(CHATHAM, N.Y.) – Three farm-related films shot in Columbia County will be screened at Farm Film Fest 9, the 9th annual afternoon film festival devoted to farms and farming, at the Crandell Theatre on Sunday, March 19, at 1-4pm. The annual afternoon festival shows films that educate and entertain about farms, farming, farmers, and farming issues both local and national. Admission is free with a cash donation or nonperishable food item for the Chatham Silent Food Pantry.
The short film, “Next Stop Chatham,” produced by the Chatham Area Business Alliance, gives a unique aerial view of Chatham, with footage of the surrounding farmland as well as the Crandell Theatre. “60 Tortillas!” is about learning what it takes to grow enough wheat to make one tortilla every day for a year. The film, by Gretchen Wall, features local musicians.
The third local film, “Grazin’s Grassfed Burgers: A Small Diner Aims to Make the Cleanest Burger You’ll Ever Eat,” showcases “the world’s first farm-to-table direct 100% Animal Welfare Approved grassfed and finished burger joint” in Hudson, N.Y., owned by Andrew Chiappinelli. Filmmaker is Liza de Guia.
Beyond Columbia County, “The Beekeeper” is a short film shot in the San Francisco Bay area. Boulder beekeeper Tim Brod shows the value of high quality honey and the importance of maintaining our relationship with the honeybee. Filmmaker is Spencer Sarson.
Several films focus on current trends in farming nationwide. “How Does It Grow? Potatoes” shows how potatoes grow in a farm such as Staron Farm, the largest potato grower in Columbia County. Filmmakers are Nicole Coltroneo Jolly and Mark Jolly. “How Does It Grow? Hydroponic Spinach” explains how spinach grows even in the dead of winter. Locally, the Berry Farm grows many vegetables year round through its extensive hydroponic farming operations.
In “Milking Robots,” Irish dairy farmer Rory Delany shares his experiences with robotic milking machines and his transition from beef to dairy farming. Locally, A. Ooms and Sons Dairy Farm has converted their operation to robotic milking. Produced by Golden Mean Media and thatsfarming.com.
The feature film, “Forgotten Farms,” provides a glimpse into the past and a vision for a future regional food system. The documentary shows the cultural divide between the new food movement and traditional farming. Through conversations with dairy farmers and policy experts, it highlights the need to examine differences, develop mutual understanding, and find common ground. Filmmakers are Dave Simonds and Sarah Gardner.
A panel discussion with filmmakers and farmers follows the screening. Panelists include Sarah Gardner, producer of “Forgotten Farms” and associate director of the Center for Environmental Studies, Williams College; Brian Chittenden (Dutch Hollow Farm, Stuyvesant); Eileen Wallding (Whistle Down Farm, Claverack); and Will Yandik (Green Acres Farm, Livingston). Moderator is Peter Paden, executive director, Columbia Land Conservancy.
After a panel discussion and Q & A with local farmers, the festival is followed by a “Meet Your Maker” reception at the People’s Pub, 36 Main Street, with snacks featuring local foods (complementary) and a cash bar. The reception is an opportunity for farmers, filmmakers, and moviegoers 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 –– the Chatham Film Club, Chatham Agricultural Partnership, and Columbia Land Conservancy.
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.