One veteran’s mission to find healing through farming is haunted by the wounds of a family lost and the soldier he still yearns to be.
Home from three combat tours in Iraq, Alex Sutton forges a new identity as a farmer, hatching chicks and raising goats on 43 acres in rural North Carolina. He dives into life on the farm with his new love Jessica, but cannot shake the lingering traumas of war. The stories he tells about battlefield experiences become unmoored from reality as he cycles between states of heightened awareness and “feeling zombified” from a cocktail of prescriptions meant to keep him stable. For the viewer, as for Alex, what to believe about his past is uncertain. The farm becomes a terrain to unearth what is buried, what it really means to be “the perfect soldier," and where to find the way forward.
Documentary | North Carolina, USA | 65 min.
Best Documentary Feature - Brooklyn Film Festival
Best Documentary Feature - Shanghai International Film & TV Festival
Best Feature - Y'ALLYWOOD Film Festival
Southern Documentary Jury Prize - Macon Film Festival
Best Documentary Feature - Charlotte Film Festival
Southern Stories Jury Prize - Hot Springs DFF
Jury Finalist - New Orleans Film Festival
"Farmer/ Veteran is keenly empathetic towards its subjects while at the same time being rigorous about the journalism and interviewing...even given the darkness at the core of it, it's such a pretty movie."
— Sean Cole, Producer, This American Life
“While the film is purposefully apolitical, Farmer/Veteran absolutely encourages viewers to analyze both individual and collective roles in support of war, of military families during deployment, and of veterans upon return.”
— David Klein, Independent Weekly
"It’s a story of perseverance in the face of an unforgiving adversary. . . reflecting again how the cost of war is tough to measure because its scars take so many forms.”
— TV Worth Watching
"Sits alongside ‘Crumb' and ‘Capturing the Friedman’s’ as amongst the few indelible and haunting portraits of an American family chronicled in documentary.”
— Aaron Greenwald, Director, Duke Performances
“I found the film incredibly moving, honest and the best film portrayal of the difficulties of transitioning from military to civilian life for a combat veteran that I have ever had the privilege of viewing.”
— Dr. Irving Kuo, Associate Chief of Staff, Mental Health Services Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System
"Unflinching and occasionally unsettling, Farmer/Veteran burrows past the flag-waving and the stigma that have shrouded returning soldiers of every age, inviting us to witness the ben but unbroken path of one warrior’s rebuilding”
— Jonathan Kieran / New Orleans Film Festival
“Pointedly underscoring the toll that war takes on the human psyche, this portrait of a troubled vet is recommended. *** ”
— Video Librarian
"Farmer/Veteran is a three dimensional character study about a veteran that felt thoroughly refreshing in its approach and tone. You might think this is a story you've heard before, but it isn't. It’s a film that defies your expectations at every turn. Alex is one of the most remarkable subjects I've seen in a doc in the last few years.”
—Daniel Laabs, Dallas International Film Festival