John Burroughs and Jay Gould as teens will lead cast in time travel adventure film

Andes — Filming is scheduled during May and June for “Promies, Passion and Pride: The Story of the Anti-Rent War of Andes,” an educational short film being shot at landmark locations in Ulster and Delaware counties.

Produced by Andes Central School, with a cast including both students and community-minded adults, the film interweaves the vivid recollections of John Burroughs and Jay Gould, local youngsters in 1845, when the passions, and violence, that ignited the Anti-Rent conflict resulted in the murder of Andes’ Undersheriff and finally prompted the end of what was essentially a feudal system of land ownership in New York. Remarkably, before moving onto extraordinarily different life paths, Burroughs and Gould grew up as close friends in their hometown of Roxbury.

Historic achievement
History comes alive when Becky and Jane, two modern day teenage girls, resting on what appears to be a pile of old rocks, brush off the dust to reveal an historic marker. Their curiosity quickly grows when the crackling of twigs underfoot marks the appearance of Johnny and Jay, who arrive on the scene after a night’s sleep under the stars in a nearby meadow. Despite being daunted by “the duds” the boys wear, hunger takes precedence as the four head onto Andes’ Hogan’s where a newfound passion for “peeetza” prompts Jay to ponder the potential profits of roadside sales.

Lots to learn!
“Pizza? Wait till he finds out about PayPal!” Becky whispers. Johnny, realizing that time is no barrier, leads the way to the 1840s and the four watch the drama unfold as the anti-renters, disguised as Calico Indians, attempt to overcome the oppression they suffer from unfair rents and lease agreements of land-owning patent holders.

“Our story evokes the terror of these now little-known occurrences of a still young America with the candor and humor which only young people seem to possess,” remarks Richard Genaro, of Bearsville, screenwriter and director. This will mark the third film to be produced by Andes Central School after the debut of “Shavertown: Reservoir of Memories” (2007), a full-length documentary which recaptures life in one of the villages displaced in 1942 by the Pepacton Reservoir, followed in 2009 by “The Last Remaining Dairy Farms at Andes.”

Classroom teacher Linda Belmont explains, “The added benefit to this extended-study project is pride and appreciation of local history. The film work places oral communication skills at the forefront of the students’ learning: diction, clarity, and freeing one’s voice. Taking direction and working as a team are empowering social skills, along with the excitement of making a movie!” The study of the Anti-Rent War began last spring as an Arts-in-Education partnership with The Open Eye Theater, funded, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts.

Group effort
The creative team is thrilled to have the support of the Andes Society for History and Culture, which had produced a scripted reenactment of the Anti-Rent War, and is loaning costume pieces and granting access to preserved historical locations. Community building is at the heart of this project with Delaware and Ulster County adults cast in supporting roles to work side by side with the eighth graders of Andes Central School. Residents of Roxbury, Nick Bibbo is cinematographer for the film and Jeanne Palmer will fiddle period music.
The educational project continues to climb to its goal of $5,000 to finish film production. Tax-deductible contributions are gratefully accepted and may be sent to the Andes Society for History and Culture c/o Jim Andrews, 34 High Street, Andes 13731, Attn: ACS-AR. Please also include ACS-AR in memo of check. For more information about the film, please contact Linda Belmont at lbelmont@andescentralschool.org or Richard Genaro at richardgenaro@aol.com.