Short Takes on Film: 'The Den'; "Makin' Friends With Ryan Miller" | Arts News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Short Takes on Film: 'The Den'; "Makin' Friends With Ryan Miller"


Published April 30, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

Native Vermonter Zachary Donohue is getting buzz among fright fans for his new horror flick The Den, released theatrically by IFC Midnight in March and currently available on video on demand. "A Rear Window for the Internet generation, The Den is a horror film that manages to find a clever new way to employ the increasingly tired found-footage format," wrote Frank Scheck in the Hollywood Reporter. Using the sole medium of webcam footage, the movie tells the story of a researcher who witnesses a brutal murder on a chat site and soon finds her own life in danger.

Now based in LA, Donohue spent his early years in Addison County. The graduate of New York University's film school isn't the only filmmaker in his family. His dad, Dave Donohue of South Burlington, has been making shorts under the rubric of Ra Films for decades, in some of which a young Zachary appeared. Dave also publishes Vermont and Adirondack authors through Ra Press. The elder Donohue writes by email that seeing his son's flick premiere at New York's IFC Center was "one of those bucket list weekends."

You can currently catch The Den on iTunes, Amazon Instant and other VOD outlets.

Vermont is a great place to live, sure, but where are all the "high-functioning weirdos"? That's the question that Ryan Miller, lead singer of Guster and a recent transplant to the Green Mountains, asks in Vermont Public Television's new — and first — web series. "Makin' Friends With Ryan Miller," produced by VPT digital media director Hilary Hess, will follow Miller as he finds kindred spirits in locals such as giant-robot builder Jaimie Mantzel.

"I'm after big personalities that are doers," Miller says in the show's trailer. Catch his close encounters with unusual Vermonters when the first episode premieres on May 1 on YouTube and

It's hard to get more local than the new feature drama Bridges, filmed in such Franklin County locations as Fairfield, East Fairfield, Bakersfield and Fairfax by codirectors Harry Goldhagen (who also scripted, produced, edited and shot) and Jayson Argento. Plotwise, though, the film addresses a national problem: the need for affordable health care. Michael Manion plays a doctor seeking peace and retirement in a small Vermont town after his wife's death. When the town pastor requests his expert help for a child with a terminal illness, he finds himself drawn back to the caring profession he tried to abandon.

Bridges features cameos from local farms, from Williston's Urban Dance Complex and from funnyman Tim Kavanagh (host of "Late Night Saturday"), who appears as a TV reporter. New Hampshire folk musician Bill Staines provided the title song. You can see the film this week in Fairfield, and on May 15 at Burlington's Merrill's Roxy Cinemas.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Short Takes on Film"