Finding his Muse in Northern Michigan
"Of the place where he had been a boy he had written well enough."
- The Snows of Kilimanjaro
In 1972, English Professor Philip Young of Pennsylvania State University helped us to understand the importance of the activities and sequence of events that made up Ernest Hemingway's summers in Michigan as a boy and young man. This documentary and education project builds on Professor Young's insights and sets out to deliver a sense of place where the author Ernest Hemingway remembered his youthful experiences by recreating himself as "Nick Adams."
The "Young Hemingway" project was launched to coincide with the 2012 biennial conference of the International Hemingway Society (www.HemingwaySociety.org), meeting for the first time in Petoskey/Bay View. The conference sessions held in the historic summer community of Bay View (www.bayviewassociation.org) focused on young Hemingway's early observations and writings - as does the documentary.
The documentary and its media education components are being presented by Contemporary Learning Systems (CLS), an East Lansing-based non-profit company. Its production partner, Starbright Media Corporation (SMC), based in Petoskey, Michigan, is contributing all overhead costs to the project. George Colburn, a historian and SMC's executive producer, will direct the production of "Young Hemingway." See www.StarbrightMediaCorp.com.
Thanks to the generosity of Ernest H. Mainland, nephew of Ernest Hemingway, and heir to "Windemere," the family cottage on Walloon Lake built for the Hemingway family in 1899, will provide the documentary with an authentic setting for taping interviews and location scenes, Colburn noted.
The "Young Hemingway" project received a generous grant in 2012 from a Harbor Springs resident allowing the project to move forward with interviews of leading Hemingway scholars attending the Hemingway Society conference in Petoskey, MI. The project now has approximately one-half of its production budget in-hand, according to Dr. Colburn, thanks to the generous support from these local businesses, organizations and individuals:
Michigan Humanities Council
Boyne USA Resorts
Petoskey Area Visitors Bureau
Wally Kidd Family Trust
Bay View Association
Mary Jane Doerr Trust
James and Connie Burt
Ruth and Dale Hull
Charlevoix County History Preservation Society
Stafford's Perry Hotel
City Park Grill
First Community Bank
This local support of the Young Hemingway documentary funded videotaping of individuals and locations throughout northwest Michigan, in Oak Park, IL, Washington, D.C. and the Pennsylvania State University. The PSU library houses the Hemingway Letters Project which inspired the documentary story-line. The first volume of Hemingway's letters were published in late 2011 and contains all letters written during his youth, 1907 - 1922. A second volume, published in late 2013, focuses on Hemingway's early years in Paris, 1923 - 1925.
CLS expects that funding will become available for SMC to complete the hour-long documentary by the spring of 2015. It should be on-air in the fall of that year. CLS expects to produce classroom-friendly modules of the program shortly thereafter and make them available to schools, colleges and universities nationwide via the internet.