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THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM

Synopsis

THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM chronicles the eight-year quest of John and Molly Chester as they trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature.Through dogged perseverance and embracing the opportunity provided by nature's conflicts, the Chestersunlock and uncover a biodiverse design for living that exists far beyond their farm, its seasons, and our wildest imagination.Featuring breathtaking cinematography, captivating animals, and an urgent message to heed Mother Nature’s call, THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM provides us all a vital blueprint for better living and a healthier planet.

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The Filmmakers

John Chester Director

John Chester has been a filmmaker and television director for the last 25 years. His recent short films for OWN’s Super Soul Sunday (including Saving Emma, Worry for Maggieand The Orphan) have won five Emmy Awards, for outstanding directing, writing, and cinematography, among others. Chester first reached a wide audience with his primetime television docu-series on A&E, Random 1, which he directed and starred in in 2006. The series then inspired his feature documentary Lost in Woonsocket, which premiered at SXSW in 2007. Chester also directed the documentary Rock Prophecies,about legendary rock photographer Robert Knight, which won three audience awards for best documentary feature and was distributed nationally on PBS in 2010. Alongside his feature documentary work, it was the time he spent traveling the world as a wildlife filmmaker with Animal Planet and ITV Wildlife shows that inspired his interest in the complex interworking of ecosystems—a curiosity that serves him well on Apricot Lane Farms,the biodynamic and regenerative farm he and his wife started in 2010.

Sandra Keats Producer

Sandra Keats is a documentary producer, whose work focuses largely on environmental and social issues worldwide. Sandra recently co-produced the feature documentary Eating Animals,directed by Christopher Quinn and produced with Natalie Portman and Jonathan Safran Foer, based on Foer’s critically acclaimed book of the same name. The film premiered at the 2017 Telluride Film Festival, and was recently distributed theatrically by IFC Films/Sundance Selects. Sandra was also a co-producer on Lauren Greenfield’s documentary Wealth: The Influence of Affluence (Sundance 2018/Amazon Studios), and prior to that co-produced the 2012 Sundance Audience Award-winning documentary short The Debutante Hunters,and Participant Media’s Misconception (Tribeca 2014)—her second feature documentary collaboration with Oscar-winning director Jessica Yu and producer Elise Pearlstein. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Sandra began her career in documentaries as an associate producer on Participant Media’s Last Call at the Oasis,which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and Berlin International Film Festival prior to a theatrical release in 2012.

THE LATEST FROM @BiggestLilFarm ON TWITTER

RT @aaronstash: Watched .@BiggestLilFarm on my .@united flight. It’s the perfect analogy of the climate crisis. Fix one thing and a new pro…

Retweeted from @Aaron Stash

October 17, 2019

RT @Laurie_David: S0 proud of @biggestlilfarm making the shortlist. IDA Awards: Documentary Feature and Shorts Shortlists Announced #bigges

Retweeted from @Laurie David

October 10, 2019

Saturday, 9AM: John says good morning to the guardian dogs, who've been hard at work protecting the farm all night.… https://t.co/iO9cNHmcDm

August 31, 2019

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Festivals & Awards

Telluride Film Festival

2018

Seven years ago, John and Molly Chester left their comfortable urban lives to start a farm from scratch, using traditional methods: cover crops, zero pesticides, diverse fruits and vegetables and a variety of animals. As they share their profound, intimate story, we see the emergence of an entire ecosystem, born of wonder, frustration, backbreaking labor, creativity and grim necessity. We also are treated to the birth of 17 piglets. The Chesters’ film celebrates the essential goodness of nature’s organic processes, while capturing all the bumps, dead ends and grief that greet the two relative novices with a dream. It’s a remarkable instance of hands-on, homemade filmmaking that connects us to farming—the work and the joy of it— and a celebration of the potentials of regenerative agriculture. That’s something we all need. The health of our planet depends upon it.

– Alice Waters and Larry Gross

+ Festival Website

Toronto International Film Festival

2018

Filmmaker John Chester and his wife Molly Chester, a culinary writer, trade city life to start their own farm on a stretch of depleted soil outside Los Angeles. Part of their inspiration is to offer a better, outdoor life for their rescue dog, Todd. Moreover, they want to live in better harmony with nature. Many of us hold similar dreams, but John and Molly put them into action.

John chronicles their efforts for more than eight years in this sweeping epic of twists and turns related to the creation of Apricot Lane Farms. As neophytes, John and Molly enlist a consultant, Alan York, whose vision is to raise an array of crops and livestock. Alan cautions that it will take seven years before they fully realize their potential. During that wait, they face mounting obstacles: coyotes, insects, bad weather, and disease, like a modern-day Little House on the Prairie. Most farmers would respond with pesticides, extermination, and concentration on a single crop. But following their guru, John and Molly remain steadfast in their commitment to working with nature, not against it.

Teeming with stunningly beautiful images of flora and fauna — and a pregnant hog that will melt your heart — The Biggest Little Farm is a testament to idealism. For urban viewers, it's a necessary confrontation with how our food is grown. It's also a family adventure, full of suspense and emotion that will leave a lump in your throat.

- Thom Powers

+ Festival Website

Sundance Film Festival

2019

Since its debut at the 2018 Telluride Film Festival, The Biggest Little Farm has charmed audiences and critics alike with its chronicle of one couple's trial-and-error attempts to build a farm in harmony with nature.

It all began with a dog named Todd. Filmmaker John Chester and his wife, Molly, a private chef, promised their rescue dog a happy life, but their Los Angeles apartment just isn’t cutting it. So the couple decides to take a leap of faith and realize a long-held dream. Locating a patch of land outside the city—and a veteran farmer to shepherd them through the process—they set about building Apricot Lane Farms. As the couple faces a seemingly endless cascade of challenges from weather, predators, infestations, and disease, John documents their setbacks—and progress—over eight years.

Beautifully filmed to capture the impressive scale of the undertaking and featuring unforgettable characters of both the two- and four-legged variety, The Biggest Little Farm is an inspiring ode to uncompromising idealism and a graceful reminder of the magnificence and resilience of the natural world.

+ Festival Website

Reviews

[THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM] may ... revive your wonder at the weird but ultimately awe-inspiring ways in which humans can help nature do its work.”

-The New York Times

Winning [and] warm-hearted ... A thoughtful and often profoundly moving portrait of the remarkable work involved in producing mindful food — and an eloquent reminder that so much of what we take for granted on our plates is, in its own everyday way, a miracle.”

-Entertainment Weekly

Winning.”

-Los Angeles Times

In its modest way, THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM offers hope, and even suggests a way forward.”

-San Francisco Chronicle