Champlain: The Lake Between is a unique collaboration that received top honors at the nnual Boston and New England Regional Emmy Awards Ceremony held recently. The event was hosted by ABC-TV's Tom Bergeron.
Independent filmmaker Caro Thompson of Broadwing Productions and Vermont Public Television (VPT) have been working together on broadcast programming since 1994. Her first documentary-and first Emmy nomination-"In Days Gone By: Vermont Country Ways", was broadcast in 2000.
Thompson credits Elsa Gilbertson of Starksboro, who manages three Vermont State Historic Sites in the Lake Champlain region, for her enthusiasm, dedication and initiative.
"In 2003, Elsa had agreed to be on an advisory committee to help me develop a film for this year's Quadricentennial commemoration. Her Chimney Point site has a focus on Abenaki history and is the location of the most significant French community on the lake in the 18th century, so it was a natural connection."
The documentary highlights native and French culture during the era of diplomacy, trade and conflicts that began in 1609 during Samuel de Champlain's only journey to the valley that now bears his name.
In 2006, Gilbertson learned of a highly competitive federal grant through the Institute of Museum and Library Services that fit well. Historic Preservation stepped forward to become the lead applicant for the team. About their support during the making of the film, Thompson said, "It has helped enormously to have access to the deep knowledge base of an official partner organization whose reason for being is to protect and share the history of this extraordinary place called Vermont."
The National Educational Television Association will soon offer the hour-long documentary to 99 public television stations in 43 states. "Champlain: The Lake Between" will be rebroadcast on Vermont's public television stations this summer.