Dormancy: A 1930's Vermont Film

$3,885 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 74 people in 17 months

Eugenics- noun

noun plural but singular in construction
-  eu·gen·ics    yu̇-ˈjen-iks
A science that deals with the improvement (as by control of human mating) of hereditary qualities of a race or breed


Dormancy is short film set in 1932 Northern Vermont. At the height of prohibition and the growing American eugenics movement, the state of Vermont passes a law allowing for sexual sterilization of “ idiots, imbeciles, feeble‐minded or insane persons likely to procreate”.

Our story follows a young woman and her new husband. They work the land, and earn a small income hearding sheep and working with lumber. They live simply with hopes of eventually starting a family. 

Like many Vermont families at the time, they are visited by field workers involved with the eugenics movement. Their family history and their French Canadian roots are well documented. Given false information about their health risks, they eventually agree to undergo “new procedures” available to them. The couple is lured into a rural clinic where they subjected to the sadistic goals of the doctors and eugenics field workers.

The Impact

The eugenics movement grew at a time when intolerance was normalized. In today’s uncertain political climate it’s more important than ever to look at the painful chapters of our shared history. We can’t expect to progress without acknowledging our roots. A film exceeds its goals when it provokes new questions and challenges our understanding of our own ethics.

Our Team

Luke Becker-Lowe
Co- Director, Cinematographer
Luke Becker-Lowe Studies Film Production at Emerson College in Boston. He has been working hard to grow as a filmmaker and a cinematographer for many years. Growing up on a dirt road in central Vermont, he developed an appreciation for stories about backwoods life and it’s unique challenges. Luke is obsessed with 20th century period films. He sees them as little time machines that allow us to better understand ourselves in the present. In 2016 Luke undertook a challenging 16mm 1970’s short film Daranjaya. Traveling further back in time with Dormancy, he hopes to once again merge his film background with his love of American social and political history.

Nicholas W. Callais
Producer, Co-Director

A senior at Emerson College, Nicholas is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in directing narrative fiction. His films include 2015’s “Trial by Error,” “Not Quite Finished,” which debuted at the Washington D.C. International Film Festival in 2014, and his most recent project “The Chameleon Kid” releasing this winter. Nicholas shares the same affinity for period films, his most recent undertaking being set on the American Frontier in the 1880’s. For him period pieces offer a unique set of challenges that offer the conditions necessary for new forms of storytelling. 

Stephen Szmed
Unit Production Manager

Stephen Szmed is a filmmaker based in Boston, MA and an Emerson College alum with a Bachelor's Degree in Media Arts Production. His work spans from music videos, experimental pieces, and narrative films.


To bring the film to life, we have carefully created a budget for every aspect of the production. The film will be made for $5,200. We hope to raise $4,000 from the generous contributuions made by our supporters on Go Fund Me. 

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Happy New Year! 2017 was a great year for filmmaking. Dormancy is currently in its final stages of post production. Having screened for a preview audience, the team is hard at work making some final adjustments to sound, color, and of course the large list of generous Go Fund Me contributors in the new draft of the credits.

The film still has large costly destinations ahead of it. Our task is now to bring Dormancy to audiences around the world. Festival submissions fees alone are very costly. Now is a perfect time to make an end of the year contribution to help bring this story to the world.

Enjoy these behind the scenes photos!
Scene 13 A take 1
"Soft Sticks"
Early morning sheep tending scene
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Behind the Scenes stills!
Co-Dir. Nick Callais & 2nd AC Mike Bartz
Co-Dir. and DP Luke Becker-Lowe
Operator, AC, and AD in the zone
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On Friday the 15th Dormancy had it's first preview screening! Our months of hard work finally made it to the big screen, playing alongside other Emerson College capstone films. The film was very well received. We were given great feedback about the bold subject matter as well as the strong acting and visuals.

Moving forward our next steps will involve a final pass on post production details like the color grade and the titles. Once we have our polished final film, it will be time to bring Dormancy to the world.

Having spent these months creating our vision of America in 1932, the challenges that we face in 2017 are difficult to ignore. During the making of Dormancy one thing has become increasingly clear, this story is more relevant than ever. Films about forgotten people have the potential to act as a weapon in the fight against ignorance and intolerance.

Thank you for making this story possible. We are lucky to have you on the team and we can't wait to share Dormancy with you!
1930 Ford Model A "Annabelle"
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Post Production Update!

With your help, we have moved from production into post production. Dormancy is becoming everything that we could have wanted it to be.

Stand by for updates on screenings and festivals.
While the film is coming together, we still have a long way to go! Help us cover the costs of bringing this film across the finish line as we take on the musical score and costly festival submissions.
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Read a Previous Update

$3,885 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 74 people in 17 months
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