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Poster for BAAM at The Gem Presents Underdog and Q&A with Filmmaker Tommy Hyde
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BAAM at The Gem Presents Underdog and Q&A with Filmmaker Tommy Hyde

Opens on March 5

Midnight weekend screenings happen on Friday & Saturday nights (meaning arrive on Friday and/or Saturday night by 11:45pm for seating, the movie starts after midnight)!

Run Time: 82 min. Rating: PG Release Year: 2023

Tuesday, March 5th

Doors @ 5pm, Film @ 6pm followed by a Q&A with filmmaker, Tommy Hyde.

Doug Butler is a hardscrabble Vermont dairy farmer with an offbeat passion—dog mushing.

A local folk hero, Doug trains his team of mutts on the family farm with a dream to compete at the world dog mushing championships in Alaska. But the demands of being a small-scale family farmer in a changing world are constant. Keenly aware of the fate of the other family farms that used to dot the landscape, Doug has managed for years to play one creditor off against the next to survive another season. But with the debt now insurmountable and Doug’s thoughts plunging into depression, his dogs offer solace…and perhaps a way out.

On a cold March morning Doug pulls out of his driveway in a rusted-out truck carrying 22 dogs, bound for Alaska. The journey will prepare him for what he’ll confront when he gets back: the sale of his farm and a race to craft a new destiny.

Film Director Tommy Hyde’s Bio: Tommy Hyde is a documentary filmmaker whose work explores people and stories at the fringes of society. Underdog, a film ten years in the making, is his directorial debut. He frequently collaborates with Mosaic Films, and is currently in production on two docu-series with them as a producer and writer. He is a graduate of Middlebury College and resides in Burlington, VT.

Film Director’s Statement:

I had never made a film or held a camera until I met Doug. As an architecture student at a picturesque New England College, it was easy to feel like I was living in the glossy pages of a state tourist brochure. I rode my bike down country roads, and liked to pass the last dairy farm in town to take in the view of its black and white Holsteins dotting pastures overlooking the Adirondacks.

But that angle framed out the reality just across the road—where broken down agricultural equipment littered the property,
barns sagged precariously, and a gregarious, sixty something year-old farmer was happy to engage any and all who passed.

One Fall evening Doug introduced me to his cows and his dogs and his dreams. I was immediately fascinated by the man, but
I wasn’t sure why. So over the course of the next few years I’d drop by the farm, sometimes missing class. Before long I was
bringing a camera.

I think I saw a lot of myself in Doug. I’m a dreamer and an extrovert, and in Doug I saw a potential future—one where my hopes
and plans didn’t pan out. I wanted to know if that was okay, and how to harvest happiness from the nooks and crannies of life.

Over the course of the next nine years a unique relationship developed. At times I’d blur into the background, in others I would
drop the camera to pitch in on the farm. Along the way, Doug would confide in me things he hadn’t shared to anyone but his
dogs. And I, rather slowly, learned how to record some of it.

I hope as you sit shotgun in Doug’s rusty old truck through the peaks and valleys of his life, you will glean some bits of what Doug
shared with me—wisdom that can only come from dreaming big and coming up short.

To find out more about the film and filmmakers, please visit their website: HERE

“Tommy Hyde’s heartwarming documentary traces the life of an aging Vermont dairy farmer. Hyde’s subtlety as a filmmaker, along with the fabulous, eccentric central figure, bring to mind David Lynch’s The Straight Story. Both films are remarkable for how seemingly unremarkable they are. Stick with it, and the film’s subliminal power will sneak up on you.”Alex Saveliev, Film Threat.

Tickets are Pay What You Can and support future BAAM at The Gem Programming.


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