Dormancy: A 1930's Vermont Film

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. 


 See top
  • Geneviève Couture 
    • $20 
    • 25 mos
  • Caren Armstrong 
    • $20 
    • 34 mos
  • Deborah Lisi-Baker 
    • $20 
    • 38 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 39 mos
  • Rich Holschuh 
    • $25 
    • 39 mos
See all


Nicholas Callais 
Boston, MA
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