Over a decade, Dryland traces two childhood best friends’ quest for victory in a rambunctious, quirky contest, while pursuing their passion for farming.
Repurposed wheat harvesters wage steel-shearing battle in the Lind Combine Demolition Derby, bolstering the town through dry years and economic uncertainty.
As Josh leads JAWS into victory, he’s defeated in his lifelong bid to preserve the family’s legacy, and must leave home to find work.
In this arid, amber land, place forges identity and labor fuels dreams.
Can the optimism, tenacity, and ingenuity required to farm—and to derby—bring Josh home? In a visceral duet of work and play, Dryland offers a coming-of-age tale with intelligence, heart, and axle grease.
- Sue Arbuthnot - Producer, Director
Sue Arbuthnot is an independent filmmaker with a BFA in Sculpture from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland,
Oregon, and an MFA in Film Production from Columbia University in New York. Her documentaries have been broadcast on PBS affiliates and
have shown in festivals internationally. Hare in the Gate Productions, LLC, her company with partner Richard Wilhelm, creates independent
and commissioned film, photography, design, and multi-media interpretive exhibits. Sue recently joined with Richard, Jon Knight, and renowned
author Kate Wilhelm, in forming an independent publishing company, InfinityBox Press, LLC. Sue is a Faculty member at the Northwest Film Center
in Portland and a Board Member and Founding Member of the Portland Chapter of Women in Film.
- Richard Wilhelm - Producer, Director
Richard is a photographer, filmmaker, graphic designer, and multi-media exhibit designer with a BFA and MFA in Visual Design and Photography
from the University of Oregon. In the early 1970s, Richard’s pen and ink illustrations were included in renowned author and editor Damon Knight’s
Orbit Anthologies, joining interests in art and publishing. His photographs have been shown around the country since the mid-1970s. His Seattle-based
company, Beckett Publishing, offered graphic design and publishing, until he joined with Sue Arbuthnot to form Hare in the Gate Productions.
Richard has taught photography and design at the University of Oregon, Elderhostel, and the Oregon Photography Workshop. With partners Sue Arbuthnot,
Jon Knight, and celebrated author Kate Wilhelm, Richard founded InfinityBox Press, LLC in 2011.
- Music and Sound Design
- Mark Orton - Composer
Composer, musician, and multi-instrumentalist, Mark has worked with Tom Waits, Willie Nelson, Laurie Anderson, and the Kronos Quartet,
among many others. He was a chief engineer at The Knitting Factory in New York during its heyday. His film scoring credits include
The Good Girl
, The Real Dirt on Farmer John
, The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond
and Everything is Illuminated
Mark performs in three groups: Tin Hat
, The Steel Trio
, and Imaginary Icebergs
, and also provides arrangements
for radio, fine art installation, and the circus.
- Michael Gandsey - Sound Design
Gonzo is a sound recordist, designer, editor, and engineer, producing and editing audio for a diverse array of media since the 1970s.
From live concerts to interpretive museum exhibits, to short and feature films, Gonzo has worked with directors such as Gus Van Sant
and Kathryn Bigelow. His film credits include: Far From Heaven
, Finding Forester
Good Will Hunting
, Point Break
. For Hare in the Gate Productions, Gonzo has produced Post-Production Audio for
, Imagining Home
and Proving Up & Settling Down
- Josh Knodel
Josh, oldest of three brothers, embraces a lifelong ambition to continue his family’s four-generation legacy of farming in the dryland wheat
country of Eastern Washington. Fulfilling his other lifelong dream, Josh competes in his first combine demolition derby with JAWS, a week
after his high school graduation.
- Matt Miller
In addition to working on his family’s wheat farm, Matt started a successful business while still in high school,
repairing older combines for regional farmers and selling parts. Matt’s first turn at the helm of JAWS is in the 2004 derby.
- Jerry Knodel
Jerry operates Knodel and Sons Farm, a fourth-generation dryland wheat farm in Adams County, Washington.
He is active in researching crop feasibility studies and field tests, in cooperation with Washington State University's Extension Service.
- Grant Miller
Grant operates Miller Farms, a third-generation wheat farm in Adams County, Washington, with son Matt. He is President of the
Board of Directors of the Ritzville Warehouse, one of the oldest farmer-owned grain cooperatives in Washington.
- Additional Cast
Debbie Knodel, Knodel & Sons Farm
Amy Miller, Miller Farms
Karlee Miller, Miller Farms
Nancy Miller, Miller Farms
Mike Doyle, Derby Official