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Vermont Public releases two original short films by local filmmakers as part of Made Here Fund

A collage of the Made Here Fund recipients

Vermont Public has released two original short films by local content creators as part of its Made Here Fund, which aims to broaden and diversify Vermont storytelling:

“Love of the Land”

The animated film "Love of the Land," from Vermont filmmaker Travis Van Alstyne, tells the story of Ascutney farmer Romaine Tenney, whose farm was seized by eminent domain in 1964 in order to build Interstate 91. Tragically, Tenney burned down his farm and home with himself locked inside. The film focuses on Tenney’s connection to his land, his sense of place, what progress means, and suicide prevention. This year marks the 60th anniversary of his passing.

“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,” said Van Alstyne.

“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.

"Love of the Land" is available now at, on PBS platforms and on YouTube. The film will screen statewide this summer, accompanied by a presentation on the historical aspects of the film and a behind-the-scenes look.

“I Have Something To Get Off My Chest”

The new fiction/experimental short film "I Have Something To Get Off My Chest," from Vermont filmmaker Cedar O'Dowd, centers transgender life, featuring a trans man recovering from gender affirming surgery.

“I made this film to try to communicate an emotional reality I was having trouble finding words to express,” O’Dowd said. “Besides being a pun about top surgery, the title "I Have Something To Get Off My Chest" is very much a reference to that.”

The film blends live action scenes with experimental cyanotype animations and an original music score.“In college, I felt like I lost my voice because I was always trying to meet the standards of short filmmaking that would get me a good grade,” O’Dowd said. “After school, I wanted to make something that didn't ask permission. We shot the live action stuff over one day in August 2022 with a six-person crew — a sound guy, a boom op, a cinematographer, two actors and me.”

“I Have Something To Get Off My Chest” is available at, on PBS platforms and on YouTube.

About the Made Here Fund

Vermont Public launched the Made Here Fund in 2022 to broaden and diversify Vermont storytelling. Makers from across the state were invited to apply for special funding to produce pieces such as short documentary and animated films, digital shorts and audio series.

Ten projects by content creators representing six Vermont counties were awarded a total of $100,000 to produce projects including short documentary and animated films, digital shorts and audio series.

Previously released projects include The Balloonist, a documentary film from Malcolm Quinn Silver-Van Meter and Yueyao Wang about the life and legacy of Brian Boland, folk artist and hot air balloonist from Thetford, Vermont.

The remaining projects will be released over the next year.

Michelle leads the team that oversees station branding, marketing, events, communications, and audience services. She joined VPR in 2002.
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