Meet Your Farmer, our series of films on 8 Maine farmers, airs again tonight on Maine Public Broadcasting at 10:00pm.
If you haven’t had a chance to see them yet, tune in! More information is available at MPBN’s website.
non-fiction film, from Maine
We’ve been lucky enough to get the support of many organizations and individuals for our first feature documentary, Betting The Farm, from Sundance to LEF to Chicken & Egg to, of course, our parents. But the latest is among the coolest: We’ve been invited to be one of seven film projects in Reel Food, a residential workshop organized by the folks at Chicken & Egg Pictures, Working Films, and Fledgling Fund.
Reel Food is a residential workshop that will bring together nonfiction media-makers who are telling powerful stories about food and agriculture with non-profit organizations that are working for healthy, just and sustainable communities. The intention of Reel Food is to hone filmmakers’ audience-engagement plans, seed collaboration and cross-promotion, and generate concrete partnerships between the documentary projects and NGOs.
After several years of filming (and intensive editing in recent months), we’re excited to have an opportunity to develop our outreach plans for the film. It’s exciting to imagine building a larger audience for this film with the help of some innovative organizations. Best of all, we get to meet and work with some amazing filmmakers. Can’t wait.
The Island Institute announced a brand new initiative today, the Island Coastal Innovation Fund. It’s a great concept—a fund that will provide loans and equity investment to businesses in island and coastal communities, as well as permit-banking for the Maine groundfish industry. We were happy to make a little video for them:
Produced by Cecily Pingree & Jason Mann. Edited by Josh Povec. Original music by Joe Nelson.
Check out the Island Institute’s website for more information about ICIF.
And be sure to check out and support all three great businesses in the video: Black Dinah Chocolatiers in Isle Au Haut, Penobscot Island Air in Owl’s Head, and Calendar Islands Maine Lobster from Chebeague.
From the release:
Filmmakers selected are working in 9 countries and represent a broad range of experience, including Academy Award-winning documentarians Roger Ross Williams and Frieda Lee Mock as well as first-time feature documentary filmmakers.
That’s us! Read the whole press release on the Sundance website.
Sara Archambault of LEF Foundation, who has been a steadfast supporter of our film Betting The Farm from the beginning, interviewed us for LEF’s blog the other day about the process of shooting the film, the relationships we’ve built with our characters, and our brief video summary of the MOO Milk story for the New York Times:
Sara: You are shooting BETTING THE FARM at a time when a number of films are coming out exploring our relationship to food. Your film is unique in that it looks closely at farmers as small business owners and entrepreneurs. Can you talk about why you chose to focus on that experience?
Cecily Pingree: There have been a number of excellent films about food and food policy in the last several years, and we’ve learned that audiences really respond to these issues. They are vital human concerns, and they resonate across geographical, socioeconomic and cultural boundaries.
But we never set out to make a movie about the larger political and environmental issues at all. We stumbled on this story when we met one of the MOO Milk farmers, Aaron Bell of Tide Mill Organic Farm, while shooting another project. From the very beginning, we were interested in this story because of the people involved. Character-driven stories are what we like to watch, and what we get excited about, so it feels natural to us to focus on the lives of these farmers and their families rather than, say, the complexities of dairy pricing. That said, hopefully someone else will make that film!
Think it’s interesting? Leave us a comment below or drop us a line!
This is exactly what we hoped for when we made the Meet Your Farmer films with Maine Farmland Trust: consumers learning more about the importance of preserving farm land for future generations, and how they can help simply by buying locally-grown food.
More than 60 people, including our friends at Tide Mill Organic Farm, showed up to a Wednesday night screening of Meet Your Farmer, with an accompanying discussion.
More from Sharon Mack of the BDN:
They also were able to meet each farmer and ask questions about their individual operations. Samples from the farms were available, along with information on the Farm to School Program, scythes, the Machias Marketplace and Maine Farmland Trust, one of the event’s sponsors. Other sponsors included Washington County: One Community, Downeast Coastal Conservancy and the Washington County Food and Fuel Alliance.-Bangor Daily News
It’s great to see some Downeast farms getting much-deserved attention, and business, from their neighbors.
Last week, we shot a short piece for Arts Engine and Teaching Channel about the awesome teachers at King Middle School in Portland, Maine. The school is amazingly diverse (students speak 29 different languages!) and is among the best schools in the state of Maine. We saw middle school classes doing field work on the beach in Biddeford Pool with marine scientists, producing their own plays at Portland Stage Company, and presenting research projects that analyzed a topic of interest and also explored ways in which statistical data can be (and frequently is) manipulated in the media. These are some smart kids.
Arts Engine, in addition to producing a wide array of independent media, is a fiscal sponsor of documentary films, including our upcoming documentary Betting The Farm.
I’m a little late in posting this, but John Bliss and Stacy Brenner—proprietors of Broadturn Farm, friends, and documentary subjects from Meet Your Farmer—were profiled in the latest edition of Mainebiz:
The CSA makes up the bulk of their income, but another roughly 30% comes from other lines of business they’ve developed, including floral design services and a popular summer camp in which potential “budding entrepreneurs” man a farm stand, Bliss says. “I joke that the farm is an advanced lemonade stand,” he says. Broadturn also hosts eight to 10 weddings a year, with guests noshing on food supplied by the farm and enjoying flowers picked on the property. “They see the cow being milked while they drink their cocktails,” Brenner says.
John & Stacy, in addition to running their CSA and raising lovely children, have a blog! You should read it right now! Our good friend Jon Courtney, timber-framer extraordinaire, is helping renovate their iconic barn, which will become Flora*Bliss at Broadturn Farm: “a farm stand and floral design studio space, selling organic produce, cut flowers and general farm goodness.” Scarborough and southern Maine shoppers, take note!
Also, tune in to see John & Stacy in the broadcast premiere of Meet Your Farmer, Thursday May 19th at 10:00pm on MPBN. Also airing at 11:00am on Saturday, May 21, for those of us who have infant daughters with early bedtimes.
We’re excited to announce that Meet Your Farmer, our series of short films about Maine farmers, will premiere on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network on Thursday, May 19th at 10:00pm. It will air again on Saturday, May 21st at 11:00am. More information about the screening is at MPBN.net and MeetYourFarmer.org
Meet Your Farmer is a series of eight short profiles of farms in Maine. Produced for Maine Farmland Trust, an organization that works to preserve farm land in Maine for farming use, the films offer a glimpse at the many different types of farms in the state.
From the potato harvest in Aroostook county, to the innovations of a seventh-generation dairy farmer in Western Maine, the short films remind viewers that farming is more than just a historical feature of Maine; farming in Maine is alive and well.
Meet Your Farmer was directed and produced by Cecily Pingree & Jason Mann, with additional editing and cinematography by Lindsay Mann. Josh Povec edited one of the films and color corrected the whole show. Joe Nelson (of The Toughcats) created the music with Lindsay Mann and mixed the audio.