Hollywood Goes KenyonGAMBIER, Ohio (June 3, 2011)
Kenyon might be branded Hollywood, Ohio, this summer with portions of two independent feature films being shot on campus. The casts and crews are among 5,027 guests from more than sixty groups spending 21,347 overnights from late May through early August.
"The presence of the film crews is what really sets this summer rental season apart," said Fred Linger, manager of Business Services.
Shooting has begun at the College and will continue through at least the end of June for Liberal Arts, starring its writer and director, Josh Radnor '96. The movie follows his 2010 feature film debut, Happythankyoumoreplease. The Liberal Arts cast includes Allison Janney '82, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, and Elizabeth Reaser. Another film crew is scheduled to spend about a week on location on campus at the end of July.
"We are doing everything we can to make these films successful," Linger said. "These crews need space, security and control over things like noise, sight lines and lighting. For us, it means rearranging a lot of our priorities and being flexible enough to accommodate weather and other variables. It takes a village to make a movie, but these films promise the long-term benefit of exposure for our campus."
The film crews are part of a roster of other visitors who will write, coach, play, study, pray, cheer, sing, swim, and bike. The size of the gatherings ranges from 600 for a church meeting to two for a calculus class.
Free public performances highlight the June calendar, including a concert by the Ohio State University Alumni Band on June 11 at McBride Field. "The band only does a few of these concerts a year and it wanted to do one in Knox County," Linger said. "We're expecting a big crowd." The Barbershoppers—dozens of harmonizing quartets—close their week on campus with a concert on June 18 in Rosse Hall. The eagerly-anticipated annual appearance by the Theatrical Mime Theatre will climax its three-week youth seminar with a production on June 23 in Bolton Theater.
Most of the large groups arrive in July, including 600 Unitarians, 500 Latter-Day Saints, and 400 Rainbow Girls. Among other large groups, nearly 200 high school students will attend two sessions of The Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop and about 350 novice and highly-trained swimmers ages 10-18 will focus on training and stroke technique in a Total Performance camp organized by Kenyon Lords swimming coach Jim Steen. "Even though most of the students are gone, Kenyon remains a lively place in the summer and all the rentals—including weddings and banquets—are a nice piece of business for the general fund," Linger said.