Bellows Falls Opera House recently had the honor of hosting a preview showing for the soon-to-be released and much-anticipated documentary film National Parks: America's Best Idea, created by Ken Burns and the folks at Florentine Films, which just so happens to be nestled locally in downtown Walpole, NH.
Renowned for their work on such documentaries as Baseball and The Civil War, Florentine Films is now recognized as arguably the most influential documentary film company in the history of the medium.
A veteran filmmaker of more than 30 years, Burns and the Florentine family have created some of the most memorable documentary films ever, including the Academy Award-nominated Brooklyn Bridge, the Primetime Emmy Award-winning The War and Jazz.
One of these Florentine Film family member just so happens to be local film editor Craig Mellish, a North Walpole, NH resident and Fall Mountain Regional High School graduate who has worked at Florentine since 1996 and played a part in the aforementioned National Parks series. Mellish has had an interest in film from an early age. So how exactly did his affiliation with Florentine come about?
"At the time, I was in the film program at Keene State College and our supervising editor, Paul Barnes, was teaching an editing class," Mellish stated in a recent interview. "Before the first class the head of the film department asked if I wanted to be his teacher's assistant.
"Later in the semester Paul called and asked if I could help out at Florentine over the weekend as they were in a bit of a crunch getting the Thomas Jefferson film ready for a big screening. So I helped out that weekend, got an offer to be an intern a few days later and have been here ever since."
Other Florentine projects Mellish has worked on over the years include Lewis & Clark: The Journey Of The Corps Of Discovery and the aforementioned Jazz.