We Were An Island is an upcoming narrative short film directed by Peter Logue, written by Jahn Sood,
and inspired by We Were An Island: The Maine Life of Art and Nan Kellam by Peter Blanchard III.
The film will bring to life the story 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.
Our goal is to shoot the 30-minute film in the summer of 2018 on Placentia and locations on Mount Desert Island. The film will be edited and scored by the spring of 2019. We will then submit to international film festivals that would help the film reach a broad audience and screen the film locally to support organizations with special interest in Maine conservation efforts and cultural heritage. While these interest groups will certainly be honored in the making of this film, we believe the narrative will also be accessible to a broad audience that relates to the relationship story and the fantasy of true alternative living, as we find ourselves in a new time when many Americans ponder leaving society to seek sanctuary from the news and national politics.