Two graduate students from Columbia University are bringing some Lake Champlain folklore to the big screen.

Samantha Glass and Bruno Rubeiz created The Ballad of Fred Fort, a short film that follows the fictional character on his search for Champ, the Loch Ness Monster of Lake Champlain.

“He’s dedicated his life to finding this one lake monster, and he finds a piece of evidence that connects his family to the legend,” Glass said. 

The legend of Champ began in the 18th century with accounts from Native Americans living in the area that describe a large, horned serpent of snake living in the lake.

Rubeiz, the director of the project, learned about Champ at a young age in Brazil when he saw the famous photo taken in 1977 by Sandra Mansi. “Growing up in Brazil I always say that the Loch Ness Monster was my favorite fairy tale, and when I started doing research on that when I was a kid, I quickly discovered Champ, who I would say after Nessy is the most famous lake monster,” he said.

The film is around 14 minutes long. Glass said they received support from the City of Plattsburgh and local organizations like the Strand Center for the Arts. Glass and Rubeiz hope to present the film at film festivals across the country and continue to grow the legend of Champ.

The film is set to premiere at the Strand Center for the Arts in Plattsburgh in the summer of 2023.