UPDATE April 4: The following tour dates for ‘The real dirt on Farmer John’ are now confirmed. Farmer John Peterson and director Taggart Siegel will be present at each advance screening and hold a Q&A after the movie.
- Sunday, April 6 - Hollywood Cinema, Sumner (ChCh) 4:45 PM (03) 3266102
- Friday, April 11 - Suter Gallery, Nelson 6:30 PM (03) 548 4699
- Sunday, April 13 - Wellington Penthouse Cinema 7:00 PM (04) 3843157
- Tuesday, April 15 - Cinema Gold, Palmerston North 6:00 PM (06) 353 1902
- Wednesday, April 16 - Cinema Gold, Havelock North 6:00 PM (06) 877 9016
- Friday, April 18 - Academy Cinema, Auckland 6:30 PM (09) 373 2761
- Saturday April 19 - Academy Cinema, Auckland 6:30 PM (09) 373 2761
… you might ask. At least, that’s what I asked myself last night when we were waiting for Farmer John to arrive at our house for dinner. As Diane informed me, he is not only a passionate farmer, but also a flamboyant personality, author and film star.
But let’s back up a bit and start a few weeks back when Diane first met Farmer John in our teahouse. One of the side effects of offering a sanctuary (yes, Farmer John also used that exact term last night to describe the teahouse and I’m sure he didn’t read my post on this) like the teahouse in the rather bland hospitality landscape of Christchurch is that we meet many remarkable people. And many of these people end up at our dinner table, like Korean artist Kim Sang Soo did just 2 weeks ago. What usually connects us with them is a vision, a deep care for humanity, a desire to offer something personal and important to the world and our community.
Anyhow, Diane instantly connected with Farmer John and ended up inviting him for dinner.
The main reason for this post is the upcoming preview screeing of his movie The real dirt on Farmer John, so I included the trailer (if you are reading this post via email, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqP1SC5Tr7U to watch the trailer).
There are different versions and I’ll give you a quick overview. Let’s start with
The media image
… a likable oddball, a rebel you can get behind. (Los Angeles Daily News)
… eccentric farmer (TV Guide’s Movie Guide)
He has the rough hands of a hard-working farmer but the soul of a reflective poet … (Capital Times)
… farmer, performance artist, author and, at times, a flamboyant thorn in his neighbors’ side (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Farmer John is a incredibly amiable human being and has a truly inspiring personality. Although he has gone through many hardships and has endured setbacks that would have caused many of us to give in, he has an infectious sparkle in his eyes and a laugh that shrugs off all bad experiences from the past. He is gentle, sincere, sharp and - above all - incredibly optimistic and positive. He’s managed to restore some hope for society in me as I’ve been struggling with the realization of the looming escalations of peak oil, climate change and general society disintegration since following the discussions for about a year now.
Despite the short time we spent together, we formed a deep connection and feel very fortunate that our paths have crossed.
His film The real dirt on Farmer John
Director Taggart Siegel and Farmer John have achieved quite a feat with their documentary: over 30 awards worldwide and innumerable accolades from movie critics prove that their unusual story of Farmer John’s mission to farm on the land his family had farmed for generations has struck a chord. The film is a motivating story about an individual standing up against the encroachment of farms run by corporations, trying to maintain a sense of community and individuality where machines and anonymous efficiency are the norm. According to Farmer John, the film is not about bio-dynamic farming (he converted his farm to bio-dynamic agriculture in 1990) but rather about one man’s journey to follow his intuitions, to pursue his mission. It’s a poetic declaration of love and devotion to the land he works on; it’s a spark of inspiration in times where most people are overwhelmed with environmental and economic downturns.
Whether as Elton Farmer John (ploughing the field with a feather boa and outrageous suit) or buzzing around in a bee costume (in the Bug Music video), Farmer John is not your ordinary farmer. Eccentric? Yes. Entertaining? Absolutely. Sincere? Most definitely!
We’ll be most fortunate to experience Farmer John live here in Christchurch (and a host of other selected towns in New Zealand, refer to his website for dates), attending preview shows before the official New Zealand release on 17 April. The date, venue and screening times for Christchurch are not confirmed yet (tentatively Monday 7 or Tuesday 8 April), but watch this space for updates!
To whet your appetite a little more, here’s what some high profile people have to say about The real dirt on Farmer John:
3.5 out of 4 stars. A loving, moving, inspiring, quirky documentary. (Roger Ebert)
Unbelievably special…a real and gripping story with insight and humor. (Al Gore - yes, the former Vice-President)
The film evolves into a deeply moving metaphor for the struggles of an entire generation. His triumphant story is essential for all of us city folk who have found ourselves despairing for the Earth and what has seemed like our inevitable alienation from it. (Mark Achbar, director of “The Corporation”)