The Quietest Year

Stowe, Vermont | Film Feature


Karen Akins

1 Campaigns | Vermont, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $21,405 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

167 supporters | followers

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The year 2020 was unquestionably one of the quietest times in a century, yet THE QUIETEST YEAR illustrates how noise pollution, that so many were subjected to while trapped at home, is not just an irritation but rather a full-blown public health and environmental justice crisis too long ignored.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

Raising the level of awareness about noise and its health implications to jumpstart a discussion about how we can all make the 21st century quieter than the last is our goal.

The Story

After years as a community activist in Austin, Karen just wanted some peace and quiet for herself and her young family.

So, they moved to the beautiful state of Vermont...

But she learns the hard way ...

"People move to escape noise, and by moving they always find it."-Garret Keizer

While there are no billboards to detract from the state's beauty, she discovers that Vermont is the wild west of noise regulations and that protection of the acoustic environment is not a priority in the state, despite its strong laws protecting the visual environment. 

Vermont is America's noise canary-in-a-coal-mine and has some of the weakest exhaust noise laws in the country. Karen's new hometown has no noise ordinance, and there is talk of a new fighter jet to be based nearby, in the most densely populated area of the state. 

Introduce pandemic stay-at-home orders, obnoxious truckers engine braking, leaf blowers, fighter jets, and the next-door neighbor adding a rooster to his rapidly growing herd of farm animals... all corralled in a tiny, downtown, backyard... mere feet from Karen's not-sleeping ears.

And now that her award-winning, documentary, El Susto, is in distribution...


Our favorite Karen (as it were) presents to you:


The Quietest Year, a feature-length documentary on the health, psychological, and social dangers of noise exposure. And never has it been more important to tackle this important issue.

We've filmed all of our experts and now we're in post-production (our most expensive phase), where we put it all together, make it look and sound great, and get it out to film festivals where we can spread the message and potentially "get distribution" so it can be presented to the world and make a real impact.

We've set our goal at the minimum to get the film to "picture lock" with original music. But in reality we'll need to keep the project going. The more money we can raise, the better the doc will be... more funds equals more editing time to refine and tighten, better graphics, more archival clips, and things that make a huge difference like audio mix and color correction. Then, of course, there's always the task of marketing the film once it's finished, which can be as much work as making the film. 

Please enjoy our crowdfunding trailer (above), peruse our fun incentives, and become a supporter of this important project.

And while you're at it, please follow us on your favorite social media site and spread the word, by copying and pasting the following note into your post:
Join me in supporting this exciting documentary about the very real health dangers of noise! They are so close to completing the film and spreading the word about this serious public health issue (and they have some fun incentives for contributors). Help them make a little noise... ABOUT NOISE!


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0


Costs $14,000

We have to cut all the footage together and, for a documentary, this takes a lot of time and money.

Music and Sound

Costs $5,000

A documentary without music and sound?


Costs $1,000

All those dramatic factoid-cards, titles, and graphs don't just make themselves!

About This Team

Karen Akins, Director/Producer

Karen Akins is an award-winning documentary film director, with a passion for public health. Inspired by a volunteer medical mission to Mexico, her first documentary, EL SUSTO, about the politics Type 2 diabetes in Mexico is a cautionary tale about the harms of sugary drinks.  A trained urban designer, with an MSc. in City Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics, she is interested in how the built environment interacts with community cohesion and health. 


Sandra Guardado, Editor

Guardado works as a documentary editor/producer. She was coordinating producer on George Wallace: Setting’ the Woods on Fire, (won an Emmy for research). Guardado edited/co-produced the POV documentary Last Man Standing on a contentious political race in Texas. Guardado co-edited When I Rise, on an African American opera singer’s small part in the civil rights struggle for Independent Lens. She was an editor on the CNN Original Series High Profits on the legalization of marijuana in Colorado. Recently, Guardado edited the feature-length documentary Becoming Leslie on Leslie Cochran, a homeless man and one of Austin’s most famous celebrities (the film premiered at SXSW) as well as EL SUSTO, her first collaboration with Karen Akins.  She is currently editing two feature-length documentaries, The Quietest Year and The Trouble I See.

Michael Fisher, Cinematographer

20 years of experience in film production. Cinematographer, Editor, Gaffer, and Key Grip for narrative, documentary, commercial, and music video. Director of over 50 narrative short films.



Jim Picariello, Assistant Producer, Writer

Jim's a screenwriter and filmmaker breaking into the industry from rural, coastal Maine. It's a surefire plan! Jim's scripts are high-placing (Nicholl/Black List), he's a 2-time Pitch Finalist at the Austin Film Festival, and a Stowe Story Labs alum. His short films are Official Selections and winners at wicked-fancy film fests. Jim even made one for Sesame Street!



Devin Rice, Sound/Music

Devin is a director, cinematographer, nature photographer, editor, animator, and composer, among other specialties. He's worked on a wide range of projects, including social, nature, and politically-minded documentaries and narrative films. 




Chris DeMars, Camera/Graphics

Ethan Geiger, Camera

Carly Myers, Asst. Producer


Current Team