Champlain Lanes bowl-a-thon supports inspiring movie

From left: Mark Utter, who bowls twice a week in Shelburne, poses with Champlain Lanes owner, Mike Longe, the brain child of the “I am in Here” bowl-a-thon.  Photo by Melanie Webb

From left: Mark Utter, who bowls twice a week in Shelburne, poses with Champlain Lanes owner, Mike Longe, the brain child of the “I am in Here” bowl-a-thon. Photo by Melanie Webb

After filming a scene for the movie “I am Here” at Champlain Lanes last summer, owner Mike Longe passed a business card to Emily Anderson, the film’s producer and co-director. The card read, “Call me about having a bowl-a-thon. I will help. I think we can raise some good money.” Longe stuck by his words.

The “I am in Here” Bowl-a-thon is being held at Champlain Lanes on Sunday, March 10 at 11 am and 2 pm to raise money to put the final touches on the 30-minute movie and assist Mark Utter in taking his message on the road to colleges, high schools, film festivals, and communication conferences.

There are people who are unable to verbally communicate their thoughts. This was Utter’s experience for most of his life until he was introduced to a form of alternative communication called “Supported Typing.” Using this method, Utter wrote the screenplay for “I am in Here” that VSA Vermont filmed last summer and will premiere on March 16 at Burlington’s Main Street Landing Center for the Performing Arts.

“I am in Here” reveals Utter’s unique observations of our world that have been trapped in his head for a long time. This day-in-the-life movie uses humor to highlight the contrast between people’s perceptions of Utter and the intelligent man trapped inside.

Champlain Lanes is the perfect setting for the next phase of “I am in Here” fundraising. Bowling alleys are a common destination for many people with developmental disabilities. Utter bowls twice a week and chose to include a scene from this part of his life in the movie. “People are moving beyond the ‘R’ word but we are not giving up bowling. Each week a lot of joy takes place under the auspices of this well noted and joked about institution.”

Truly, there is no need to give up bowling. In fact, the “I am in Here” Bowl-a-thon hopes to expand the fun and friends. Due to Utter and Anderson’s successful awareness raising efforts for “I am in Here,” interest and enthusiasm exist in a broad cross section of the community.  In the spirit of fun fundraising, prizes will be awarded for scores, money raised, best costume, and more. To register as a bowler please visit www.firstgiving.com/364487/i-am-in-here-bowl-a-thon.

In the spirit of “fun-raising,” the first 25 bowlers to register for the “I am in Here”Bowl-a-thon will receive a personally inscribed copy of Jernigan Pontiac’s book, “Hackie 2.” Pontiac is an author and storyteller who became a supporter of Mark Utter’s project during its successful Kickstarter campaign.

For more information about the “I am in Here” Bowl-a-thon or to host a screening of the film, contact Emily Anderson at (802) 655-4606.  To make a contribution, visit VSA’s website www.vsavt.org.

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