Calendar comes to life

17 years ago

    NEW SWEDEN, Maine — Combining the old with the new is an exciting concept, and it was this creative union that sparked Brenda Jepson, of Crown Of Maine Productions, to spend more than a year working on a Calendar/DVD showcasing Aroostook County.

“For years I have wanted to make a calendar. I am a collector of calendars – we have one in every room of our house, but I also am a filmmaker so it was only natural to think of merging the two interests in a unique way,” said Jepson.
The film Jepson and her husband, Alan, produced to go with their Aroostook 2008 Calendar is called “Christmas Greetings From Aroostook.” This 26-minute production took the filmmakers to many parts of a county nearly the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.
“Christmas Greetings From Aroostook” features the many ways northern Maine residents celebrate Christmas – from the Heavenly Harpers of Houlton to sleigh rides in Mapleton and from the Swedish Santa Lucia Day in Maine’s Swedish Colony to the French of The Valley making tourtiere (pie with a spiced meat filling.)
There are several montage sequences in the film including the Presque Isle Light Parade, but there are two other sequences that are Jepson’s personal favorite scenes from the show. One shows Christmas light displays at homes from Houlton to Fort Kent, and the other features County churches in the snow, while Layne Longfellow, the narrator, recites the poem “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” written by his famous relative. Church bells and music are also part of the mix.
“We really had fun making this DVD,” said Jepson, “although there were times when my fingers were so cold that I had to ask my husband to take over the camera for me! It may seem strange, but we only finished the project last month when an exchange student from France helped me film Nicole Cote making tourtiere in St David.”
A lack of snow last Christmas meant that the filmmakers had to wait to shoot some of the snow scenes as late as March and April, but Jepson hopes this DVD will make folks who live in The County glad they are here for the holidays, and will help those who can’t make it home for a County Christmas a little less homesick.
Aroostook 2008 Calendar, produced entirely in The County, forms the backdrop for the Christmas DVD. It also contains scenes from all over Aroostook – from Weston to the St. John Valley. A map on the inside cover reveals where each month’s scene was photographed.
“The County has a character all of its own and we tried to capture this in our calendar,” said Jepson.
December for 2008 shows the Anderson Thibodeau family from Stockholm on a sleigh ride at the Chad Putnam Farm in Mapleton. This is the first scene to come to life in the Christmas DVD.
“We wanted to produce a gift that would bring someone joy at Christmas time but which also could be enjoyed for the rest of the year,” said Jepson.
The Calendar/DVDs, which also are available individually as either a calendar or postcard/DVD, are in stores throughout Aroostook and at   www.crownofmaineproductions.com For  information, contact 896-3416.