By Jessica Domel
Knowing that I often blog about food and food-related issues here, a friend of mine asked me a few months ago to sit down with her and my dad and watch a documentary on the food industry and American farmers and ranchers. My dad got about halfway through the film before walking outside, partly because he’s not used to sitting indoors that long, but partly because, as a man who’s worked on a farm most of his life, he couldn’t watch it anymore.
After a few minutes of tinkering around outside and gathering his thoughts, he came back in and explained everything he thought wasn’t right about the documentary. We had a pretty lengthy discussion about how we felt the film was skewed to make farmers and ranchers look malicious, and I actually learned a lot that I didn’t already know.
We later finished watching the documentary and then he went back to work because there’s always something that needs to be done on the farm.
My dad’s not a big fan of documentaries, and he’ll tell you that. Quite frankly, it’s not my favorite genre either, but lately one has caught my attention. I even blogged about it a few months ago.
I think it’s actually good enough that we can get my dad to sit down and watch the whole way through, and that’s a pretty tall task for any film.
You see, Farmland is a film that takes the viewer through the lives of six American farmers and ranchers, both conventional and organic, from across the U.S. If you watch the trailer on the Farmland website, you may notice that one of the documentary subjects, Brad Bellah, is from Throckmorton County, Texas. He and the other subjects, through the eyes of Academy-Award winning director James Moll, talk about what it’s like to be the first, fifth, sixth or even seventh generation farmer just trying to make it. We see their triumphs and their failures.
It doesn’t feel like a documentary, and I like that. It feels like you’re just following these men and women through their day and talking to them about what it’s like. It’s an honest portrayal of the people who have sacrificed their days and their nights to ensure I’ve got food on my table. And that’s something I’ll get behind.
Farmland debuts in Austin, Houston and Wylie on May 1. It will play in Dallas and Graham on May 8. Tickets go on sale on FarmlandFilm.com one week before the documentary debuts. Hope to see you there!