Woodstock Vermont Film Series Announces Summer Schedule -and Curator Jay Craven

The Billings Farm & Museum is pleased to announce plans for its first-ever Woodstock Vermont Summer Film Series and the appointment of award-winning filmmaker Jay Craven as its Film Series curator and director.

The Summer Film Series will start May 18th and 19th with special screenings of legendary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman’s acclaimed new documentary, EX LIBRIS – The New York Public Library.

EX LIBRIS does more than go behind the scenes of one of the world’s greatest knowledge institutions. It shows its role as a center of community and an exemplar of morality, accessibility, democracy and calm – even as it welcomes diverse people and ideas. The film won top honors at the 2017 Venice International Film Festival and was named to the official shortlist for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Due to the length of this film, showtime is 6:00 p.m. All other films will screen on Saturday nights at 5:00 and 7:00 p.m.

On Saturday, June 30th, the series will screen Peter and the Farm by second-time director Tony Stone. The film provides an intimately detailed portrait of southern Vermont dairyman and organic farmer Peter Dunning, a rugged individualist, hard-drinking loner and former artist who has burned bridges with his wives and children and whose only company, even on harsh winter nights, are the sheep, cows, and pigs he tends on his farm. Dunning is one of the most complicated, sympathetic documentary subjects to come along in some time. Imbued with an aching tenderness, Stone’s documentary is both haunting and heartbreaking, a mosaic of its singular subject’s transitory memories and reflections—however funny, tragic, or angry they may be. The film won a Special Jury Prize at the Philadelphia Film Festival and was selected as a New York Times Critic’s Pick.

Alexandra Dean’s documentary, Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story will screen on Saturday, July 28th. The film tells the story of this iconic Hollywood star who secretly devised groundbreaking WWII technologies that contributed to the later development of cell phones, WIFI, and Bluetooth technology. This riveting film weaves interviews and clips with never-before-heard audiotapes of Hedy speaking on the record about her incredible life. And it follows the actress/inventor’s retreat, during her later years, when she became a recluse, impoverished and almost forgotten. The film was selected as a New York Times “Best Films of the Year – Critic’s Pick” and was named New York Film Critics’ “Best Documentary Feature” for 2017.

On Saturday, August 11th the series will screen Menashe. The film follows a kind but hapless grocery store clerk trying to keep custody of his son Rieven after his wife, Lea, passes away. But they live in a tradition-bound culture that requires a mother to be present in every home, so Rieven is supposed to be adopted by the boy’s strict, married uncle. Menashe’s Rabbi grants him one week to spend with Rieven prior to Lea’s memorial. Their time together creates an emotional moment of father/son bonding and offers Menashe a final chance to prove to his skeptical community that he can be a capable parent. Shot in secret entirely within Brooklyn’s Hasidic community depicted in the film, “Menashe” is a warm, life-affirming look at the universal bonds between father and son that also sheds unusual light on a notoriously private community. Jacob Weinstein’s film won top honors from the National Board of Review and was nominated for the prestigious Gotham Award, the independent film world’s highest honor. It also played as an Official selection at the Sundance Film Festival.

On Saturday, September 22nd, the Summer Film Series will conclude with a screening of Doug Nichol’s entertaining documentary, California Typewriter, a loving and sometimes humorous portrait of artists, writers, and collectors who remain steadfastly loyal to the typewriter as a tool and muse. Among the typewriter devotees profiled: actor Tom Hanks, musician John Mayer, historian David McCullough, and playwright Sam Shepard. The picture also movingly documents the struggles of California Typewriter, one of the last repair shops in America dedicated to keeping the aging machines clicking. In the process, the film delivers a thought-provoking meditation on the changing dynamic between humans and machines. California Typewriter was an Official Selection at the prestigious and carefully curated Telluride Film Festival.

Each film is screened in the museum theater with high definition digital projection and Dolby® surround-sound. Complimentary refreshments are included. Tickets prices: $11 adults (16 & up); $6 children (under 16). BF&M members receive discounted prices.  Purchase tickets online or 802-457-2355.

The Billings Farm and Museum is also pleased to announce the appointment of award-winning filmmaker Jay Craven as its Woodstock Film Series director and curator. Craven has programmed the new summer series and is already planning screenings and events into the next year. He brings with him a wealth of experience as a respected filmmaker, teacher, and producer of hundreds of Vermont film and performing arts events.

Craven is the recipient of Vermont’s celebrated Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. He has made nine feature films, five documentaries, and a New England Emmy-winning comedy series, “Windy Acres,” for public television. He teaches screenwriting and directing at Sarah Lawrence College, after having led the Marlboro College film program for twenty years. Craven directs Kingdom County Productions, with Bess O’Brien, and established St. Johnsbury’s Catamount Arts organization in 1975, initially as a travelling film series. His own films have played at festivals and special screenings including Sundance, Lincoln Center, The Smithsonian, Harvard Film Archives, The Cinémathèque Française, The Constitutional Court of Johannesburg, and the Cinemateca Nacional de Venezuela.

May Story Time Programs

It’s a great time to enroll your kids (or grandkids) in Billings Farm & Museum’s Programs for Preschoolers, taking place Wednesday mornings in May, from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Each Preschool Program will feature a story, visit to the farm, hands-on activity, and snack. The cost is $3.00 per person for Billings Farm & Museum members and $5.00 per person for non-members (includes admission to the Farm & Museum).

Scroll down for our enrollment form and details on each program:

John and Tom.  Wed., May 2.  When John has an accident while cutting logs in the woods, Tom, the Morgan horse uses his strengths to rescue him. Learn about this friendship between a boy and his horse. We’ll visit our own Draft Horses and Working Steers, create a horse project to take home and share a tasty treat with friends.

The Great Pig Escape.  Wed., May 9.  Farmers Bert & Ethel have a long drive to market, and when they arrive, the pigs they planned on selling have mysteriously disappeared. Where have these crafty pigs gone to?  We will visit our pigs, make a pompom craft and enjoy a snack together.

Big Chickens Fly the Coop.  Wed., May 16.  Four big chickens, who are afraid of everything, want to fly the coop and see the world. Where will this adventure take them? Visit our new chicks, make a chicken for your collection and share a snack with your friends.

The Sheep Over.  Wed., May 23.  Sweet Pea the sheep has been sick. To celebrate her recovery, she has a sleepover in the greenhouse with her farm friends. Come hear about the farm friends celebration. We’ll visit our sheep and lambs, create a sheep like Sweet Pea and enjoy a delicious celebration snack!

Miss Maple’s SeedsWed., May 30.  Miss Maple adopts lost seeds that haven’t yet found a place to sprout. She nurtures them and helps them learn about being a seed. We will visit our gardens, plant some seeds and share a veggie treat.

 

To register for Programs for Preschoolers, please call 802/457-2355, week days, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or use the form below. Each program has limited enrollment, and advance registration is required.

 

 

 

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2018 Summer Camp Offerings

Billings Farm & Museum is hosting two week-long summer camps in 2018. Each camp, designed for ages 8 – 12, is offered twice during the summer breakThe sessions are Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Living History Camp
July 9 – 13 and August 6 – 10, 2018

Step back in time to 1890s Vermont! Based on the personal journals of children who grew up in the state’s villages and on hill farms, Billings Farm & Museum’s Living History Camp is a fun way for kids to experience life on a 19th-century farm.

Throughout the week, campers will use historic techniques to help around the farm. They’ll feed and groom animals, saw wood, and make apple pie and jam on the kitchen woodstove. They’ll also go fishing, listen to stories, make ice cream, play games, create craft projects, meet characters from the past, and more. At the end of the week, campers host their families at the farm for a special presentation and celebration of what they learned.

 

New! Junior Farmer Camp 
June 25 – 29 and July 23 – 27

Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a farmer? Billings Farm & Museum’s newest summer day camp, Junior Farmer Camp, is designed to help kids discover for themselves by stepping into a farmer’s shoes for a week.

Junior Farmer Camp is as hands-on as it gets. Campers will have the opportunity to be up close and personal with the farm’s cows, horses, pigs, chickens, and sheep while learning the work that goes into the food that they eat. In addition to daily chores and activities, each day we will explore a different farming topic like dairy, gardening, tractors, and draft animals. On Friday, campers will prepare an animal of their choice for a show and presentation to their families. Join us for a week of fun-filled farm festivities!

The program costs $300 for members and $340 for non-members. Spots fill fast so call 802-457-2355, e-mail reservations@billingsfarm.org, or use the form below to book today.

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Where the Rivers Flow North & Howard Frank Mosher Tribute Tour

Vermont filmmaker Jay Craven is hitting the road this fall for an extended series of film screenings and personal reflections to pay tribute to his 30-year collaborator, Northeast Kingdom writer, Howard Frank Mosher. Craven will screen his film Where the Rivers Flow North and present reflections on his work with Mosher at the Billings Farm & Museum on Sunday, November 12 at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. Admission is by contribution to the Hurricane Maria Relief Fund. 

“After a successful summer tour, we’re extending our tribute events into the fall,” said Craven. “Howard Mosher died pretty unexpectedly in late January. And many Vermonters already miss him for his laugh-out-loud humor and fertile imagination of our place.  Writers miss him, too, because no one was more generous with his time and support.”

Craven will open the evening with prepared and off-the-cuff reflections that explore his long collaboration with Mosher. He will then present a 25th Anniversary screening of his first Mosher feature film, Where the Rivers Flow North, starring Academy Award® nominee Rip Torn, Native American actress Tantoo Cardinal (Dances with Wolves, Legends of the Fall), and Michael J. Fox.

“Howard was much more than a source for our film stories and characters,” said Craven. “He was also a constant ally, a ready source of laughs, and a steadying influence in times of strain. This was especially crucial during our struggles with headstrong actor Rip Torn on the filming of “Rivers.” I will tell a few tales that have not been publically shared before—because they capture a rarely seen side of Howard and his work.”

Set in 1927 in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, “Where the Rivers Flow North” tells the story of an old logger, Noel Lord, and his Native American mate, Bangor, who face the extinction of their way of life when the local power company plans to build a giant hydro dam that will flood them off their land. Lord and Bangor face emotional and physical challenges as they struggle with the power company, Vermont’s unforgiving terrain, and their own thorny relationship.

Where the Rivers Flow North played more than 30 festival dates including Sundance, Seattle, Avignon, Vienna, and Vancouver. The picture was also one of three U.S. finalists for Cannes International Film Festival’s Critics Week.

Admission to the screening of Where the Rivers Flow North and the Howard Frank Mosher Tribute Tour is by contribution to the Hurricane Maria Relief Fund. Reservations are strongly suggested:  802-457-2355 or www.billingsfarm.org.

The Mosher Tribute tour is produced by Hotel Vermont and Kingdom County Productions with sponsorship support from Vermont Public Radio.

2017 People’s Choice Quilt Awards Announced

Billings Farm & Museum, gateway to Vermont’s rural heritage, announces the results of the 2017 “People’s Choice” awards for the 31st Annual Quilt Exhibition, held July 29–September 17, 2017.

Over 15,000 visitors viewed the exhibition and nearly 1,000 ballots were cast for favorite quilts. The results: Full size quilts:  First place: Logs in Black & White – Sandra S. Palmer, Hartland; Second Place: Milk Hill, 12 August, 2001 – Joanne Shapp, North Pomfret; Third Place: Eye of the Storm in 3-D – Mary Croft, East Barnard. Small/Medium size quilts: First: Ella’s Garden– Carie Good, Woodstock; Second: Coming and Going – Lynne Croswell, Ludlow; Third: (Election Year) Star Spangled Banner – Sonya Stover, Woodstock.

At the exhibition opening, the Jurors’Choice Awards were presented to: Mary Guntz of Hartford for Indian Summer’s Flying Geese, by juror Colleen O’Neil; Star Spangled Banner, made by Sonya Stover of Woodstock, selected by juror Nola Forbes; Joanne Shapp of North Pomfret, selected by juror Kathie Beltz for Milk Hill, 12 August, 2001. The Billings Farm & Museum Staff Choice was awarded to Mary Croft of East Barnard, for her quilt Eye of the Storm.

 

Logs in Black & White by Sandra Palmer, Hartland, VT
Milk Hill, 12 August, 2001 by Joanne Shapp, North Pomfret, VT
Eye of the Storm in 3-D by Mary Croft, East Barnard, VT
Ella’s Garden by Carie Good, Woodstock, VT
Coming and Going by Lynne Croswell, Ludlow, VT
(Election Year) Star Spangled Banner by Sonya Stover, Woodstock, VT

Wassail Weekend Activities Featured at Billings Farm & Museum

WOODSTOCK, VERMONT. Billings Farm & Museum, gateway to Vermont’s rural heritage, will open for Wassail Weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, December 9, 10, and 11, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Farm will feature historic Christmas ornaments – to make and take home. Don’t miss the authentically decorated farm house, visits to the dairy farm for interactive programs, holiday activities, plus the Academy Award® nominee film, A Place in the Land. Also on Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. horse-drawn sleigh or wagon rides, depending on the weather.

The Billings Farm & Museum is owned and operated by The Woodstock Foundation, Inc., a charitable non-profit institution.

Please call 802-457- 2355 for daily activities and programs and a list of seasonal events or view them online.

Contact:
Tom Remp
tremp@billingsfarm.org
802-457-2355.

Christmas at the Farm Featured at Billings Farm & Museum

WOODSTOCK, VERMONT… Discover the traditions of a late 19th century Vermont Christmas with a visit to the Billings Farm & Museum this holiday season. Christmas at the Billings Farm will be featured on weekends in December and December 24 – January 1, 2016, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (excluding Christmas Day). Tour the authentically decorated farmhouse, visit the dairy farm for interactive programs including An Introduction to Milking and Milking the Herd at 3:15 p.m. each day, holiday activities, plus the Academy Award® nominee film, A Place in the Land will be offered.

Like most New England states, Vermont did not widely celebrate Christmas until late in the 19th century. It was not until 1890, when the farmhouse at the Billings Farm was completed, that Christmas became recognized as a holiday in all states. At that time, celebrations were much simpler than they would become in the 20th century and certainly today. Families enjoyed the holiday, but still had cows to milk, ice to cut, and wood to saw. A few gifts, a special meal, and the gathering of friends, were noteworthy in an otherwise typical day.

Decorations of the period included fresh greens draped over mantels, windows, and staircases throughout the house. Small trees, packed in a jar or butter tub and placed on a tabletop were common. Many of the ornaments reflected an agricultural tradition, including strands of cranberries, popcorn, or dried apples that circled the tree. Apples studded with cloves, “exotic” oranges, silvered (foil-covered) chestnuts, painted pinecones, and acorns complemented the handmade paper ornaments, which rounded out many a tree’s decorations.

In Woodstock, turn-of- the-century businesses advertised their wares for Christmas gifts. Most gifts were useful domestic items: fabric, clothing, umbrellas, linens, crockery, and carpet sweepers. Homemade, handcrafted items including fancy mittens, satin bows, and stockings filled with candies, nuts, and raisins were among the most common gifts given on Christmas Day.

Highlights of the Holiday Season

December 3 & 4:

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Making Christmas silhouettes & poppers; candle dipping.

Woodstock’s Wassail Celebration:

December 9, 10, & 11, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Making historic Christmas ornaments and pomanders; candle dipping. Sunday, Dec. 11: Horse-drawn sleigh or wagon rides from 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

December 17 – 18: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Making Christmas silhouettes & poppers; candle dipping.

December 24:

10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Making Christmas silhouettes & poppers; candle dipping.

Closed Christmas Day – Merry Christmas!

Christmas Week:

December 26 – January 1, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Horse-drawn sleigh or wagon rides, if conditions permit: 10:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Making historic Christmas pomanders, ornaments, or snowflakes; candle dipping.

For information: 802-457-2355 or www.billingsfarm.org.