A Green Beginning:
The seed for Between the Creag and the Sky was planted over 10 years ago in a Green Theatre Class at Missouri State University. A performance student named Jessica Morgan, when given the assignment to write a character-driven one act play with ecological undercurrents, wrote a work titled The Space Between the Sand and the Sea. In the play, a father takes his adolescent daughter to a coastal overlook to spot whales, only to be confronted by the discovery that ecological changes may have forever denied her the opportunity.
In 2019, "Sea" was adapted into the short screenplay, Between the Creag and the Sky. The adaptation retains vital environmental themes by capturing a liminal moment between a father (Ed Swidey) and his estranged daughter (Kathryn Harter) whom he has led into the wilderness as an attempt to re-build a connection. The cliff-side environment around them is ever-present as a third character, as the father and daughter struggle desperately to re-connect.
In 2020, with the support of Missouri State University and independent producers, a team of 20 committed to bring the story to cinematic life. Creag was shot over a compact two-day period in the wilderness of Northern Arkansas, perched on the edge of a creag (mountain cliff) in the midst of an ice storm. Bringing the emotionally delicate script to life required a diverse team of practitioners including film professionals and faculty from MSU, as well as university students. Armed with ropes, harnesses, a multi-cam set-up, and a cast of two, the team made quick but articulated work. What had begun more than a decade earlier in a dusty theatre found new life in the sweeping wilderness of the Ozark mountains, and ultimately, in the imaginations of cinema viewers.
A Green Goal:
Creag wasn’t developed to bring notice to the team players involved, nor to be a stepping-stone for careers toward larger budget projects. A true passion project, it’s driven by the goals of sustaining the natural world around us and demonstrating that cinematic art is a vital tool in shaping our socio-ecological outlook. As part of its aim, audiences don’t watch Creag and immediately think “this is an eco-film.” It presents its themes more subtly, notably by exploring a moment of crisis in a parent-child relationship and providing the possibility for a positive narrative outcome in relation to the natural beauty surrounding them.
Screenplay and Direction by
Kurt Gerard Heinlein
Jessica Morgan's The Space Between the Sand and the Sea
with support from Missouri State University College of Arts and Letters
and Missouri State University Department of Theatre & Dance
Director of Photography
Richard and Lucie Amberg
Script Supervisor/Art Dept.
1st Camera Operator
1st Assistant Camera
2nd Camera Operator
Carter E. Williams
Makeup and Wardrobe
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
Cecil the Tree Cutter
Lucie and Rich Amberg
Edward and Robin Brown
Michele and Tim Campbell
Filmed at the McElroy Game Management Area
Madison County, Arkansas