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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Director From Barnard, Vt. Wins 'Best Director' At Italian Film Festival

still image of man sitting on a stump at a campfire.
Josh Melrod, Courtesy
Still from Major Arcana, written and directed by Josh Melrod.

In early July, Barnard resident Josh Melrod won the "Best Director" title at the Ischia Film Festival in Italy.

Melrod wrote and directed the film, titled Major Arcana.

The film stars an actual carpenter, who also plays a carpenter in the film: Barnard resident and first-time actor, Ujon Tokarski.

"I met him when I was writing the script," said Melrod, "he was actually doing some carpentry on my house."

Melrod said part of the film's narrative includes Tokarski's character building a cabin. During filming, Melrod said, Tokarski built an actual cabin on the property of Fable Farm in Barnard. Today, the cabin houses seasonal farmworkers.

Melrod wasn't able to receive the award in person, but he said Tokarski and co-star Collen Doyle of Bridgewater, Vt., were able to accept the award on his behalf.

Even from afar, Melrod said, "It just felt so good to receive that kind of recognition. I know some of the films that have won there in the past are really great and have done well."

Major Arcana will play at the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival August 22.

Emily Corwin reported investigative stories for VPR until August 2020. In 2019, Emily was part of a two-newsroom team which revealed that patterns of inadequate care at Vermont's eldercare facilities had led to indignities, injuries, and deaths. The consequent series, "Worse for Care," won a national Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting, and placed second for a 2019 IRE Award. Her work editing VPR's podcast JOLTED, about an averted school shooting, and reporting NHPR's podcast Supervision, about one man's transition home from prison, made her a finalist for a Livingston Award in 2019 and 2020. Emily was also a regular reporter and producer on Brave Little State, helping the podcast earn a National Edward R. Murrow Award for its work in 2020. When she's not working, she enjoys cross country skiing and biking.
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