009
To place Newport Society in the larger historical context, we asked Dr. Michael A. Budd, historian and professor at Newport's Salve Regina University to be our academic adviser -- and he kindly agreed. He also agreed to go on camera, and we filmed him today in one of the libraries at Eileen Slocum's estate. Beryl Powell, one of Eileen's daughters, was our host again.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Laurence Cutler, founder and owner with his wife, Judy, of the esteemed National Museum of American Illustration, invited us into the museum yesterday and then, sitting in his library, went on camera for a great half-hour of observation about Eileen Slocum and Newport society. Laurence was superb. And the museum is just outstanding, with its collection of paintings by Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, N.C. Wyeth and all of the other great American illustrators.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
To watch a clip from Margy's interview, in which she talks about her mother's diaries, which are a central element in HEDGEROW, click through to the Facebook HEDGEROW page. Margy and Beryl have been enormously helpful to us in production, both on camera and behind the scenes. This Was Margy's second shoot and Beryl's first -- and more to come.
Monday, October 5, 2009
During an hour-and-a-half appearance on John DePetro's popular morning drive-time news/talk show on WPRO AM-630, Producer/writer G. Wayne Miller talked about his upcoming biography of Senator Claiborne Pell, A VERY DIFFERENT SENATOR, but also discussed HEDGEROW with DePetro and producer Tara Granahan, both of whom are looking forward to the final film.
Photo courtesy of WPRO AM-630.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
We spent the afternoon with Freddy Cushing at his Newport home, interviewing him for the movie and watching film footage of Newport as far back as 1919. One clip, from 1940, has the young Eileen Slocum at Bailey's beach. What a find! And Freddy was great on camera, and a gracious host. He later showed us the main Cushing house, on one of the most beautiful spots in all of Newport (or the East Coast, for that matter). No wonder the makers of Evening, the 2007 movie starring Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep and Claire Danes decided to shoot much of their movie there.
-- The Cushing house.
-- Freddy Cushing looking out at the wind-swept Atlantic from the porch.
-- Associate producer Calvin Miller on the rocks.
-- Director Dave Bettencourt on the lawn.
-- The setting sun.
-- Freddy and me during the shoot in Freddy's studio. He's a noted filmmaker himself and loves the art as much as we do.
Producer/writer G. Wayne Miller wrote a piece about narrative storytelling on the page and on the screen for DocumentaryTech, a web site devoted to "exploring the techniques and technology of documentary filmmaking," Sept. 25, 2009. BEHIND THE HEDGEROW was prominently included, along with a photograph of an on-location shoot of prominent Newporter Nick Brown.
The biography brought Miller over the past weekend to Fort Ticonderoga in New York, which has been in Pell family hands since 1820 -- a place dear to Claiborne's heart. Pictured here is Robert Pell-deChame, family genealogist, with one of the fort's canons -- donated, Robert told me, by John Slocum, Eileen's husband. Small world...
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
As the last days of summer tick down, Dave and I are preparing to meet this Friday to map our strategy for the home stretch -- the production stretch, that is. We plan to go post-production in January, and there's a lot left to do before then, including some additional interviews, transferring footage, transcribing interviews, scanning stills, and the list goes on. And on. But overall, I would say we are in good shape.
On of our tasks will be lining up sponsorships to help defray costs. Information on becoming a sponsor, along with more details about the film, are, as always, at the HEDGEROW site. For sponsorship information, click on, you guessed it, the sponsor link.
HEDGEROW is dovetailing nicely with the biography Eagle Peak Media partner G. Wayne Miller is writing of the late U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell, pictured here with John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a good friend, and Caiborne's wife Nuala. Pell the 16th-longest serving senator ever and a legislative giant -- he created the Pell Grant college assistance program, the legislation that established the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, the legislation that helped form the Law of the Seas, etc. etc. He was a quirky and colorful man, truly a one-of-a-kind character. And he was from one of Newport's (and America's) oldest and wealthiest families - and he married into a second fortune (A & P) when he wed the wonderful Nuala, who we are hoping to put on camera, too.
Be sure to check out A VERY DIFFERENT SENATOR, working title for the book. If you have a Pell story, I'd love to hear it -- reach me through the site.
And join the Facebook Claiborne Pell biography page.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
We were back "on location" at Eileen Slocum's Bellevue Avenue estate last night, filming two of Eileen's grandchildren: Sherman Powell, son of Eileen's daughter Beryl, and Irene Muriel Sherman Trevor Brooke (pictured here with me), daughter of Eileen's daughter Margy. Sherman, whose grandfather was the legendary congressman from Harlem, Adam Clayton Powell, recently retired as a captain from the U.S. Army. Irene lives now in London. Her wedding, like most of Eileen's children and grandchildren, made The New York Times. Both Sherman and Irene were wonderful.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
We continued through more production on Friday in Newport, shooting former Rhode Island governor and Eileen Slocum friend Bruce Sundlun in the drawing room of Eileen's estate on Bellevue Avenue. A nice shoot. Then, it was on to Nicholas Brown (pictured here in his harborside home with Josh, Dave and me) of the old-money Brown family (as in Brown University) -- a wonderful gentleman who spent three decades as a Navy officer and additonal years in public service, and now, in retirement, splits his time among Providence, Paris, and Newport, where Browns have summered since the 1800s. Nick had dead-on insights into Newport, and the world of privilege into which he was born -- both the honor and burden of being a Brown, one of America's foremost families in business, philanthropy, public service and the arts for more than two centuries. And many details about Eileen's estate and life. Eileen was Nick's distant cousin. Next shoot in Newport is Sept. 2...
Photo by Calvin Miller, associate producer.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Spent the hot day Tuesday, Aug. 18, in Newport on location, shooting two of the prominent people for many years in the city: Betty "Boop" Blake and Hugh D. "Yusha" Auchincloss III, both close friends of Eileen Slocum. Betty, at age 93, rightly observed that she is likely the oldest living friend of Eileen -- they were just three months apart in age, and knew each other from toddlerhood. Both Betty and Yusha were superb.
Pictured here are: Dave on the shoot with Betty, at her estate, Indian Spring; Yusha in the dining room of his house on Hammersmith Farm, where he and Jackie Kennedy Onassis, step-siblings, lived during World War II and later (Jackie's wedding photo on table below paintings); Betty with one of her dogs after the shoot; and Yusha and Wayne (back to camera) during shooting at Hammersmith.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
We interviewed Margy Quinn, Eileen's daughter. on camera for the first time on Aug. 13, in one of the parlors of Eileen's former home, which her children now own. Pictured here is the "set," if you will, where we rolled. Margy was exceptional on camera, as was her daughter, Sophie, who followed. Thanks to both, and to Evelyn, another of Eileen's granddaughters, who will be going on-camera in the fall.
Following the shoot, and a nice lunch in the small dining room (which brought back many memories of Eileen), we repaired to the Redwood Library, where we showed ON THE LAKE and then the teaser-trailer to HEDGEROW in two separate sessions -- about 45 people attended each, a very nice showing. Dave and I engaged in a spirited discussion period while the third member of our crew, Calvin Miller, took photos. Afterwards, an elegant dinenr at the Clambake Club, courtesy of Margy and her husband, Gene Quinn. Met some new friends and capped the evening by gazing on Newport Harbor from Bonniecrest. Our next shoot is all day in Newport this Tuesday, Aug. 18 -- including Yusha Auchincloss, an old friend of Eileen and John Slocum, and a fascinating person him self.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
BUT the show will go on -- both OTL and the BTH trailer will be shown tonight starting with a discussion with Dave and me at 6:45 p.m. at the Columbus Theatre in Providence. Hope to see you there!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
We were on scene at the elegant cocktail party and dinner staged Saturday, July 25, on the grounds of Eileen Slocum's estate -- a fundraiser for the Aquidneck Island Land Trust. We will use some of this footage for background images in the movie and possibly the trailer. Thanks to Jerry Slocum and his sister Margy Quinn, two of Eileen's children, and the folks at the land trust. And if you want to see the trailer and participate in a discussion with the filmmakers about the movie, please come to the Redwood Library on Bellevue Avenue at 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13, for a special afternoon with Eagle Peak Media.
Pictured here from our July 25 shoot: guests arriving at the main gate; the cocktail party with Eileen's mansion in the background; the festively decorated tent before dinner; the crew of Yolanda, Cal and Josh (behind the camera); and yours truly. Photos by Yolanda and me.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Our first grant was awarded in April by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Among the other recent publicity:
The Warwick Beacon ran a story in the July 2 issue.
The Providence Journal ran a short piece in May.
The Rhode Island Film Collaborative also published a story.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Great shoot last night in Newport. A shot of the crew and this is the press release we issued:
June 26, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEWPORT, R.I. –– After weeks of advance work, production begins today on BEHIND THE HEDGEROW, a feature-length documentary about Newport society that will be broadcast on PBS in 2010. A companion book will also be published.
The movie, from filmmakers G. Wayne Miller and David Bettencourt, is an exclusive inside look at the people of fortune and their descendants who have made Newport a coveted address and summer destination since the mid-1800s.
Filming at the Newport Flower Show, courtesy of The Preservation Society of Newport County, host of the show, is the first of several on-location shoots that will bring the filmmakers literally behind the hedgerow –– into the residences and private worlds of Newport’s leading families.
Part history and part contemporary look, BEHIND THE HEDGEROW will utilize rare footage, photographs, archives and on-camera interviews. A significant part of the film will be the story of the late Eileen Gillespie Slocum, whose family has welcomed the filmmakers into the world of their late mother, who died in 2008.
“To our knowledge, no one has ever documented these fascinating people and their city-by-the-sea in a movie,” said Miller. “We are excited to begin.”
BEHIND THE HEDGEROW will premiere at the 2010 Rhode Island International Film Festival. The movie trailer will be shown publicly for the first time in Newport on Aug. 13, 2009, at the Redwood Library, one of the many local and state institutions that is assisting Miller, Bettencourt and their crew with the film.
BEHIND THE HEDGEROW is the second title from Miller and Bettencourt’s non-profit Eagle Peak Media production company. ON THE LAKE, Eagle Peak’s first title, premiered in February to critical acclaim. PBS broadcasts in major national markets began in March and continue today. The DVD has recently been released.
Funding for the film is provided, in part, by a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.
Miller, a staff writer at The Providence Journal, authored the 2000 Journal series about Newport society, A Nearly Perfect Summer. Bettencourt’s first feature film was the wildly successful YOU MUST BE THIS TALL: The Story of Rocky Point Park.
More information, including how to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, is available at www.EaglePeakMedia.com and www.BehindTheHedgerow.com.
–– 30 ––
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Courtesy of the Preservation Society of Newport County, we will be in Newport this Friday, June 26, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., shooting B roll at the Newport Flower Show's evening cocktail party. It's at the fabulous Rosecliff mansion, pictured here. See you there!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
We spent the afternoon at Eileen's Bellevue Avenue mansion, shooting a few exteriors and many interiors. We will use some of this for our trailer, which will be shown publicly for the first time at the Rhode Island International Film Festival in early August and again on August 13 at the Redwood Library, which is hosting Hedgerow at the Redwood. Everyone is invited to attend both.
Here are a bust of Eileen, by celebrated sculptor Felix de Weldon, next to the grand piano in the foyer; producer/writer Wayne Miller contemplating the main library fireplace, a key symbol in the film; director Dave Bettencourt and assistant Calvin Miller shooting the entry hallway; and Dave and Cal lining up a shot in the main library. Beryl Slocum Powell was our gracious guide today, and, as always, we thank her and the entire Slocum family.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Newport's Redwood Library, America's oldest lending library, founded in 1747, is co-hosting with Eagle Peak Media a special showing of ON THE LAKE followed by a showing of the BEHIND THE HEDGEROW trailer and a discussion with the filmmakers and some of the Newport society people in the film. Wine and cheese will be served! Free and open to the public. Could be one of the highlights of the 2009 Newport summer season...
HEDGEROW AT THE REDWOOD will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 13, at the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, 50 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, Rhode Island.
Please RSVP to the Facebook HEDGEROW AT THE REDWOOD event site.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Less the case with BTH. Here, thanks to the people I met and connections I made during the writing of the 2000 Providence Journal series, A Nearly Perfect Summer, and most especially my long friendship with Eileen Slocum and her family, we already have the storyline. And, with the amazing archives we have available to us, we have much of the source materials.
So now it's a question of putting it all together, starting with writing the first draft of a treatment. I'm about half done. I'll finish soon. Dave is eager to move along, and so am In.
-- Wayne Miller
Monday, April 13, 2009
Thanks to the generosity of Eileen Slocum's family, we have been given exclusive access to Eileen's vast archives, including photographs and her personal diaries, which chronicle her life and her world unlike anything else known to exist. These are truly treasures -- of great historical importance -- and we are blessed to have the cooperation of Eileen's family. Pictured is a volume of Eileen's diary from 1953. We are just starting through this large volume, which includes clippings and telegrams, but I can tell you that based on a perusal -- in-depth study to follow -- this is awesome. And I don't often use that word.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Following the success of ON THE LAKE: Life and Love in a Distant Place, we are in pre-production of our next documentary, BEHIND THE HEDGEROW, about old-money Newport, told through the perspective of the late Eileen Gillespie Slocum, pictured here, grand dame. A companion book will be published. Follow our progress here and for more Eagle Peak Media news, visit the EPM site.