Arts and Culture / Magazine Feature

Film professors get acclaim for ‘Fledgling’


Professor Tony Gault and Lecturer Elizabeth Henry won critical acclaim for their film "Fledgling." The large part of the film's focus, a rescued crow, is seen in the still above.

When Tony Gault met Carbondale, Colo., resident Kevin Harris, he thought Harris would make a great subject for a film. Gault, a DU associate professor of film, was intrigued by Harris’ story of rescuing a baby crow from a storm.

The film centers on Harris, who helps his teenage daughter keep the baby crow alive. Yet Harris is torn because he believes he is interfering with the natural order of things. In the end, the crow that they name Raisin lives and they are able to return the bird back to its parents.

Gault and fellow DU Film Lecturer Elizabeth Henry shot, edited and directed Fledgling. The film was completed in August 2009 and over the past year has received a number of awards and has been screened in more than 30 film festivals worldwide.

Fledgling was named one of the Cambridge Film Festival’s “Best of Fest” films and Rutgers University’s Super 8 Film Festival “Best Short Documentary.” It received  honorable mention at the Los Angeles’ Awareness Film Festival.  

“It’s gratifying when you consider how competitive the film festivals have become in the last 15 years, to see a simple story shot on Super 8mm doing so well,” Gault says.

“We let go of our ideas, paid attention to what was happening around us and let the subjects speak,” Henry says. “In much of our work, Tony and I grapple with the relationship between human culture and the natural environment.”

Slant magazine’s Lauren Wissot wrote: “Directors like Gault and Henry remind us that movies from our own pastoral outposts are much more exotic and foreign than anything that arrives on these shores from big urban centers like Berlin or Sarajevo. Too often we forget that there are talented filmmakers right in our own rural backyard, recording their very own unique way of life.”


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