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Our Story



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It all started when

Kingdom County Productions (KCP) was established in May 1991 by arts activists Jay Craven and Bess O’Brien. Impresario and filmmaker Craven had previously founded and directed St. Johnsbury’s Catamount Arts (1975-91) and co-founded (with Rob Mermin) Vermont’s Circus Smirkus.  O’Brien had worked as a producer at Catamount and she led Middlebury’s Vermont Ensemble Theater (1985-88) where she produced, among others, acclaimed environmental theater productions of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and Federico Fellini’s La Strada.

Together, Craven and O’Brien set out to make films rooted in New England.  They’ve produced ten award-winning dramatic films, eleven documentaries, a radio variety show, a touring musical theater production, and an Emmy-winning television comedy series.  KCP films have played in 53 countries, 352 U.S. cities and towns, and 43 international festivals including Sundance, Seattle, South by Southwest, Avignon, Vienna, Vancouver, and AFI Fest. Special screenings include The Smithsonian, Lincoln Center, Harvard Film Archive, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Cinemateca Nacional de Venezuela, and the Constitutional Court of Johannesburg.  More than 300,000 videos and DVD’s of KCP films are in circulation and television exposure includes Sundance Channel, Disney Channel, Starz, Encore, Showtime, more than 200 local commercial TV outlets, and PBS affiliates in ten states.

In 2009, Kingdom County Productions launched its KCP Presents performing arts series, staging world-class music, theater, dance and circus events in St. Johnsbury and Lyndonville, VT.  In 2015, we initiated a new partnership with Catamount Arts in order to expand and sustain the series. Together, Catamount and KCP program produce, and market this ambitious annual performance season for the surrounding region of North Country Vermont and New Hampshire.   

In 2010, KCP launched Arts, Voices, Action (AVA) to produce film and theater productions that grow out of issues that affect Vermonters. In 2011, KCP launched its biennial Movies from Marlboro film intensive program, where 24 professionals mentor and collaborate with 35 students from multiple colleges, to make an ambitious feature film for international release.  In 2018, after making three films in association with Marlboro College (Northern Borders, Peter and John, and Wetware), this program moved to Sarah Lawrence College where it is now called Cinema Sarah Lawrence and will produce a film intensive semester in Winter/Spring 2019. Click HERE for more information on the program.


Our Board

Nat Winthrop, Bess O’Brien, Jay Craven, Emily Taylor, Jen Wool, Faye Baker, Linda Wheatley, Anne M. Johnston, Dennis O'Brien

Directors Bess O’Brien and Jay Craven with Board members Faye Baker, Nat Winthrop, and Linda Wheatley

Directors Bess O’Brien and Jay Craven with Board members Faye Baker, Nat Winthrop, and Linda Wheatley

Our Major Underwriters Include:

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Vermont Public Radio                         

National Endowment for the Arts     

New England Foundation for the Arts. 

The Essex

State of Vermont           

Vermont Arts Council

Vermont Broadcast Associates 

The India Blake Foundation

The Norman Lear Family Foundation

The Amy E. Tarrant Foundation

The Rona Jaffe Foundation

The Fountain Fund

Donna Carpenter and Jake Burton Foundation 

The Vermont Community Foundation

Bari and Peter Dreissigacker

We are grateful to the many more individual donors, grant funders, and businesses who support our work.