‘The Mountain Minor’: First-time director draws on family history
Oxford-based filmmaker Dale Farmer drew from his family’s history for his feature, “The Mountain Minor.”
By Don Thrasher
Contributing Writer

In an age Marvel movie bombast, first-time screenwriter and director Dale Farmer took a very different approach and it is resonating with viewers.

The Oxford-based filmmaker’s debut feature, “The Mountain Minor,” concerns a family of Appalachian migrants in Southwest Ohio and the music they brought with them. The drama, which won awards at the Longleaf Festival in North Carolina, the Jukebox International Film Festival in Nevada, the Northeast Mountain Festival in Georgia and other events, has local screenings at the Plaza Theatre in Miamisburg on Wednesday, Jan. 15, and the next night at The Neon in downtown Dayton.

Farmer recently sat down at Press Coffee on Watervliet in Dayton to discuss the film.

NO REST IN RETIREMENT “As my career at the Ohio EPA was winding down, I wanted to do something more creative in my retirement.

I’ve been interested in creative writing for all my life and they say, ‘Write what you know.’ I’ve been playing old-time music since I was a kid so I knew music and I knew my family story so that’s what I wrote.”

MINING THE PAST “I spent a lot of time with grandparents growing up, making trips to Kentucky. I heard stories of my grandpa playing the fiddle. My grandparents have been gone for a while and those stories are starting to get away from me so I wanted to write them down.

I wrote all of those stories in the form of a screenplay. Most of what you see in ‘The Mountain Minor’ actually did happen, but there is a lot of fictionalization in there just to make a movie out of it.”

HISTORICAL PRESERVATION “We’re forgetting where we’re from because younger generations don’t have that direct contact with the people who were there. I wanted to make something to keep that story alive. Thousands and thousands of families have that same story, so people are relating to the movie when they see it. They see their grandmother or their grandfather up on the screen.

It’s pretty rewarding watching that response.”

GRASSROOTS PROMO “The distribution deals that came our way weren’t practical, so since it’s a music-based film we’re basically just touring with it as if it was a band. That model is working pretty well for us.”

MOVIE AND MORE Farmer and some of the cast will take part in Q&A’s after the screenings at the Plaza and The Neon and there will be live, pre-film music with the Rabbit Hash String Band on Wednesday and the Corn Drinkers on Thursday.

Contact this contributing writer at donthrasher100@gmail.com.


What: “The Mountain Minor”

Where: Plaza Theatre, 33 S. Main St., Miamisburg

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15

Where: The Neon, 130 E. Fifth St., Dayton

When: 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 16 More info: www.themountainminormovie.com