Home Press Release Local film on tragic story of Vermont Farmer at The Savoy

Local film on tragic story of Vermont Farmer at The Savoy

The local film “Love of the Land” will screen at The Savoy Theatre in Montpelier on Monday, June 24, 2024 at 6 p.m.. This short animated film is based on the true and tragic story of Vermont farmer Romaine Tenney. It focuses on the last year of his life, in 1964 Vermont. After the eight-minute short film screens, the filmmaker will give a presentation on the historical aspects of the film and a behind-the-scenes look.

Romaine Tenney’s farm was in the construction path of Interstate 91 in the 1960s and his land was seized through eminent domain. The night before he was supposed to be off his land he set his farm animals free, burned his barns, and set his house on fire with himself barricaded inside. This year marks the 60th anniversary of his passing. The film focuses on Tenney’s connection to his land, his sense of place, what progress means, and suicide prevention.

“I think there is a power to this story that taps into what us New Englanders think about what progress is and what are the benefits and downsides of it,” director, writer, and animator Travis Van Alstyne said.

“Love of the Land” is narrated by Waterbury Center filmmaker and farmer George Woodard and uses a rotoscope animation technique, where the animator digitally draws/traces over recorded video frame-by-frame. The four-year project began in 2020 and consists of almost 3,000 digitally hand drawn frames and over 1,000 labor hours of total animation.

The short film is partially funded by Vermont Public’s “Made Here Fund,” a program launched in 2022 to broaden and diversify Vermont storytelling. In addition to the local Montpelier screening, “Love of the Land” will be shown across Vermont.

Travis Van Alstyne owns Travis Animates, a one-man production company based in Burlington, VT. The company has the goal of bringing Vermont stories to life through animation and focuses on partnering with artists with a Vermont connection.

Learn more about the film and the Montpelier showing here.