The Home Road~Film Screening

Ray Shevenell

Ray Shevenell, in a scene from “The Home Road.” (Photo courtesy Tonya Shevenell)

Tues. October 16, 2018 7:00 pm


A 74-year-old Maine man retraces the journey of his pioneering, 19-year-old great-great-grandfather, who left his home in Canada in 1845.

The film by Portland-based filmmaker Tonya Shevenell screening awas to create a historical documentary about the life of Shevenell’s great-great-great-grandfather Israel Shevenell. Israel Shevenell was the first permanent French-Canadian settler in Biddeford and the town’s first French voter. He arrived in Biddeford after walking there from Quebec, Canada to find work in the spring of 1845.

Though the story of Israel Shevenell’s life is interesting and history-making, “that’s not what got my dad’s attention,” Tonya Shevenell said in a recent interview in downtown Damariscotta of her father, Ray Shevenell, who stars in “The Home Road.” “It was walking all the way from Canada to Maine. He wanted to do it ever since he was a young kid.”

In “The Home Road,” Tonya Shevenell films and photographs as her 74-year-old father walks the nearly 200-mile route that his 19-year-old great-great-grandfather likely would have taken 170 years prior from Compton, Quebec to Biddeford via the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire and the woods of western Maine. Tonya Shevenell’s film is visually very pleasing, thanks in large part to the beautiful natural terrain that her father traverses on his “shank’s mare” – traveling by his own legs – journey. It is also aurally beautiful, thanks to a sensitive, lush soundtrack created and performed by Wiscasset composer and musician Sumner McKane, who is also a filmmaker. Tonya

Tonya Shevenell reflected upon her movie, describing it as a coming-of-age story, a migration story, and a film about moving forward. “A lot of the trek is just moving. My dad was always moving,” she said. “It’s a rolling show, like life.”