This review is by Emily Curtis-Sinkevich, and is copied with permission from her blog, movtie.blogspot.com. It was originally published July 23, 2019.
Most films made about Vermont often try to portray the Green Mountain State as a place known for its snow and nothing but forest for miles with fictional towns like Pine Tree, Vermont, or Spurbury (as if we didn’t have enough places that ended in “bury” already) and often don’t capture much of the real Vermont. Now, thanks to a independent group of filmmakers, that trend has finally been broken.
Roger Witherspoon (Roger Strauss) a once-famous playwright known for his play “Dickhead” has not had much success since then and now teaches drama to children. He is in no hurry to jump into another project when he gets a call from a former student, Tyler (Tyler Gillen), about joining a group of aspiring filmmakers, but when he hears his old flame Melanie Shepard, now Melanie Flanagan (Noni Stuart) suggested him, he decides to give the opportunity to win the Golden Gizzard in Chickenparts, Oklahoma (yes, that’s right) a chance.
Yet Roger soon finds that this colorful and somewhat eccentric crew is an act all its own with Jacques Roland (Jim Hogue), a DMV employee who insists on dressing up as Vermont’s Revolutionary hero Ethan Allen as his work attire, Jaimini (Lonnie Poland) the positive peace keeper of the group with her yoga teachings and keeping any negative energy out, Percy (Jeffery T. Parry) the young eager camera man who takes a camera wherever he goes, not wanting to miss a moment, and Melanie’s husband, Professor Jack Flanagan (Mark Williams), a drama teacher at Johnson State who voices his opinion loudly and often is in the company of college coeds who stroke his ego. With a limited budget, ten months to shoot, edit and print, and only a theme of birds to work with, the crew sets out to make a film that will bring them fame, but will find it all coming to a head where it will make or break the group and determine what will come out in the final cut.
With Independent films, it can be an artistic risk. You have creative minds wanting to capture their vision that is often a bold, unique statement yet not always well received by its audience. Then you find those that capture the realism of life, its people and their pursuits at leaving their mark in this life, which is from what I’ve found being a native Vermonter, what many of us here strive for. While many of us won’t win a Golden Gizzard or even a Golden Globe, this film lives up to its name, featuring its real people and real places that make this state what it is, quirks and all, while delivering subtle, yet witty humor that will have you chuckling until the end. There is no doubt in my mind that this film deserves four out of five Green Mountain Stars (G.M.Stars) for this one-of-a-kind film that could only be Made In Vermont.