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The curiously optimistic tale of Doug Butler—a hardscrabble Vermont dairy farmer who risks losing the only home he's ever known to chase his dreams of dog mushing in Alaska.
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. Yet the demands of being a small-scale family farmer are constant, and Doug has never once left his cows for more than a few days in his entire life.
On a cold March morning, Doug pulls out of his driveway in a rusted-out truck carrying 22 dogs, tearily waving goodbye to the only world he’s ever known. He’s bound for Alaska. The journey will prepare him for what he’ll confront when he gets back—the sale of his farm and a race to craft a new destiny. Meticulously captured over the course of a decade, UNDERDOG paints an intimate vérité portrait of Doug as he puts a curiously optimistic twist on the kinds of family farm tragedies that have marked American rural life.
“Illuminates the emotional toll of being a farmer today, and the deep resilience, optimism and joy that also comes with rural life.”
VT Congresswoman Becca Balint
“the film’s subliminal power will sneak up on you.”
Alex Saveliev, FILM THREAT