Inspired by the book We Were An Island: The Maine Life of Art and Nan Kellam by Peter Blanchard III, the film imagines the Kellam’s life on Placentia, an uninhabited island off the coast of Maine from their arrival in 1949 until just after Art’s death in 1985, when Nan returned to live there alone. 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. They experienced both independence from society and a connection with nature that seem nearly impossible today. Their story is a metaphor for what it means to enter a life partnership, what is gained and what is sacrificed. Ultimately, it is a grand accomplishment just to remain on that ‘island’ of our own design.
Loudon Wainwright III (Knocked Up, Big Fish) and Becky Ann Baker (Freaks and Geeks, Girls - Emmy nominee) lead the cast as Art and Nan Kellam. Real-life married couple Jennifer Mudge (Dutchman - Drama Desk) and Chris Henry Coffey (Trust) plays the couple in earlier years. The cast is rounded out by Dylan Baker (The Good Wife - 3 time Emmy nominee) as Dr. Julian Kuffler, iconic boat builder Chummy Rich as his own grandfather, Cliff Rich, and Jason Hodgton (Animal Planet) as Eddie the stern man.
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 Peter Blanchard III, author of the source material, 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 completed a draft of the screenplay in 2017, at which point the team 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. With an excellent cast and a crew from around the country, filming took place in June 2018 on Placentia and locations on Mount Desert Island. The film is currently in post-production. Click here to find out how you can get involved.