Craven screens his newest project, ‘Jack London’s Martin Eden,’ at Next Stage

PUTNEY — Filmmaker, producer, educator, and art director Jay Craven will screen his most recent film, a film adaptation of Jack London's novel Martin Eden, at Next Stage Arts on Sunday, Nov. 21, at 5 p.m.

Craven will introduce the film and be available for a post-film discussion with the audience. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at

“Jay's legacy as an educator, filmmaker, and film professional is legendary,” Keith Marks, executive director of Next Stage Arts, said in a news release. “His films and film curation have always drawn people to Next Stage, and we couldn't be happier to host his new project.”

Jack London's Martin Eden received its world premiere at the Nantucket Film Festival in June and has won Best Film and Best Director awards at the Boston Film Festival and Best Narrative Feature at the Arlington International Film Festival. Other festival dates include The Woods Hole Film Festival and St. Louis International Film Festival.

The film is based on the celebrated writer's autobiographical novel. Set in 1909, it tells the story of a poor and unschooled sailor who unexpectedly meets Ruth Morse, a magnetic young woman of means and education. Their unconventional attraction upends both lives and propels timely themes of impossible love, dogged individualism in pursuit of the American Dream and the quest for a comfortable place in an inconstant world.

Craven said the book “gave me the opportunity to immerse myself into the world and ideas of this iconic American writer, and advance the Movies From Marlboro project I began during my years teaching at Marlboro College.”

He said he was “thrilled to work with two fabulous lead actors, Andrew Richardson and Hayley Griffith, who were taking on their first big film parts, and to also work with Annet Mahendru, industry veterans Grainger Hines and Missy Yager, and Marlboro College alumna and fellow Northeast Kingdom resident Ariel Zevon.”

Jack London, the most popular writer in the United States at the turn of the 20th century, wrote a number of stories and books, including The Call of the Wild and White Fang. His novel Martin Eden inspired Ernest Hemingway, Susan Sontag, and Upton Sinclair, among other writers.

Italian filmmaker Pietro Marcello recently made another adaptation of the story that has been well received. “We were surprised to see an Italian version being made simultaneously,” Craven said, noting that he likes Marcello's “stylistic approach” and that another adaptation “gives audiences a chance to compare notes on both films and dig deeper into the story and its cultural context.”

Martin Eden's cast includes Andrew Richardson in the title role and Hayley Griffith and Annet Mahendru as Ruth Morse and Lizzie Connolly, respectively.

Richardson trained at Carnegie Mellon University and London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and the Royal Academy of Dance. His credits include eight film and television productions along with theatrical stagings of The Taming of the Shrew and Othello.

Mahendru is best known for her co-starring role as Nina Krilova, the U.S. Russian embassy operative who has a love affair with FBI agent Stan Beeman in the long-running Emmy-winning series The Americans. She also co-starred as Elena Evanovich in the Amazon series The Romanoffs.

Griffith's credits include the television series Law and Order and Bull.

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