Young Hemingway emblem

Young Hemingway

The Path to Paris

A new Ernest Hemingway feature documentary

from Starbright Media Corporation

Of the place where he had been a boy he had written well enough.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro

The Creation of "Nick Adams"

In 1972, English Professor Philip Young of Pennsylvania State University helped us to understand the importance of the activities and sequence of events that made up Ernest Hemingway’s summers in Michigan as a boy and young man. This documentary and education project builds on Professor Young’s insights and sets out to deliver a sense of place where the author Ernest Hemingway remembered his youthful experiences by recreating himself as “Nick Adams.”

The “Young Hemingway: The Path to Paris” project was launched to coincide with the 2012 biennial conference of the International Hemingway Society, meeting for the first time in Petoskey/Bay View. The conference sessions held in the historic summer community of Bay View focused on young Hemingway’s early observations and writings – as does the documentary.

The documentary and its media education components are being produced by Contemporary Learning Systems (CLS), a Michigan-based non-profit company. Its production partner, Starbright Media Corporation (SMC), based in Petoskey, Michigan, contributed all overhead costs to the project. George Colburn, a historian and SMC’s executive producer, wrote and directed the production of “Young Hemingway.” See www.GeorgeColburn.com.

Thanks to the generosity of the late Ernest H. Mainland, nephew of Ernest Hemingway, and heir to “Windemere,” the family cottage on Walloon Lake built for the Hemingway family in 1899. As a result, the documentary has a historic setting for many of its important interviews and locations.

The “Young Hemingway: The Path to Paris” project was launched by a generous grant in 2012 from a Harbor Springs resident that allowed the project to move forward with interviews of leading Hemingway scholars attending the 2012 Hemingway Society conference in Petoskey, MI. The project has met its first goal, the production of a feature-length documentary that can be shown to live audiences at location across the country. We thank the many local foundations, organizations, businesses and individuals who have supported the project since 2012. The fund-raising continues so we can cover the cost of the program for a broadcast appearance in 2022, and for many years beyond.

"GREAT!!! I've just finished watching Young Hemingway: The Path to Paris and I found it informative, entertaining and very well produced. Lots of new, at least to me, points of view. And the contemporary scenes are 'blow you away' beautiful. And even my grandson's hand in Walloon Lake did not end up on the cutting room floor. I hope this new editor of your film brings you accolades from the academics as well as financial success after such a long time in production."

– The Late Ernest Hemingway Mainland
Nephew and namesake of Ernest Hemingway

"George, I saw the movie last night and found it very well put together and I enjoyed the content. It is refreshing to spend an hour and forty-five minutes celebrating Hemingway’s young life without all the later baggage, and psychological twaddle. It was also nice to hear what so many friends had to say on camera. And my cameo was well presented. I’m amazed that you managed to get something out of our shoot. I had felt ill prepared. Thank you very much for the film. I hope you have great success with it."

Valerie Danby-Smith Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway's secretary (1959-1960), wife of Gregory Hemingway,
Author of Running with the Bulls: My Years with the Hemingways

"I imagine you'll be fielding all sorts of repeated or new compliments on this streaming day for your Director's Cut of Young Hemingway - The Path to Paris. Here's one repeated from me: the film is gorgeously shot, and it holds up. You should feel proud on every level. That you did it in your mom-and-pop shop "up north" in Michigan...speaks only to the level of pride I hope you feel. From all I can tell you have handled yourself with integrity and professionalism, and isn't that the highest accolade of all, finally? It's our reputation for decency that we are all seeking, whether we quite know it or not. So great, congratulations."

Paul Hendrickson
Best-selling author of Hemingway's Boat,
Professor of English and Creative Writing at University of Pennsylvania

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Funding Provided by

Major Sponsors
  • Paxson “Packy” H. Offield
  • Robert Jensen Dau Trust
  • The Bay Harbor Foundation
  • The Frey Foundation
  • The Perkins Foundation

This support of the Young Hemingway project funded videotaping of individuals and locations throughout northwest corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, the Upper Peninsula, in Oak Park, IL, Washington, D.C. and at the Pennsylvania State University. The PSU library houses the Hemingway Letters Project which inspired the documentary story-line. The first volume of Hemingway’s letters was published in late 2011 and contains all letters written during his youth, 1907 – 1922. A second volume, published in late 2013, focuses on Hemingway’s early years in Paris, 1923 – 1925.

Currently, Project Director George Colburn and Associate Director Dale Hull are seeking funding for a 5-part electronic classroom series and enhancing the documentary so it meets audio and visual standards for broadcast television. Both the educational series and the airing of the documentary could be ready for release in late 2021.

Ernest Hemingway new documentary