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Vermont-made ‘Farmer of the Year’ to screen at Center Theatre

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — The Center Theatre announced that it will be screening the award-winning film “Farmer of the Year” starting on Friday, Jan. 18. The comedy-drama, produced by Vermont-based Yellow House Films, has played festivals around the U.S. It has picked up honors such as the New Filmmakers Forum Emerging Director Award at the St. Louis International Film Festival and audiences have praised its authenticity and humor.

“Farmer of the Year” tells the story of a retired Minnesota farmer who’s not ready to slow down. Barry Corbin, who played Maurice on “Northern Exposure,” stars as 83-year-old widower Hap Anderson. Slow-moving and soft-spoken, Hap’s just sold the family farm to his son and daughter-in-law, but he’s still over there every day.

When the younger folks hint that they’d like him to back off, Hap decides to spiff up his ’73 Winnebago and road-trip to the reunion of his World War II regiment, picking up an old flame along the way. Meanwhile, his fresh-out-of-college granddaughter, Ashley (Mackinlee Waddell), is fed up with living with her folks. After a blow-up with her mom about her jobless status, she opts to join Gramps on his cross-country jaunt.

Corbin and Waddell create full-fledged characters with great comic chemistry: Hap is an ornery bugger under his reserve, while Ashley wields a masterful millennial deadpan. Both are navigating life transitions, and neither has much figured out. While Hap tries to pay for transactions with his ancient traveler’s checks and persists in hitting on women his son’s age, the equally lovelorn Ashley is convinced all the answers are searchable on her phone. Mainers will immediately grasp the stakes of this story in which the old warily approaches the new. “Farmer of the Year” suggests there’s no right time in life to stop growing.

“Farmer of the Year” will play at the Center Theatre Friday, Jan. 18 through Tuesday, Jan. 22. Times and ticket prices are available at www.CenterTheatre.org, on the Theatre’s Facebook page, by calling the Theatre at 564-8943, or visiting the box office at 20 East Main Street. The Center Theatre is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a mission to make arts, culture, education, and entertainment accessible to our rural communities.

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