The Saltiest Chips



In the forest of Underhill, Vermont, 17-year-old Mateo joins his peers for a two-week pagan-style Rite of Passage retreat which claims to help teens transition into adulthood.

Encouraged into a freeing and unpredictable level of consciousness through trance dance, breathwork, self-isolation and play, the scars of Mateo’s tumultuous past year come to the fore.

As the retreat climaxes with a night spent alone an unsheltered in the woods, Mateo begins to understand what parts of his teenage self he will have to leave on the trail if he is to move on.



Writer/Director/Editor/DP - Joseph Shawyer


Joseph Shawyer


Joseph Shawyer is an English documentarian based in New York City who creates documentaries exploring rituals of belonging and community. His MFA thesis project 'The Saltiest Chips' explores a modern rites of passage retreat for teenagers in rural Vermont. He has also completed principal photography for ‘Running with Tito,’ a feature-length documentary on the Yugoslav national celebration, the Relay of Youth.

Before enrolling at City College of New York, Joseph spent ten years working in media production for humanitarian-sector NGOs across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe.

2024 FILMS

  • Sky Colored Grass
  • The Saltiest Chips
  • Las Quitapenas
  • Mokshyam
  • A Little Holiday
  • It Happened In August
  • Hard of Hearing
  • Find Me at the Dinner Table
  • The Crossbow