This documentary will promote awareness of the need to protect and support local farmers like Doug.

Dairy farming makes up 80% of Vermont's total agricultural production. As industrial farming operations begin to dominate the landscape and the price of milk declines, hundreds of family farmers are faced with the same question:  "Do we sell and retire? Or can we figure out a way to adapt?" This documentary will give an in-depth view of the Butler family's search for an answer and paint a portrait of the rural agricultural community they belong to.

Even though the dog mushing world championships are his dream, Doug refuses to pass on a failing business to his son. Thus the race hinges on the success of the farm and the fates of his two lifelong dreams are intertwined.

The road is uncertain, but Doug carries on as he always does. "This ain't no god-damn old folks home," he hollers, "let's get rolling."

Town Hall Theater’s mission is to celebrate local talent, so we jumped at the chance to support Tommy Hyde’s vision and Doug Butler’s skill and perseverance. The premiere of Tommy’s film at THT will be a genuine event, a prime example of the rich and varied artistic life of this community.
— Doug Anderson, Director of the Middlebury Town Hall Theater
Tommy Hyde is a gifted young filmmaker with broad interests and strong feelings for Vermont and the meaning of its agricultural roots and realities. I have seen his work, and it has always struck me as intelligent and thoughtful. There is no doubt in my mind that he will accomplish a great deal in film, and I like his current project a lot.
— Jay Parini, Axinn Professor of English at Middlebury College
Tommy’s fascination with the amazing Doug Butler, farmer and sprint-racing dog musher, began in my class six years ago. I am delighted that Doug’s story, one of grit and cultural significance, will be done justice in the form of a full-length documentary.
— Peter Lourie, writer and photographer, Weybridge

Taking the message on the road 

The Underdog will premiere at the Middlebury Town Hall Theater in early 2018, with expected attendance drawing on people from vastly different backgrounds. Farmers, professors, students, filmmakers, lumberjacks, dog lovers and artists alike will come together to watch this film and discuss it under a communal roof. This experience will bridge gaps between the college, the town and the farming community— offering a venue for people to make connections and collaborations that otherwise may have not been possible. 

We anticipate taking this model of discussion and community building on tour—screening the film in theaters across Vermont and in film festivals across the country.