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Welcome to Rural Route Communications

Sur la terre / Out on the Land

A Bilingual Documentary Film Series

Directed and photographed by Louise Abbott with aerial footage by Niels Jensen and post-production assistance from Vito DeFilippo.

After the novel coronavirus health crisis struck Quebec in 2020, I didn't want to simply wait it out at home. As a documentary filmmaker, I strive to bear witness to the world around me.  Serendipitously, I received a notice from the Stantead Historical Society archives, requesting members to "document events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in the Stanstead area ... [and] educate future generatinos on how the population of our region weathered this exceptional ordeal."

 I took up the challenge but extended the geographical boundaries. I investigated the pandemic's impact on Townshippers who toil out on the land to ensure our food supply. I filmed a series of family farmers  (beef, dairy, sheep) and producers (maple syrup, organic vegetables), exploring the normality and abnormality of their lives during this unprecedented time. When I became aware that more and more Townshippers were raising food at home, I added a particularly committed and knowledgeable home gardener to the project.

The Stanstead Historical Society presented  the Out on the Land film series in an exhibition of the same name at the Colby-Curtis Museum (June 4 to September 19, 2021). The documentaries are now available online. I hope that viewers will gain insight into the lives, hearts, and minds of  Townships farmers and growers who are coping with more challenges than ever. 

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My thanks to the municipality of Ogden, the MRC Memphremagog, and the Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications for the funding they provided to help me finish the films.

Louise Abbott

To read an article about The Sugarmakers, please visit page 15 of the Westmount Independent: 

The Sugarmakers was televised on WNED PBS (Buffalo-Toronto) in February 2022. It is available for streaming on the PBS website or on Vimeo.

The other films in the Out on the Land series can be seen on Vimeo.

Nancy Wing, Farmer:

The Ecological Gardener:

Maple Drive Farm:

Jardin du Quartier:

Sheep and Syrup:

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When the pandemic forced cancellation of the Ayer's Cliff Fair in 2020, the fair board hosted an innovative drive-in. It included the presentation of a documentary that Louise Abbott directed about this much-loved event. Louise, her crew members (Vito DeFilippo, Niels Jensen, and Tanya Rhodes), and translator Mélanie Grondin were all delighted to work on the project. We hope you enjoy the documentary, which was televised on WNED PBS (Buffalo-Toronto) in February 2022 and is available for streaming on the PBS website or on Vimeo: (27: 46 minutes) (This is a longer version. It runs 41:36 minutes.)

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When Townships poet Elizabeth Paulette-Coughlin sent Louise Abbott a poem that she'd written in response to recent development activities on Owl's Head, a mountain overlooking Lake Memphremagog in southern Quebec, Louise asked if she might create a video poem with it. Here is the link for Why Should You Turn?


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Hatley Poet Angela Leuck and Louise Abbott of Rural Route Communications have collaborated on a new book--an anthology of work by contemporary women poets of the Eastern Townships of Quebec. The Townshippers' Research and Cultural Foundation as well as the municipality of Canton de Stanstead and the MRC de Memphrémagog  all contributed funding for this exciting project, which is the first of its kind. Louise created portraits of the poets for the book and also created video poems with several of the poets. 

The anthology was published by Studio Georgeville in April 2021 and is available to buy at Studio Georgeville, 20 carré Copp, Georgeville, QC,  Brome Lake Books, 45 chemin Lakeside, Knowlton, QC, or Black Cat Books, 168E Queen St., Sherbrooke, QC. It retails for $25. Please check the relevant websites for business hours.


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Bernice Sorge  (Photo: Louise Abbott)

 Crow is a video poem produced by Louise Abbott in collaboration with Bernice Sorge:


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Poet Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt   (Photo: Louise Abbott)

Baste the Raw Edges, Fasten the Yoke is a video poem produced by Louise Abbott in collaboration with Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt :

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