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A documentary by Tommy Hyde

82 minutes, color, 2022

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Doug Butler is a hardscrabble Vermont dairy farmer with an offbeat passion – dog mushing. A local folk hero, Doug’s ease with cows, dogs and people is a joy to behold. And when he trains his team of mutts on the family farm with a dream to compete at the world championships in Alaska, his teenage exuberance seems to erase the tired lines on his sixty-five year old face.

Meticulously captured over the course of a decade, Underdog paints an intimate vérité portrait of Doug Butler as he puts a curiously optimistic twist on the family farm tragedies that have so marked American rural life. The resonance of Doug’s journey extends to all who have faced down loneliness, isolation and the struggle to make sense of forces beyond control.

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"Tommy Hyde’s heartwarming documentary traces the life of an aging Vermont dairy farmer. Hyde’s subtlety as a filmmaker, along with the fabulous, eccentric central figure, bring to mind David Lynch’s The Straight Story. Both films are remarkable for how seemingly unremarkable they are. Stick with it, and the film’s subliminal power will sneak up on you." - Alex Saveliev, FILM THREAT

"UNDERDOG is much more than an immersion into the grim realities of life on a small Vermont dairy farm. It is a celebration of the kind of grit, humor, passion, optimism, and resilience that is needed to make such a life work. You’re going to just love this film and its forward-looking ending." - Richard Alaniz, KPFK Film Club

"Illuminates the emotional toll of being a farmer today, and the deep resilience, optimism and joy that also comes with rural life."- Congresswoman Becca Balint



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