Vermont Speaks For Itself: A Digital Preservation Project

by Jesse Drew and Peter Huber

Help preserve a valuable Audio-Visual project from Vermont's progressive past.
Documentary photography, interviews and original music!

About this project

Vermont Speaks For Itself is a 1973 social justice multi-media documentary project produced and distributed by the Vermont Media Collective in the mid-1970s. The documentary uses extensive interviews with Vermonters to illustrate the economic and social conditions faced by Vermont’s low-income and working people during that period, backed with additional narration that highlights research and proposes solutions. A traditional string band sound track recorded by local performers accentuates the project.

Vermont Speaks for Itself was originally produced as a slide-show accompanied by a separate audio track. That was the advanced state of multimedia in those years! Luckily, in 1976, the slide show was transferred to the 16mm BW film format. That film is the only copy of this important part of Vermont history, as the slide show itself was disassembled and no longer accessible in its original form. It is critical this film be saved! In recent years, the progressive path of Vermont has come into great scrutiny, most importantly with the campaign of Vermont activist Bernie Sanders. There is great interest in why and how Vermont became the beacon of progressive politics it is today. Vermont Speaks for Itself is an important part of that story.

Vermont Speaks for Itself emerged from a grassroots progressive movement that grew in Vermont, that converged with small farmers, communes, Quakers, labor, and numerous social justice organizations in the 1970s. During that time, the Vermont Media Collective project was shown throughout Vermont at political events, community and church forums and colleges. The Vermont Department of Social Services contracted with the Media Collective to show the film to social services agencies throughout the State. Vermont Speaks for Itself was an influential component of what helped make Vermont the progressive place it is today. We believe it is critical to preserve this important film and to share it with new generations of activists, both as an example of activist media and as an important part of Vermont history. We believe many people will want to have access to this film. For example, this year, the Vermont Historical Society has undertaken a retrospective titled : “Vermont 70s: 1970’s CounterCulture and Its Lasting Influence”, and we believe our documentary should be part of that program. Once the film has been digitized, a copy of it will be provided for the Society’s archive. This restoration project will help us conserve the film by transferring it from 16mm into digital format that will then be published as a DVD for public and community viewing. Your generous support will help us complete this important project. Thank you!

Presently, we will need to raise approximately $1,000 in order to pay for digital scanning of the film and production of DVDs. Any contributions greatly appreciated!

Send checks to:
Peter Huber
PO Box 21
Monkton, VT 05469

Peace and best wishes to all, The Vermont Media Collective