Filmmaker captures the life of Readsboro’s Nick Zammuto
by Jack Deming
Sep 26, 2013 | 5602 views | 0 0 comments | 405 405 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nick Zammuto
view slideshow (2 images)
READSBORO- High on South Hill in Readsboro lives a man with a balancing act. Nick Zammuto is an artist, digging new sounds out of the things that make up his world, taking them on tour where the musician makes his dues. But he is also a family man, a father of three, dwelling in a sanctuary of sustainable living in the mountains of Vermont, in his words, “passing on his genes.” He is part acclaimed musician-workaholic, part loving father and husband, two sides to a man that Matt Day weaves through his 15 minute mini-doc “Shape of Things to Come,” showing at the Independent Television and Film Festival this weekend.

“Shape of Things to Come” portrays the multiple capacities of Zammuto’s attention span, filmed in two segments, one in summer 2011, the other in January 2012. Juxtaposed with the contrasting seasons are two evolutions. The first, his family and the birth of a third son, Cy, to accompany his sons Sept and Asa. The other, Zammuto’s musical activities, from playing with PVC piping and vinyl records to tour-rehearsing in his tool-shed-sized studio, and culminating with a live performance at Mass MoCA. It’s a heartwarming glimpse not found in the slew of musically biographic content constantly released. The combination of the musical and family evolutions is what filmmaker Day of Wondermind Pictures says makes the subject of his film optimal.

“It’s about a family man with a passion,” said Day. “I tried to juxtapose his very clear love and devotion to his family with his devotion to his music. Some of his music is dark, some is really loud, and some very frenetic in some places, and it’s interesting to see that come out of his mind, while the shot (of film) before that, he’s playing records with his kids.”

Day began working with Zammuto after using two songs from Zammuto’s now defunct duo with Paul de Jong, the Books, in a short piece on a day in the life of sculptor Clark Derbes. The film was selected for the Vermont International Film Festival, and Day followed this up with a series of eight-minute documentary films, “The Naked Musicians,” and asked Zammuto to be featured. The Zammuto piece would turn into “Shape of Things to Come” after Day spent a day at Zammuto’s South Hill home in Readsboro, filming his life, and decided it needed some expansion as Zammuto booked a tour with his new band, simply called Zammuto.

“Shape of Things to Come” shows the holistic value of Zammuto’s ability to channel his sometimes eccentric ways of creating sound with his surroundings of splendid isolation, as well as who he surrounds himself with.

“The film very much tied together why we chose to live here,” said Zammuto. “It was about being somewhere to spread out, grow food, and let our kids out the door anytime they wanted. It’s an essential part of my life at this point to live and work in Vermont. Not everyone wants to live on a mountain and deal with the winter and the manual labor, but it represents a dream to a lot of people to get away and live off the grid a little bit, and Matt did a good job capturing it.”

Day began his filming career in 2010 at Burlington Community Access television and has since started two production companies, including his most recent, Serious Clown Productions. “Shape of Things to Come” has been featured at the Fargo Film Festival, the United San Francisco Film Festival, and the Vermont International Film Festival, and was a special jury prize winner at the Napa Valley Film Festival in 2012.

For Zammuto, “Shape of Things to Come” goes along with his style of showcasing a comprehensive style with a humble approach. “Its not in my nature to seek out attention, I just love to play,” said Zammuto. “Recording, producing, and having cameras and microphones around is how I work so I lost apprehensions about being around them.”

Zammuto also said the collective, natural documentary style Day used inspired him to buy a camera for his own work. “People make music videos and that is essentially the way they get attention, and sometimes it goes viral. I don’t want to make music videos for You Tube, but for holistic value for the audience.”

With the attention the film has garnered since its debut in 2012, Day says his experience with Zammuto has left him a changed man. “As a storyteller it’s life changing,” said Day. “Because people respond well to it, it’s very rewarding and inspiring. It fuels the fire to keep making stuff. I’m not a guy who wants to climb a mountain so everyone can see me, I want to climb it so I can see the world.”

“Shape of Things to Come” will have multiple screenings at ITV Fest. For a complete screening schedule go to

Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet

Comment Policy

In an effort to promote reasoned discussion, transparency, and integrity in online commenting, The Deerfield Valley News requires anyone posting comments to identify themselves using their real name. Anonymous commenting will not be allowed. All comments will be subject to approval before posting, and may take up to 24 hours for approval to be granted.

We encourage civil discourse among readers, and ask that they be willing to stand behind their identities and their comments. No personal harassment or hate speech will be tolerated. Please be succinct and to the point. For longer comments, please consider submitting a letter to the editor instead. It will appear in both the print and online editions.

All comments will be reviewed, and we reserve the right to reject, edit or remove any comment for any reason. For questions or to express concerns feel free to contact our office at (802) 464-3388.