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Restored 1916 Vermont film to be screened in Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont International Film Foundation announces the statewide tour of the newly restored and digitally remastered film “A Vermont Romance” (1916). In celebration of the film’s 100th anniversary, the high-definition 2K restoration will tour six towns in Vermont accompanied by a live piano score played and composed by Bob Merrill.
“A Vermont Romance” will be shown at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury on Friday, May 13, at 7 p.m. The screening will be followed by discussions with panels of filmmakers, historians and archivists. The restoration of the film is a co-sponsorship of VTIFF/VAMP and the Vermont Historical Society, supported by small grants and the generous donations of individuals.
The movie is an extraordinary piece of Vermont folklore. It was commissioned by the Vermont Progressive Party (affiliated with Theodore Roosevelt’s national Bull Moose party) and its newspaper, the Vermont Advance. Scenes were filmed in Burlington, Grand Isle, Newport, St. Johnsbury, White River Junction, Rutland, Chester and Bellows Falls. This fueled interest from theater owners from all corners of the state to host screenings.
The film is both a romance and a scenic tour of Vermont. It tells the tale of Dorothy, a country girl who befriends a rich girl and two city gents who are out for a drive in the country. Upon the death of her father she loses the farm where she lives and works. Almost penniless, she moves to Burlington to find work, and her adventures begin.
Filming began Wednesday, June 21, 1916, and was completed 10 days later. The first screening of the film was held Saturday, Sept. 16, 1916, in Essex Junction.
The film’s run time is 35 minutes. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at www.townhalltheater.org, 802-382-9222, at the THT Box Office (noon-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday) and at the door, if available.

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