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Documentary Film on Rockwell Kent Premieres Sept. 18

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ A biographical documentary film titled, "Rockwell Kent," will premiere at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh on Saturday, Sept. 18 in Yokum Hall, Room 200.

"Rockwell Kent" Film Poster The Plattsburgh State Art Museum, which has the largest collection of art by Rockwell Kent in the United States, is pleased to host the premiere of "Rockwell Kent." Part I of the film, created by Frederick Lewis, will be shown at 1 p.m., followed by a panel discussion led by four preeminent Kent scholars who will conduct a question and answer session as well as a commentary on the first part of the film. Light refreshments will be served.  Part II will then be shown at 4 p.m., followed by another question and answer period.  A reception will follow in the Rockwell Kent Gallery in the Feinberg Library.

Tickets are available at the Plattsburgh Art Museum in the Myers Fine Arts Building, Angell College Center Information Desk and the Rockwell Kent Gallery. The cost is: $8 for the general public; $5 for docents, faculty and staff; and $1 for students.


Kent was one of the North Country's most colorful figures: an artist of international stature, an adventurer, author of half a dozen books and political activist. Filmmaker Lewis spent more than 10 years and thousands of dollars of his own money on an almost obsessive labor of love.  As a result, hours of tape have been trimmed to three hours in the most intense story of a fascinating life.

Edward Brohel, director of the Plattsburgh Art Museum, said, "It is incredible to watch, in the adventures of Rockwell Kent's life, American history move through the first half of the 20th century - wars, revolutions, fashion and art."

Lewis not only researched and cataloged hundreds of documents, photographs and letters, but he also traced Kent's footsteps across the world.  He followed Kent in his many travels including Greenland, Denmark, Alaska, Russia and Tierra del Fuego (the tip of South America), where in the latter case he hired a sailboat in order to charter the same routes that Kent had taken. 

Never having done any sailing before, Lewis was unaware that the waters he had chosen were some of the most dangerous in the world.  Lewis returned with some of the most amazing footage in the film. 

Marguerite Eisinger, docent coordinator at Plattsburgh State and editor of the Kent Collector, said, "This total dedication to detail makes the film a documentary of prime quality. It also shows the human story of Kent in the most intricate detail enriched with interviews of people who knew him and who are now dead."

Eisinger said that for those who feel they already know about Kent, in depth research has uncovered many previously unknown factors; for those who know nothing about Kent, it will be a revelation that a person could accomplish so much in one lifetime. 

"Wherever you stand on Kent, you will never cease to be surprised by the many factors of his personality and lifespan that Lewis has explored," said Eisinger.

Cecelia Esposito, visual resources coordinator in the Art Department and researcher for the Art Museum, was instrumental in providing the filmmaker with more than 100 scanned images of photographs from those bequeathed to the museum following Sally Kent Gorton's death in 2000.

"The needs of this project indicated the importance of the new materials of the Kent Gorton collection," said Esposito. "It really is a wonderful resource for scholars and interested individuals researching the life of Rockwell Kent."

For more information on the premiere, contact Edward Brohel at 518-564-2474.

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