'Farmer of the Year' film shot in South Dakota and Minnesota screens in Aberdeen March 1-7

YellowHouse Films
Farm Forum

TYLER, Minn. – YellowHouse Films is proud to announce the screening of a new ‘coming of aging’ feature film, “Farmer of the Year” at the Capitol Cinema in Aberdeen, March 1-7. “Farmer of the Year” was shot around Southwest Minnesota and South Dakota, including a long sequence at Mitchell’s Corn Palace and shots along I-90.

The film was written by Tyler, Minn., native and farmer’s daughter, Kathy Swanson and was directed and produced by her and her husband, Vince O’Connell. The film stars stars Emmy-nominated Barry Corbin (“Northern Exposure,” “No Country for Old Men,” “Urban Cowboy,” “War Games”), Mackinlee Waddell (“Good Christian Belles”), and Terry Kiser (“Weekend at Bernie’s”) and is their first feature.

The film was shot largely at the farm on which Swanson grew up and in her hometown of Tyler, Minn., (pop. 1,100), “Farmer of the Year” is the story of Hap Anderson, a widowed 83-year-old Minnesota farmer who thinks he’s still quite the ladies’ man. After selling the family farm he’s worked for over 60 years, he finds himself adrift and staring a short future in the face. Driven by the possibility of showing up with an old flame and impressing his old army buddies, he sets out in a dilapidated ‘73 Winnebago to attend his 65th WWII reunion in California with his unreasonably self-confident and also directionless granddaughter, Ashley. Along the way, Hap with his road map and Ashley with her GPS, they begin to understand and appreciate each other as individuals while discovering that being young and being old, aren’t all that different.

A deceptively simple look, presented lightly and with humor, at aging, transitions, loss and family.

Filled with typical, understated Midwestern humor and restraint, “Farmer of the Year” captures the sense of real life, location and spirit of the rural midwest with a unique combination of homegrown and Hollywood. When asked what it was like coming back to shoot in her hometown, Swanson answered “One scene has a mailman, and it’s the real Tyler mailman. One scene has a guy mowing the cemetery, and it’s the guy that really mows the cemetery. The crew stayed at one of the Lutheran churches. Hap’s house was my Dad’s ... who at 84 was a stunt double for Hap. There were a hundred things like that.”

“Farmer of the Year” has been selected to screen at film festivals across the country, winning Audience Choice Awards at the Minneapolis St. Paul, Sedona and Woods Hole International Film Festivals. It was nominated for Best Actor for Barry Corbin at Woods Hole and Best Feature Film and Best Actor at the Soho International Film Festival in New York City.

“We’re overwhelmed with the response ... audiences have been loving it ... and not just Midwesterners,” laughs O’Connell. “We were one of the only feature films at Woods Hole to sell out”

Audiences around the country are talking about the film:

  • “It was a charming film from start to finish … My favorite movie of the entire [MSP Film] Festival,” Katie Matthies, Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
  • “Cleverly written, humorous with Midwestern flavor, layered generations ... The Real Deal!” Noreen Ireland, Sedona, Arizona.
  • “Fabulous, funny, sad, heartwarming, beautiful movie,” Julie Lund Zimmeth, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • “My friends and I really enjoyed this movie. It was a nice mix of comedy and sentiment. It was an authentic look at aging but also found a way to make us laugh again and again. It captured the beauty of rural life in the Midwest. You don’t have to come from a farm to appreciate this film but if you did, you will love it!” IMDB reviewer.

The film delicately blends the comedy and drama of life. References to mosquitos, fishing and Grain Belt ... it’s all in there.

Swanson wrote the screenplay. O’Connell, edited. They both directed and produced.

The film will screen March 1-7 at the Capitol Cinema in Aberdeen and without major studio distribution, it may be the only chance people will have to see it.

Barry Corbin and Mackinlee Waddell star in “Farmer of the Year." The award-winning independent feature film is showing at Capitol Cinema. Courtesy photo
Creators of the award-winning feature film, "Farmer of the Year," Kathy Swanson and Vince O'Connell, on the red carpet at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. The Capitol Cinema in Aberdeen will host the film March 1-7.