January 14, 2016

First Friday Film Series

The First Friday Film Series, hosted by Grayson LandCare & Church of the Good Shepherd brings documentary films to the public, complete with popcorn and panel discussions afterward.

First Fridays at 7:00 pm, April through August at Church of the Good Shepherd: 9441 Grayson Pkwy, Galax.

April 6th
Messenger: Imagine a World Without Birdsong

Su Rynard’s wide-ranging and contemplative documentary THE MESSENGER explores our deep-seated connection to birds and warns that the uncertain fate of songbirds might mirror our own. Moving from the northern reaches of the Boreal Forest to the base of Mount Ararat in Turkey to the streets of New York, THE MESSENGER brings us face-to-face with a remarkable variety of human-made perils that have devastated thrushes, warblers, orioles, tanagers, grosbeaks and many other airborne music-makers.

On one level, THE MESSENGER is an engaging, visually stunning, emotional journey, one that mixes its elegiac message with hopeful notes and unique glances into the influence of songbirds on our own expressions of the soul. On another level, THE MESSENGER is the artful story about the mass depletion of songbirds on multiple continents, and about those who are working to turn the tide.

In ancient times humans looked to the flight and songs of birds to protect the future. Today once again, birds have something to tell us.

May 4th
Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry

LOOK & SEE revolves around the divergent stories of several residents of Henry County, Kentucky who each face difficult choices that will dramatically reshape their relationship with the land and their community.

In 1965, Wendell Berry returned home to Henry County, where he bought a small farmhouse and began a life of farming, writing and teaching.  This lifelong relationship with the land and community would come to form the core of his prolific writings. A half-century later Henry County, like many rural communities across America, has become a place of quiet ideological struggle. In the span of a generation, the agrarian virtues of simplicity, land stewardship, sustainable farming, local economies and rootedness to place have been replaced by a capital-intensive model of industrial agriculture characterized by machine labor, chemical fertilizers, soil erosion and debt – all of which have frayed the fabric of rural communities. Writing from a long wooden desk beneath a forty-paned window, Berry has watched this struggle unfold, becoming one of its most passionate and eloquent voices in defense of agrarian life.

Filmed across four seasons in the farming cycle, LOOK & SEE blends observational scenes of farming life, interviews with farmers and community members with evocative, carefully framed shots of the surrounding landscape.  Thus, in the spirit of Berry’s agrarian philosophy, Henry County itself will emerge as a character in the film – a place and a landscape that is deeply interdependent with the people that inhabit it.

June 1st
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

How might your life be better with less? Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things examines the many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life—families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former
Wall Street broker—all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less. After its successful theatrical run, Minimalism, the #1 indie documentary of 2016. Share your favorite scenes using #MinimalismFilm on social media.

July 6th
A Small Good Thing

We’ve sought ease, comfort and wealth – but are people happier with more money? What is the science behind a good life? Following several people over a typical year, A Small Good Thing looks at the simple sources of human happiness.

What makes up a happy life? For the longest time, we’ve been living as though the more we have the happier we’ll be. Surprisingly, over the last fifty years, our standard of living has improved, but our happiness has not. A Small Good Thing follows three main stories – Jen and Pete, an idealistic, young couple who have just purchased land to farm, Tim, an Iraqi vet who uses yoga and cycling to keep addictions at bay, and Shirley, a community organizer who works with urban youth in a city overwhelmed by heroin addiction and blight. Over the course of a year, the film follows them through the inevitable ups and downs of life. To gain insight into the lives of Jen, Pete, Tim and Shirley, the film looks at the science behind our need to be in community and near nature – that it’s crucial to human well-being, not some luxury to be reserved for vacations.

August 6th
Grow Food

Documentary filmmakers seek to charge a global movement with one big idea: growing food can fix a majority of the world’s problems. GROW FOOD, a powerful story about local heroes bringing abundance to their communities will inspire and activate the multitude to join in and be the change we wish to see in the world. It is a documentary about you, me, and the current state of our planet – but most importantly it is about solutions – the solution – Grow Food. It may sound strange, but it turns out the solution to most of our environmental and health problems is right beneath our feet – soil.Did you know that a large portion of the CO2 in the atmosphere actually came from the soil? Did you know that plants grown and managed in a biologically conscious way can put that very carbon back into the soil?!

By growing healthy food, which creates healthy soil, we are able to decrease carbon in the atmosphere! What happens when plants and microbes build healthy soil? We have more resilient food systems, cleaner water, cleaner air, a better world. Not to mention fewer toxins in our food and environment!
One simple act for so many benefits on so many levels!

Independently filmed over the course of a year, GROW FOOD takes an unprecedented and intimate look at how people in the movement are bringing healthy food to their community. It is not only a deeply personal story but one with real-world utility for communities struggling with food security and low food quality worldwide.