Independent film coming to Buckhannon

Submitted photo The West Virginia premiere of the award-winning, limited release comedy-drama, ‘Farmer of the Year,’ comes to Buckhannon April 19-21.

BUCKHANNON — The Lascaux Micro-Theater announces the West Virginia premiere of the ‘coming of aging’ feature film, “Farmer of the Year.”

The film, by the Ohio University husband and wife team of Kathy Swanson and Vince O’Connell, stars Emmy-nominated Barry Corbin (Northern Exposure, No Country for Old Men, Urban Cowboy, War Games), Mackinlee Waddell (Good Christian Belles), and Terry Kiser (Weekend at Bernie’s) and is their first feature. The film will screen at the Lascaux Micro-Theater at 7:30 p.m. April 19; at 7:30 p.m. April 20; at 2 p.m. April 21 and without major studio distribution, it may be the only chance people will have to see it.

Written by Swanson, shot largely at the farm on which she grew up and in her hometown in Minnesota (pop. 1,200), “Farmer of the Year” is the story of Hap Anderson, a widowed 83-year-old Minnesota farmer who thinks he’s still quite the ladies’ man. After selling the family farm he’s worked for over 60 years, he finds himself adrift and staring a short future in the face. Driven by the possibility of showing up with an old flame and impressing his old army buddies, he sets out in a dilapidated ’73 Winnebago to attend his 65th World War II reunion in California with his unreasonably self-confident and also directionless granddaughter, Ashley. Along the way, Hap with his road map and Ashley with her GPS, they begin to understand and appreciate each other as individuals while discovering that being young and being old, aren’t all that different.

A deceptively simple look, presented lightly and with humor, at aging, transitions, loss and family, the film doesn’t hit the audience over the head with the message.

Filled with typical, understated small town humor and restraint, Farmer of the Year captures the sense of real life, location and spirit of rural America with a unique combination of homegrown and Hollywood. When asked about the Lascaux screenings, Swanson answered “We are really excited. It’s a good story, lots of layers…audiences have really been appreciating and enjoying it. Plus, with West Virginia’s independent, rural Appalachian spirit, it will genuinely resonate with viewers.”

“Farmer of the Year” has been selected to screen at film festivals across the country, winning ‘Audience Choice Awards’ at the Minneapolis St. Paul, Sedona and Woods Hole International Film Festivals. It was nominated for ‘Best Actor’ for Barry Corbin at Woods Hole and Best Feature Film and Best Actor at the Soho International Film Festival in New York City and the Lady Filmmakers Festival in LA.

“We’re overwhelmed with the response…audiences have been loving it … and not just Midwesterners,” laughs O’Connell. ‘We were one of the only feature films at Woods Hole to sell out.”