Bits & Bytes: ‘A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud’ premiere; substance issues workshop; Simon’s Rock provost at SXSWedu; BCC adult program; Daniel Bellow at BerkshireNow

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By Thursday, Mar 2 Life In the Berkshires
The Boy, played by Jackson Smith, and the Man, played by Jeff DeMunn, in the Karen Allen-directed short film, "A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud," based on the story by Carson McCullers. The film will make its debut at the Manchester Film Festival in England this weekend.

‘A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud’ to premiere at UK film festival

The Boy, played by Jackson Smith, at the counter with the mill workers, played by William Galatis, Terry Holland and Chip Rybak.

The Boy, played by Jackson Smith, at the counter with the mill workers, played by William Galatis, Terry Holland and Chip Rybak.

Manchester, England — Great Barrington-based award-winning actor, theatrical director and writer Karen Allen’s (“Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Animal House,” “Starman,” “The Glass Menagerie,” “The Perfect Storm,” “Year By the Sea”) directorial debut “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.”, based on the Carson McCullers’ short story, will have its world premiere at the Manchester Film Festival on Sunday, March 5. Allen will also be a featured speaker on the Women in Independent Cinema panel taking place at the festival.

2017 marks the 100th anniversary of McCullers’ birth. Written when she was just 19, “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.” is set at a roadside café in the early morning in spring of 1947 when a young boy and an older man meet by chance. Allen’s film stars veteran actors Jeff DeMunn (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Green Mile,” TV’s “The Walking Dead”) as the Man and James McMenamin (TV’s “Orange is the New Black”) as Leo, the owner of the diner. Making his film debut is Jackson Smith in the role of the Young Boy.

Producers Brian Long and Diane Pearlman, director Karen Allen and production designer Kristi Zea on the 1947 diner set.

Producers Brian Long and Diane Pearlman, director Karen Allen and production designer Kristi Zea on the 1947 diner set.

To bring the story to life on film, Allen surrounded herself with many established film professionals. Academy Award nominee Kristi Zea (“The Departed,” “Silence of the Lambs,” “Philadelphia,” “Goodfellas,” “Broadcast News”) was the production designer. Cinematographer Richard Sands has designed lighting and/or shot over 35 films and 47 television movies with directors such as Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola and is also the lighting designer for photographer Gregory Crewdson. Producers on the project are Allen’s East Coast manager Brian Long and independent film and visual effects producer Diane Pearlman. Shooting took place in the Berkshires over six days.

The film is currently being submitted to festivals internationally. It will also be shown at celebrations of McCullers’ life and writing under the auspices of Columbus State University’s Carson McCullers Center in Columbus, Georgia, and in the newly acquired McCullers Center in Nyack, New York. Screenings will also be held in New York City and Rome, Italy, with educational and literary institutions.

–E.E.

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CMC:Berkshires, RSYP to offer workshop on substance issues

New Marlborough — The Center for Motivation and Change’s Training Institute will team up with Railroad Street Youth Project for a daylong training session on Saturday, April 8, that is geared toward parents of young people who are currently struggling with substance issues. The 8-hour “An Invitation to Change: Parent Training for Helping a Child Struggling with Substances” workshop will be held at CMC:Berkshires.

The training, based on the Invitation to Change Approach, is practical and skills-oriented and brings together ideas from several evidence-based therapy approaches. It is based on the idea that parents can take care of themselves and the rest of their family while also learning active strategies to help their struggling children. The workshop will cover four major topics: Helping with Understanding, Helping with Self-Care, Helping with Words, and Helping with Actions.

All parents interested in the training should fill out a parent questionnaire. The cost of the training is $25. For more information, contact Meg Murray, CMC:Training Institute’s administrative director at, at (212) 683-3684 or mmurray@cmctraininginstitute.org.

–E.E.

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Simon’s Rock provost to present at SXSWedu

Ian Bickford. Photo: Dan Karp

Ian Bickford. Photo: Dan Karp

Austin, Texas — Bard College at Simon’s Rock provost Ian Bickford will present at the seventh annual SXSWedu Conference and Festival. He will give a short, focused presentation titled “Mind the Gap: Bridging High School & College” on Tuesday, March 7, at 2:30 p.m. at the JW Marriott, Room 201-202.

The session will explore how Simon’s Rock, as the organizing principle for the nationwide early college movement, has authentically reimagined the path from ninth grade to a bachelor’s degree. Bickford’s talk was selected from among nearly 1,300 proposals entered into this year’s PanelPicker, the community-driven online tool responsible for the conference’s programming.

The four-day conference, held Monday, March 6, through Thursday, March 9, will attract over 10,000 educators, policy makers and industry leaders to connect, collaborate and create innovative ways to improve quality teaching and learning.

–E.E.

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BCC to offer free program for adults

Great Barrington — The Berkshire Community College South County Center will offer a new program for adults aged 24 and older who are interested in attending BCC and who have no or some college experience.

The Adult College Experience program is designed to provide prospective adult students with a roadmap to navigate the college system, complete with tools and resources that will facilitate their seamless transition to higher education. The program will include three sessions to be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. On Thursday, March 23, participants will learn about admissions and financial aid and hear from a panel of current students and alumni. On Thursday, April 6, they will take undergo a skills assessment and meet with an advisor and, on Thursday, April 13, they will register for upcoming classes and learn about college resources.

Participants who attend all three sessions will be entered to win a voucher for a free, three-credit class. An optional fourth session to be held on Thursday, March 30, will offer hands-on help with the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid as well as other specialized student support workshops.

Registration is required by Monday, March 20, and can be completed online. For more information, contact Julie Hannum at (413) 236-5201 or jhannum@berkshirecc.edu.

–E.E.

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BerkshireNow to present potter Daniel Bellow

Ceramic rocket ships by Danial Bellow.

Ceramic rocket ships by Daniel Bellow.

Pittsfield — The Berkshire Museum’s BerkshireNow gallery space will feature hand-thrown porcelain by Berkshire-based potter Daniel Bellow Friday, March 3, through Monday, May 22. An opening reception will be held Friday, March 3, from 5 to 8 p.m. in conjunction with the First Fridays Artswalk.

For this solo exhibition, Bellow has created sculptural forms in porcelain and imagined a detailed scenario about their origin. According to Bellow’s backstory, scale models of rocket ships, supposedly created during the Song Dynasty in China at the command of Emperor Gaozong, have recently been discovered by archaeologists. The sculptural “rocket ships” in the exhibition echo the work of the Song dynasty potters, whose smooth, dense porcelain ware was praised for its simplicity of shape and understated decoration.

After a career as a newspaper reporter, Bellow established Daniel Bellow Pottery in Great Barrington in 2002. Much of his work is porcelain, and each piece is handmade.

For more information, call the Berkshire Museum at (413) 443-7171.

–E.E.


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