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If you leave the familiar coastline behind and travel inland, you’ll find yourself in a different Maine: the Maine of fields, farms, work and dirt. It’s a place that most tourists never see—it is, as the locals say, the real Maine.

Josh Osborne was raised here on his family’s third-generation dairy farm in Farmington, where he worked with his mother, father and two sisters. Pulled out of school in the sixth grade, Josh’s world narrowed until all he knew was the dairy farm. Josh, who knew he faced a life of hard labor, accepted it because he knew he had found his life’s purpose. As an uncle once said, “Once your ass hits the tractor seat, those days are just as long as a full-grown man's.” Josh worked on the farm seven days a week for a dozen years, on the premise that the farm would someday be his.

But things didn’t turn out the way he hoped they would. His father died unexpectedly and his mother went back on her word. This is why on a beautiful summer’s day a 22-year-old farm boy found himself aiming a rifle at the woman who gave him life.

Josh Osborne, with his back to the camera, walks down a dirt road with fields on either side and a farmhouse and woods in the distance

Documentary filmmakers Michael Chandler and Sheila Canavan became interested in this young dairy farmer from Farmington when they came across an article published in a local newspaper entitled, "Some in Town Support Man Accused of Shooting Mother." Their interest piqued, these filmmakers immediately began investigating the story and what lay behind it.

Shot over a period of two years, KNEE DEEP’s dark humor shows that truth is often stranger than fiction. Behind the true crime story lies a heartbreaking, too-often-seen tale of the loss of open space and farmland to development.

Drawing from verité footage, home movies, interviews, police tapes, crime scene videos, love letters and re-creations, KNEE DEEP asks the question: Why would a son try to kill his mother?

The answers are surprisingly tragic and comic.


Filmmakers Michael Chandler and Sheila Canavan provided an update in August 2008 on what some of the people featured in KNEE DEEP have been doing since filming ended:

Josh Osborne (the farmer) is still working the farm he leases and is living in his aunt’s camp. His herd has now doubled to a hundred and fifty.

Donna Enman (the girlfriend) has moved to Ohio, has three children and is engaged to be married.

Robin and Pat Chase (the pie lady and the pie lady’s husband) continue to take the once-yearly, weekend vacation to Boothbay Harbor that gives them a chance to get away from the hard work of the farm. Every year on their way to the harbor they stop by the side of the road and fall asleep from exhaustion.

Related Links and Resources

Explore the film’s official site and learn more about the film and the filmmakers.

American Farmland Trust
Get the latest news and campaign information from this nonprofit membership organization dedicated to farm conservation.

Sheepscot Valley Conservation Association
Discover a nonprofit land trust and advocacy group intent on the conservation and restoration of 320 square miles in mid-coast Maine.

Maine Farms for the Future
Learn about a business assistance program helping Maine farmers stay afloat.

The Moenkopi Group
Learn about the filmmakers’ nonprofit site dedicated to the preservation of open spaces.

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