LUDLOW -- Forget Flower Power.
One young Vermont native knows the true way to protect the environment is through Cow Power. And it became the subject, and title, of her documentary film.
Allison Gillette, 22, of Ludlow, first began dabbling in filmmaking for middle school projects and eventually took her passions to Emerson College in Boston, where she majored in documentary film production and graduated in May. When three different Emerson film groups got together in January to brainstorm, Gillette pitched an idea for a movie about something relevant to her Vermont roots.
Cow Power is a process that turns cow manure in renewable energy and it helped save Vermont's dairy farms. Her idea was a hit and she was given a $2,000 stipend to start filming. Gillette, the director and producer, recruited the help of 11 other Emerson students in March and the pack embarked on an adventure that took them to Texas and back to New England.
One of the crew members had a connection in Dallas and after shooting there, everyone traveled to the Green Mountain State for some important footage. The young team went to Westminster Farms and Grafton Village Cheese for filming.
"They had fun. They ate a lot of cheese," said Dane Huebner, the director for research and development and quality at Grafton. "Those college kids ate all the cheese in like a minute. I could have lost a finger."
He said the crew was given full access, unlike
The crew also conducted interviews at Long Trail Brewery (in Bridgewater Corners) and Green Mountain College (in Poultney), which both function via Cow Power.
"It was amazing. I was born and raised in Vermont so I knew what I was getting myself into," Gillette said. "Some of the others are from the city or down south and hadn't been to a big farm before. They're now head over heels for Vermont."
The film, Gillette said, highlights the growth of Cow Power programs across the country and how cow manure could one day account for 10 percent of America's energy needs. She plans to tour New England once she and the crew finish editing and show it in classrooms and local theaters. She is unsure if she will make any profit off the film.
She hopes to produce a theatrical trailer by the beginning of September. The goal is to release the film in mid-October or early November.
In order to raise the final $6,000 needed to complete the movie, Gillette and the crew created a kickstarter about a week ago. Gillette said a kickstarter is a short film created with clips from the movie and posted on a website as a way to help generate funds. All who contribute will be rewarded based on how much they pledge -- those donating the lowest increment will receive a "special thanks" credit at the end of the film while everyone who gives the highest -- $1,000 -- will get an "executive producer" credit, some Cow Power compost, a Cow Power T-shirt, sticker, keychain, a copy of the completed DVD and VIP invitations to film showings.
Gillette said about an additional $2,000 must be raised because the crew will not receive a penny unless the total monetary goal is met by deadline.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.