Films: The Garden

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The Garden

The Garden

USA, 2008, 99 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Documentary, Drama, Nature, Social Issues
Program: Documentary Films
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Scott Hamilton Kennedy
Producer: Scott Hamilton Kennedy, (executive) Julie Bergman Sender, Stuart Sender
Editor: Scott Hamilton Kennedy, Alex Blatt, Tyson Fitzgerald
Cinematographer: Scott Hamilton Kennedy
Principal Cast: Tezozomoc, Rufina Juárez, Josefina Medina, "Don" Eddie Luvianos Rumbos

The focal point of Scott Hamilton Kennedy’s impassioned documentary is a fourteen-acre community garden (once the nation’s largest) in South Central Los Angeles. Following the riots of 1992, an embattled group of mostly Latin-American immigrants known as the South Central Farmers turned the corner of 41st and Alameda into a repository of civic pride, planting there beans, corn, papaya trees, and more—along with seeds of hope for their families. But five years ago, a rich developer began making plans to raze their oasis and thus their dreams.

In The Garden, producer-director Kennedy takes us through the corridors of City Hall, where a secret deal to sell the land may have been struck, and he smartly navigates the transactions, manipulations, and racial grievances that define urban politics. But in the main, he introduces us to ordinary people fighting the good fight against the system—farm leaders like Tezozomoc and Rufina Juárez, former Black Panther Deacon Alexander, and garden founder Doris Bloch. Meanwhile, civil-rights lawyer Dan Stormer proves the personification of his surname.

Like Kennedy’s earlier documentary, OT: Our Town (SDFF 25), which chronicled the production of Thornton Wilder’s enduring play at a high school in notoriously tough L.A. neighborhood Compton, The Garden thrives on a keen observer’s sure sense of place—even (or precisely) in the midst of ongoing social conflict.

Sponsor:

In cooperation with Denver Urban Gardens

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