Friday, September 28, 2018

Free film screening: “Henry David Thoreau: Surveyor of the Soul”

The public is invited to a free film screening of “Henry David Thoreau: Surveyor of the Soul” on Monday, October 1 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Viola George Auditorium in the Harold Alfond Hall at Saint Joseph’s College and presented by the Cultural Affairs Council.

Made over the course of 13 years, “Henry David Thoreau: Surveyor of the Soul” tells the story of Thoreau in his time and the story of the impact Thoreau’s writings and lifestyle have in our time.
The film features scholars, writers, activists, climate scientists, Penobscots, students in the Walden Project high school program in Vermont, and everyday visitors to Walden Pond discussing their passion for Thoreau, his legacy, and the impact his writings have on their work and lives.

These interviews were filmed on location in all four seasons at the original site of Thoreau’s cabin on Walden Pond where he was inspired to write his book “Walden”. As well as at other places where Thoreau traveled: the Maine woods and Katahdin, Cape Cod and Minnesota, where Thoreau made his last and longest excursion from his beloved Concord, MA.

“Surveyor of the Soul” also includes a section on Thoreau’s excursions to the Maine Woods with footage of Katahdin, Chesuncook Lake, and the 150th Thoreau-Wabanaki Tour in 2014 that retraced Thoreau’s canoe trips in Maine.

Darren Ranco, chair of Native American Programs at University of Maine and a descendent of Joe Polis, Thoreau’s Penobscot guide on his 1857 trip to Maine, is the lead commentator in this section along with Thoreau scholar, Ron Hoag. Others interviewed in this section are James Francis, director of Cultural and Historic Preservation, Penobscot Nation, Chris Sockalexis, Penobscot drummer and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, Penobscot Nation, and Chris “Charlie Brown” Francis, Penobscot guide who carries on the tradition of Joe Polis and Joe Attean. Penobscot knowledge and culture make for a fitting and original contribution to the film as they did to Thoreau’s understanding of the wild and wildness.

For 40 years Huey Coleman, a renown Maine filmmaker who was interested in Henry David Thoreau's connection with Maine and, in particular, the Maine woods, has been making films on artists, education, the environment, and Maine. His films have been shown at film festivals throughout the US, on PBS, and on television in Europe. Coleman’s seventh feature-length documentary film, “Henry David Thoreau: Surveyor of the Soul”, had its world premiere at the Maine International Film Festival on July 15, 2017. His film, “In Good Time: The Piano Jazz of Marian McPartland”, was selected as a “Must have jazz DVD of 2011” by DownBeat Magazine and won the Manny Berlingo Award, Best Feature Documentary, Garden State Film Festival. Coleman’s 2002 film “Wilderness and Spirit: A Mountain Called Katahdin” was selected for screening at the Environmental Film Festival, National Museum of American History, Washington, D.C.

Coleman is a founder and director of the Maine Student Film and Video Festival now in its 41st year. He has been an artist-in-residence in animation and video production in over 150 schools in New England and is an adjunct instructor in Communications and New Media, Southern Maine Community College, South Portland, ME.

Monday’s film is his interpretation of the impression that Maine's solitude made on the famous American thinker and philosopher. Coleman will be in attendance for a questions and answers following the screening.

For more information about the Cultural Affairs Council series, contact Michael Connolly at or 207-893-7939. To see the film trailer:

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