The Home Road - How It Started

The idea to make a documentary film about Israel Shevenell’s pioneering trek hit me like a lost snowball on January 5th, 2009. I was in Tennessee, it was a Monday, and I was sitting at my desk looking out at the straw-colored winter lawn. 


I pulled out a notebook, made some notes, called Dad and asked him to go to the library in Biddeford to do some research. I went to my first film festival a few weeks later, the True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri. 

Then four and a half years went by. 

When I felt the flakes of the lost snowball again, it was the fall of 2013, and I was home in Maine. This time, I hit the books, the libraries and the cemeteries; I interviewed Dad; I bought Final Cut Pro X editing software, I named the movie and I made an introductory trailer. I put it up online in February, 2014 and three and a half years later, I finished The Home Road feature film.

The Home Road - Resource List

This is a partial list of the thousands of people, places, artifacts, articles, maps, photos, bits of information and pieces of inspiration that influenced the film and me between 2013-2017. I am very thankful for these resources.


On Filmmaking/Storytelling:

In The Blink Of An Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing - 2nd edition, Walter Murch

Save The Cat!: The Last Book On Screenwriting That You’ll Ever Need - Blake Snyder

Rebel Without A Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker with $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player - Robert Rodriguez (for motivation, inspiration)

The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide - Anthony Q. Artis

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft - Stephen King

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction - William Zinsser

On Photography - Susan Sontag

The Gift of Stories: Practical and Spiritual Applications of Autobiography, Life Stories, and Personal Mythmaking - Robert Atkinson

On History/Heritage:

La Foi, La Langue, La Culture: The Franco-Americans of Biddeford, Maine - Michael Guignard

The Little Eater of Bleeding Hearts- A Memoir - Norman Beaupre

A Castle in the Clouds: Tom Plant and the American Dream - Barry H. Rodrigue

A History and Stories of Biddeford - Dane Yorke

The Men and Times of Pepperell - Dane Yorke

Images of America: Biddeford - Charles L Butler Jr

Biddeford in Old Photographs - Loretta M. Turner

Loyal but French: The Negotiation of Identity by French-Canadian Descendants in the United States - Mark Paul Richard

The Belles of New England:The Women of the Textile Mills and the Families Whose Wealth They Wove - William Moran

Thirty Acres - Ringuet (pseudonym of Philippe Panneton)

American Nations: A History of The Eleven Rival Regional Cultures Of North America - Colin Woodard

Le Quebecois: The Virgin Forest - Doris Provencher Faucher

Quiet Presence - Histoires de Franco-Americains en New England - Dyke Hendrickson


The West, Prohibition and other documentaries by Ken Burns

In The Blood, The Maine Frontier, The Northeast By Eastern - Sumner McKane

Chasing Shackleton (PBS)

Exodus (PBS)

American Experience: Coney Island (PBS)

Man On Wire


Walking The Camino: Six Ways To Santiago

The Way

Jack Kerouac’s Road - A Franco-American Odyssey - Hermenegilde Chiasson (this link takes you to a site where you can watch the whole film)

Eero Saarinen: The Architect Who Saw The Future - Eric Saarinen, Peter Rosen

About Some of the Links Above:

I participate in the Amazon Associates Program, which in human terms means that if you find one of the book or product resources above valuable and decide to buy on Amazon using a link above from my website, I receive a small percentage from the sale. There is no additional cost to you, and these small commissions help me maintain The Home Road website. Thank you.


James Myall - Parlez-Vous American?  Read at:

David Vermette - (Note: in October, 2018, David published a book I certainly would have used in the making of the film. It’s called A Distinct Alien Race: The Untold Story of Franco-Americans: Industrialization, Immigration, Religious Strife)


Final Cut Pro X - editing

Scrivener - script writing/organizing

Motion - animations

Evernote - note taking 

ONLINE TRAINING for Final Cut Pro X, Motion and general filmmaking: 

PLACES/PROGRAMS: (many have physical and online presences that are very helpful)

Biddeford, Maine:

McArthur Public Library

Pepperell Mills Campus and Museum 

Shevenell Park

St. Joseph’s Church

St. Joseph’s Cemetery

Museum in the Streets - self-guided walking tour of downtown

Heart of Biddeford


La Kermesse Festival 

Compton, Quebec, Coaticook River Valley and the Eastern Townships - Visit 

Eastern Townships Resource Centre (ETRC) - Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, Quebec

Sherbrooke Historical Society & Eastern Townships Genealogical Society, Sherbrooke, Quebec

University of Ottawa

Franco-American Centre, University of Maine - Orono

Franco-American Collection, University of Southern Maine - Lewiston

Colby College - Arts & Humanities public programming, including Photography & Migration event series

Maine Historical Society, Portland

Pejepscot Historical Society, Brunswick

Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick

Maine State Library, Augusta

Osher Map Library, Portland

Dyer Library, Saco

William Fogg Library, Eliot

Cape Elizabeth Historical Preservation Society

Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport

Franco-American Genealogical Society of York County (Biddeford, housed in McArthur Library)

Biddeford Historical Society

Maine Folklife Center - University of Maine - Orono

WEBSITES: - internet archive - public photo archives - Library of Congress - Library and Archives Canada great filmmaking resource for sounds - advanced search - genealogy - genealogy 

A FAVORITE THING: Random Images button at  I’ve lost myself for hours hitting that button!


Canon 7D (older model, purchased in mid-2000’s)

iPhone 5

GoPro Hero 4

Sony PCM-M10 Recorder

Rode NTG-2 Microphone


Soundtracks to In The Blood, The Maine Frontier, The Northeast By Eastern and Close The Circle - Sumner McKane (Links to Sumner’s Film & Music website)

Soundtracks by Gustavo Santaolalla, especially The Motorcycle Diaries

Child’s Song, performed by Tom Rush (written by Canadian folk singer, Murray McLauchlan)

Urge For Going, performed by Tom Rush (written by Joni Mitchell)

Belle Ancolie, performed by Luce Dufault (written by Richard Seguin)

Je Reviens Chez Nous - Jean-Pierre Ferland

Musique concrete - experimental music from sounds - Pierre Schaeffer

Podcasts: The Tim Ferriss Show, On Being (Krista Tippett) - Links to podcast websites

Blog: Brain Pickings (Maria Popova) - Links to blog website