Biggest Little Farm documents optimists John and Molly Chester, and their dog Todd, as they trade their cramped Santa Monica apartment for 200 acres of farmland in Moorpark, California. Their dream is to build a traditional farm that coexists with nature—but they head out with no knowledge of farming.
Peter Rutkoff, professor of American Studies at Kenyon College, has selected another compelling film for us to discuss over brunch. Julie Dash’s short film Illusions may have been made in the 1980s but its message is no less relevant today.
In Paul Duane’s documentary While You Live, Shine, Duane introduces his audiences to the life of Chris King, one of the country's best-known collectors of vintage 78 records and immerses them in one of the oldest forms of Western music using King’s record collection.
One of the earliest adaptations of The Last of the Mohicans is also a classic of the American cinema from 1920, directed by Clarence Brown and Maurice Tourneur and adapted by Robert Dillon. James Fenimore Cooper’s 1826 best-selling historical novel, set during the French and Indian War, tells the story of two English sisters who encounter danger in the colonial American frontier around their father’s fort.
Bagages opens as a performance, but then turns the spotlight on newly arrived teenage immigrants studying at Paul-Gérin-Lajoie-d'Outremont High School in Montréal.The film offers fresh and open insights into passage, arrival, and assimilation into a strange and foreign environment—in this case, into our neighbor to the north, Canada. In Migration, by artist Yeon Jin Kim the camera is located in a small model train and travels through a desolate world. Although devoid of human presence, we see many different kinds of animals and slowly, as events develop, a possible narrative begins to emerge.
Dwelling in Greece, Dutch filmmaker Joost Conijn managed to worm his way through a hole in the fence of a migrant camp guarded by soldiers at a deserted airfield. Then in France, outside the notorious Calais ‘jungle’, he waited in a dark field with some newfound acquaintances for trucks going to England. Conijn boldly lives with and follows the inhabitants of several refugee camps—embracing no agenda or preconceived plan.
In Modified, filmmaker Aube Giroux and her mother embark on a personal and poignant investigative journey to find out why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are not labeled on food products in the United States and Canada, despite being labeled in 64 other countries around the world. Shot over a span of nine years, the film follows the citizen-led movement to label GMO foods.
Join us for brunch as Professor Peter Rutkoff (Kenyon College) once again leads a post-screening dialogue following the 28 minute film. A documentary on (arguably) the most important anti-Vietnam war demonstration of the 1960s, is focused on the march to the Pentagon in 1967.
Dutch landscape designer Piet Oudolf is one of the leading figures in the New Perennial movement, a recent trend in garden design encouraging the planting of herbaceous perennials and grasses to convey a naturalistic, casual appearance—a philosophy that evokes a more direct link with nature. Filmmaker Tom Piper in person
In Lovers of the Night, seven aging monks in a small rural Cistercian monastery in Ireland strive to keep their spiritual life and their fragile community going. Rendered Small reveals delicate structures to an audience that would not otherwise get to see them, while also conveying, in the words of the collectors, what it’s like “to live amongst so many treasures and, as a married couple, with each other’s obsessions.”
“In 1946, my great-grandfather murdered a black man named Bill Spann and got away with it.” So begins Travis Wilkerson’s critically acclaimed documentary, Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?, which takes us on a journey through the American South to uncover the truth behind a horrific incident and the societal mores that allowed it to happen.
Filmmakers Brian Kaufman and Kathy Kieliszewski in person
12th and Clairmount powerfully documents the 1967 Detroit riots—by all accounts the fiercest of the civil disturbances that occurred in America during the “long hot summer of ’67.” Using a massive range of archival newsreels, home movies, contemporary photographs, artwork, and interviews recorded on the spot, the film’s director, Brian Kaufman, creates a vivid portrait of a city on the edge of harrowing change.
Drawing on a rich archive of material from the period, along with riveting oral histories and the on-camera insights of scholars, writers, musicians, artists, religious leaders, and ordinary American travelers, the film explores the genre of travel literature aimed at helping black travelers navigate Jim Crow America.
Produced in the late 1930s when the industrial cities and towns of America were polluting the atmosphere at an incredible rate, The City, commissioned by the American Institute of Planners, promoted a romantic vision—the building of planned green cities such as Greenbelt, Maryland—and thus tried to encourage an exodus from overcrowded and “evil” cities to peaceful suburbs (following the film’s logic, these should emulate New England towns).
Tickets may be purchased at the door.
Mexico is rich with beautiful topographies and diverse ecosystems, but none is more fascinating than the cloud forest of Huatusco in Veracruz—“a hypnotic place,” according to one outsider, “a haunted landscape forever cloaked in mists and secrets.”
In the late 1970s hundreds of reels of nitrate film were found buried in the permafrost below a one-time public pool and hockey rink in Dawson City, Yukon, the site of the Klondike Gold Rush. This cultural treasure trove—which included long-missing Hollywood narratives and unique footage of events such as the 1919 World Series—became the source material for artist Bill Morrison’s extraordinary compilation Dawson City: Frozen Time—a riveting journey to a forgotten era that reveals the history of a community through a finely woven tapestry of ephemeral film fragments, historical footnotes and poetic storytelling.
The city of Amsterdam in Holland is famous for urban experimentation and one of its more successful recent projects has been the reclaiming of a polluted ex-shipyard known as De Ceuvel. A group of mostly young people from different walks of life took the initiative—with little financing—to turn this empty and contaminated piece of land into a living work and meeting place.