Farm Film Fest 8, the eighth annual afternoon film festival devoted to farms and farming takes place at the Crandell Theatre in Chatham, NY, on Sunday, March 13, from 1 to 4 p.m. The annual afternoon festival shows films that educate and entertain about farms, farming, farmers, and farming issues. The event is cosponsored by the Chatham Film Club, Chatham Agricultural Partnership, and Columbia Land Conservancy.
Admission is free with a requested donation of a nonperishable food item to the Chatham Silent Food Pantry (cash donations accepted). After a Panel Discussion and Q&A with local farmers, the festival is followed by a free “Meet Your Maker” reception at the Peint O Gwrw, 36 Main Street, with snacks featuring local foods (complementary) and a cash bar. The reception is an opportunity for farmers, filmmakers, and movie goers to mingle.
As in the past, the program is a mix of films made by professional and amateur filmmakers who respond to the call for entries; the films are selected by a panel representing the sponsoring organizations. This year’s lineup includes films about local farmers and those with a national perspective.
Films from Columbia County and neighboring counties in New York State include “Howard’s Farm,” which profiles an 86-year-old farmer from Marlboro; “Food for Thought, Food for Life,” filmed in part in Columbia County at Hudson Pines Farms, established by Margaret and David Rockefeller; and “The Cream Rises: Local, Sustainable Milk from the Hudson Valley,” which includes footage of Ronnybrook Farm and the Hudson Valley Fresh cooperative. Another film shot nearby is “Massachusetts Farm,” which shows how farming is a vital influence on the landscape, economy, and culture in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts.
“Forward Farming: The Next Generation of American Agriculture” explores the theme of young farmers with a look into the life of a 22-year-old farmer, Wade Benards. The film documents Wade’s journey, showing the challenges and opportunities of a young farmer during this crucial time in American agriculture. Other young farmers are seen in “I’m Farming and I Grow It!,” a YouTube parody by the Peterson Farm Bros (Greg, age 25, Nathan age 22, and Kendal, age19). Exploring farming in the city, “The Perennial Plate Episode 81: Farming State of Mind (NYC) profiles a variety of urban gardening initiatives in New York City.
The longest film, at 50 minutes, is “The Greenhorns” by filmmaker and former Hudson resident Severine von Tscharner Fleming. The farmer-filmmaker-activist spent two years criss-crossing America, meeting and mobilizing a network of revolutionary young farmers resettling the land. The Greenhorns is an ode to their grit and entrepreneurial spirit, an exploration of sustainable agriculture, and an enticement to reclaim our national soil. Included is footage from all regions of the United States, as well as original animation by young urban farmer and artist Brooke Budner and rare agricultural archival footage from the Prelinger Archives.
In the concluding Panel Discussion, Peter Paden, Columbia Land Conservancy Executive Director, moderates a discussion with local farmers, including time for Q&A. Panelists include Chris Cashen (The Farm at Miller’s Crossing) and Dan Mannis (Common Hands Farm).
The Chatham Film Club, a 501(c)(3) member-supported nonprofit organization, owns and operates the Crandell Theatre, 48 Main Street, Chatham, and produces the popular FilmColumbia Festival each October. For more information on Farm Film Fest, visit http://chathamkeepfarming.org/FarmFilmFest.html.