A short film based on the events and stories of a six-generation Illinois Sesquicentennial farm won the Silver Eddy for professional documentary at the 2013 Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Independent Film Festival. House by the Side of the Road, produced by filmbyframe LLC of Portland, Ore., and Pines Publishing, Inc., brings to life the stories told in a book of the same name as well as the changes and challenges in farming as experienced by the Abbott family of Morrison, Ill.
Native Iowan and Abbott son-in-law, Jerry Gidel, was featured in the film as a family historian and told of the farm’s connection to the Underground Railroad shortly after the Abbotts arrived in 1848. “The story of how the Abbott family helped move more than two dozen slaves to freedom before the Civil War has been passed down orally through the generations,” Gidel says. “It’s great to get the story documented on film.”
The film’s director and owner of filmbyframe, Dan Schaefer, saw the historical significance in telling the farm’s story as both part of the Underground Railroad as well as sitting alongside the historic Lincoln Highway. But, he also wanted to explore the changes in farming methods and practices over the years as seen through the lens of this family farm. “This film festival was a natural for House by the Side of the Road because of its Iowa connection and the state’s agricultural focus,” Schaefer says.
Posted July 10, 2013