HARTFORD, Conn. – CPTV will broadcast the premiere of Grove Street Cemetery: City of the Dead, City of the Living, a new 30-minute film featuring a fascinating New Haven cemetery, on Sunday, December 28 at 6 p.m. Grove Street Cemetery will air as part of CPTV’s “Local Lens,”a weekly series featuring new productions by Connecticut producers, directors and media professionals who explore interesting topics from across the state. The program will repeat on Monday, December 29 at 11 p.m.
A National Historic Landmark in the heart of New Haven, the Grove Street Cemetery opened in 1797 and was one of the first planned cemeteries in the United States. Inventor Eli Whitney and lexicographer Noah Webster are among the historically significant people buried there. The 18-acre cemetery, with its iconic Egyptian-influenced front gateway and walls designed by Henry Austin, is the burial site of numerous other notable people whose contributions to society still reverberate today. The cemetery’s wide variety of funerary art and extensive landscaping makes it visually interesting in all seasons.
Five-time Emmy Award-winner Karyl K. Evans, a resident of North Haven who is the owner and principal of Karyl Evans Productions LLC, wrote, produced, directed and edited the 30-minute film. “Evans was commissioned to make the film by the Board of the Friends of the Grove Street Cemetery, Inc., a corporation elected by the Standing Committee of the Proprietors of the Grove Street Cemetery, which is based in New Haven.”
Evans filmed her production over the course of a full year, in order to capture the cemetery’s beauty in all four seasons. The opening sequence was shot from high above the 18-acre cemetery nestled in the middle of downtown New Haven. It shows the changing view of the cemetery from summer to fall, from winter to spring—creatively melding all four seasons into one breathtaking image.
Grove Street Cemetery follows a group of elementary school children from New Haven’s Wexler-Grant School on a journey into the past. They begin on the New Haven Green, where the cemetery used to be located; then go under Center Church, where part of the cemetery is still preserved; and then head into the famed Grove Street Cemetery itself. Along with the students, viewers discover how the cemetery was originally created and designed back in the late 18th century. They find out about the founding fathers and mothers buried there, Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers, Yale scientists, and the people connected to the Amistad story. The film also describes the funerary art, the type of stone that was used, who the stonecutters were, and the landscape design of the cemetery.
Evans also captures a number of present-day community activities that take place inside the historic walls of the cemetery, including reunions, a Fourth of July commemoration and tours of all kinds. As Evans clearly illustrates in her video footage, this is not only a city of the dead, but a city of the living, with the daily presence of visitors from all over the world.
On Sunday, December 28 at 6:30 p.m., following the broadcast of Grove Street Cemetery: City of the Dead, City of the Living, another film with a New Haven connection will air on CPTV. Creating the Peabody’s Torosaurus: Dinosaur Science, Dinosaur Art, a 2007 Emmy® Award-winning film by Evans and filmmaker Ann Johnson Prum, goes behind the scenes to document the challenges entailed in creating the Yale Peabody Museum’s cast bronze “Torosaurus.” The sculpture, which took 40 artisans a period of 36 months to create, was dedicated in 2005. The 30-minute documentary shares the latest scientific knowledge about the Torosaurus, a horned, herbivorous dinosaur that lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period about 66 million years ago.
CPTV’s “Local Lens” series is made possible with the support of the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.
CPTV is a media service of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN.) It is a locally and nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including UConn Women’s Basketball, original documentaries, and educational programming. The Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network also includes WNPR, an affiliate of National Public Radio, Public Radio International and American Public Media. WNPR serves more than 200,000 listeners in Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island with news and information. Overall, the network brings a broad spectrum of public affairs, entertainment, sports, and educational programming to our viewers, listeners, and readers. For more information, visit www.cptv.org and/or www.wnpr.org.
For information about Grove Street Cemetery’s hours and tours, visit the cemetery’s website at grovestreetcemetery.org.