Community Film Picks: ‘Wild River’ and ‘Beneath Pepacton Waters’
Fri, Jul 28, 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm


Bushel is pleased to present this screening of Wild River and Beneath Pepacton Waters as our July Community Film Pick, in conjunction with our current exhibition, Waiting In the Deep. Doors open at 6:45 pm; screening begins at 7 pm. This program is free to attend. There is seating for 30; attendance is mask optional. Many thanks to Jennifer Kabat for selecting this evening’s films.

Kazan’s Wild River (Elia Kazan, 1960)—part melodrama, part land-rights film looks at property seizures to build the TVA dam—is also an unvarnished picture of racism in the South, including a nod to James Baldwin, Kazan’s friend, whose writing on race partly inspired the director to make this work. The film is based on two books: Borden Deal’s Dunbar’s Cove and William Bradford Huie’s Mud on the StarsWild River stars Montgomery Clift and Barbara Loden, who later married Kazan and whose marriage and life is described beautifully in Nathalie Léger’s book Suite for Barbara Loden, which Bushel will have available for purchase at the screening (in Natasha Lehrer and Cécile Menon’s English translation).

Beneath Pepacton Waters was shot between 1950 and 1954 by George Hoag and edited by his daughter Alice Jacobson, with Bob Jacobsen, in 1995. This rarely shown film, constructed from Hoag’s films and news footage and narrated by Alice, recounts stories of both ‘progress’ and loss as it captures the lives of people in Shavertown and the surrounding area just before the dam comes in. The result is bucolic, melancholic, and aching.

About the selection of these two films, Jennifer Kabat writes: “In a place defined by water, these two movies (one shot and made locally) look at how reservoirs—brought with great dreams of progress and change—define and divide their places. In water, we here are inextricably tied to other places, such as the Mohawk reservation of Akwesasne, where lands were seized for NYPA hydro-projects that provide affordable power to large parts of Delaware County. These two films reveal the emotions and politics behind the losses here and in the Tennessee Valley. Both films ask whose lives are sacrificed for progress.”

Jennifer Kabat’s twinned books The 8th Moon and Nightshining will be published by Milkweed Editions in 2024 and 2025. The diptych is tied to histories in Delaware County, the 1840s Anti-Rent War, and the 1950 Rainmaker’s Flood. Awarded a Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for her criticism, she has written for Frieze, Granta, BOMB, Harper’s, The Believer, and McSweeney’s and been included in Best American Essays. She lives in Margaretville, serves in her local fire department, and teaches in the Design Research MA program at SVA.


Community Film Picks is a once-a-month film night at Bushel taking place on third Fridays at 7 pm. Bushel invites the community to propose films for future screenings. For information please send us an email.

image: film still from Wild River