by Rick Widmer
color, 83 min, 2007
American Fair is an intimate study of the hard-working farmers of York County, Maine, facing a vanishing way of life, their knowledge of land and beast, commitment to tradition and community - interdependent and pulling together.
At the 140th fair in Acton, farmers congregate in the spirit of both co-operation and rivalry. Families show off their finest handicrafts, agricultural produce and livestock. Teamsters compete to see whose animal is the strongest and whose daughter the most beautiful. Through the voices of farmers and townspeople, vendors and carnival workers, a portrait of a community joining together in celebration of the honest, hard-working agricultural traditions of the region is revealed. Fathers and sons, knowledge of land and beast, carnival workers and strange stories, country girls, ox-pulling, dairy showing, beauty pageants, a pig scramble and more! This feature-length ethnographic documentary quietly reveals the agricultural heritage of the region and opens our eyes to a wholesome side of American culture - as people of the earth.Check out the American Fair blog at Americanfair.blogspot.com.
Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
International Festival of Ethnological Film, Belgrade, Serbia, 2007
Quebec International Ethnographic Film Festival, Canada, 2008
Society for Visual Anthropology/American Anthropological Association Conference, San Francisco, 2008