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Made Here Film Festival celebrates movies from New England and Québec

A blond girl with mud on her hands stands in front of a blue sky and muddy field.
Vermont International Film Festival, Courtesy
A still from "The Noise of Engines" ("Le Bruit des Moteurs"), is one of the winners of the film festival's Penny Cluse Award for Best Fiction.

The Made Here Film Festival celebrates films made by filmmakers from Northern New England and Québec. For the first time, Vermont PBS and the Vermont International Film Festival (VTIFF) will present the screenings in person, along with talks by many of the filmmakers. VTIFF's executive director, Orly Yadin, joined Vermont Edition to discuss some of films involved in this year's festival and how to watch them in person or online.

Here are some highlights from their conversation, edited and condensed for clarity:

Orly Yadin: It's a regional film festival. It's not just Vermont. It's the whole of northern England and our neighbors to the north, Québec.

Mikaela Lefrak: The festival groups the films into different categories. What kinds of themes or concepts have arisen this year?

Yadin: We have one program that we've called "Who Are We?" There's one [film in the category] about a trans person who is actually going through transition and asking questions. There's another about a young man who is grappling with his dual culturalism. And there's another film about the filmmaker's grandparents who were Japanese in the U.S. during World War II.

Another example of a grouping is a program we have called "The Sounds of Music." And needless to say, all three films somehow relate to music. But again, they are so very different. One is a short animated film about a raccoon. Another is about a young man who wants to be a TikTok sensation. And the third in the program is a film called Night Music, which portrays the Lomax family as they traveled through the American South, recording unheard folk songs. Music is the theme that ties all three [short films] together, but they are so different.

Lefrak: You just mentioned the film Night Music. What else can you tell us about this film?

Yadin: It's a film made by Lukas Huffman. It tells us the story of the Lomax family recording and then archiving music sung by Black people in the South, which was very important for historical reasons. It also exposes the inherent racism that existed at that time.

Two men in 1930s-style striped prison shirts sing in front of a microphone.
Vermont International Film Festival, Courtesy
A still from the film "Night Music," about John and Alan Lomax's travels through the American South to record unheard folk songs in 1933.

Lefrak: There's another film in the festival that's not quite a short and not quite a feature-length film, The Green Knight.

Yadin: The Green Knight is basically the story of the Arthurian legend, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. It's shot in an almost classic Hollywood style. It's a Vermont film made by Vermont filmmakers. It took them 10 years to make this film. It's very, very ambitious. They shot it during the pandemic, mostly around Shelburne Farms and the surrounding area.

Lefrak: What is the festival's schedule? Where can people see all of these great films?

Yadin: The festival is going to be in hybrid format, which means that from Friday through Sunday, April 22 through 24, it's going to be in person [at the Burlington Beer Company]. Once the in-person festival is over, we will be running all the films virtually on our virtual cinema platform for a whole week.

Broadcast on Thursday, April 21, 2022, at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or get in touch with Mikaela Lefrak on Twitter @MikaelaLefrak.

Mikaela Lefrak is the host and senior producer of Vermont Edition. Her stories have aired nationally on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, Marketplace, The World and Here & Now. A seasoned local reporter, Mikaela has won two regional Edward R. Murrow awards and a Public Media Journalists Association award for her work.
Matt Smith worked for Vermont Public from 2017 to 2023 as managing editor and senior producer of Vermont Edition.