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An evocative short film, winner of the Best of Fest Award, Best Fiction Film Award, Gold Medal, and the Accoldae Award.

Premiering nationwide on public television in January 2011! For more information, and where it is airing in your part of the country, click here.


Sometimes you're so busy in the past you stop paying attention to the present

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Around the Fire Trailer

Around the Fire, winner of the best of the Festival Award at the Giffoni Film Festival, is the deeply resonant story of a boy named Simon (Devon Sawa), who despite being raised in an upper-class Manhattan household with all its privileges--and restrictions--is haunted by the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of his mother. In Simon's eyes, his high-powered businessman father Matt (Bill Smitrovitch) wasted no time in remarrying his stepmother Lauren (Lisa Burgett), a woman with a perfect facade whom he suspects of having an affair with Matt long before his mother's demise. When Simon is sent away to boarding school in preparation to attend Princeton, he meets Andrew (Eric Mabius), who introduces him to marijuana and LSD, and immerses him into a whole new world populated by dreamers, artists, utopians, flower children and partiers who spend the better part of their lives "on tour" at musical festivals. Simon is deeply moved by the beauty and freedom of these people, and feels they are the family he has always sought. At his very first concert Simon meets Jennifer (Tar Reid), a beautiful young hippie to whom he is immediately attracted, Trace (Colman Domingo), a hipster on the road less traveled who immediately bonds with him, and Kevin (Henri Lubatti), a champion of the "seize the day" ethic who is dying of AIDS. As Simon delves deeper into this new-found free-spirited lifestyle, he must face an inevitable conflict not only with the life his father has planned for him, but also with the self-destructive emotional turmoil deep within. Struggling to come to terms with these conflicts, Simon makes a series of bad decisions which land him in a strict drug rehab program run by a street-smart, yet caring woman named Kate (Charlayne Woodard). It is here that Simon is made to take a look at himself in an honest light and to learn that until he finds out what is right for him, his chances for happiness will be fleeting at best. Around the Fire features an original score by B.C. Smith, performed by jazz guitarist Bill Frisell; songs by The Grateful Dead, The Meters, Phish, and Bob Marley and the Wailers also appear on the soundtrack.

Directed by:
John Jacobsen
Written by:
John Comeford and Tommy Rosen
Tara Reid, Devon Sawa, Bill Smitrovich, Stephen Tobolowsky, Eric Mabius, Charlayne Woodard, Colman Domingo, Lisa Burgett, Henri Lubatti

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This is the freshman effort for director John Jacobsen. He has potential that should be very interesting to see how he develops. His camera use is nice, relating the story with interest and able to keep you watching. This is difficult with all the flashbacks, time shifts and memory shots the story requires. Jacobsen did an excellent job of selecting music for the soundtrack, it contains the Grateful Dead, Bob Marley and many other of my personal favorites. The sound was incredible! The soundtrack not only presents some of the best musicians but the 5.1 sound literally encircles the room. If you are looking for a good little film this one will be worth it. – Home Theatre Review

A stylishly produced independent production, this is a coming of age film, combining the turmoil of the ‘60s rebellion with temptations and pressures of today. Dark subject matter ultimately gives way to hope in reconciliation. A nicely done classic rock soundtrack adds to the overall tone of the film. – Brian Gross, Apollo Movie Guide This colorful, good-hearted indie film benefits from groovy music, an authentic recreation of the culture, and fine performances, particularly from Domingo, Smitrovitch, and Woodard. Most interesting of all is the film's non-judgmental frankness about both the spiritually liberating and self-destructive aspects of psychedelic drug use. John Jacobsen did a good job directing this movie from a script by producers (and former Deadheads) John Comerford and Tommy Rosen. - Celebrity

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Scripts available for consideration:
The House of Arden by John Jacobsen

“For many readers - H.G. Wells and Laurence Houseman, G.K. Chesterton and Noel Coward - for these and thousands more, the most magical stories of modern times are those by that Edwardian wizard E. Nesbit…To come upon any Nesbit today, hitherto unread,…is like receiving a letter from a friend whom you have believed dead….It doesn't really matter what her children do, they are real children, quite self-sufficient, almost always very funny and rarely insufferable. 'The reason why those children are like real children,' explained Miss Nesbit, 'is that I was a child once myself, and by some fortunate magic I remember exactly how I used to feel and think about things.' And she could have gone on to say, 'The reason why I write some of the best magic books in which anything, even miracles, can happen and everyone believes in them, is because I know that anything, even miracles, can and do happen all the time.'”—Leo Lerman, The New York Times

The famous Arden family treasure has been missing for generations, and the last members of the Arden line, Edred, Elfrida, and their Aunt Edith, have nothing to their names but the crumbling castle they live in. Just before his tenth birthday, Edred inherits the title of Lord Arden; he also learns that the missing fortune will be his if—and only if—he can find it before the turns ten. With no time to lose, Edred and Elfrida secure the help of a magical talking creature, the temperamental Mouldiwarp, who leads them on a treasure hunt back in time. Together, brother and sister visit some of the most thrilling periods of history and test their wits against real witches, highwaymen, and renegades. They find plenty of adventure, but will they find the real treasure before Edred’s birthday?