How far would you go for your beliefs? For a group of rural Alabama pacifists in 1950, whose faith and ideals clashed with American militarism, the answer was Costa Rica, a country that had just abolished its army. Sweet Home Monteverde is the surprising and inspiring story of the US Quakers who immigrated to a remote mountaintop cloud forest where they ultimately conserve a unique ecosystem that has now become both a magnet for ecotourists and a harbinger of climate change.
Marvin Rockwell was sentenced to a year and a day in prison after refusing to register for the 1948 military draft. Just ten days after his release in 1950, he and some 40 other Quakers from Fairhope, Alabama set off to find a peaceful place to settle outside of the U.S. They chose a remote mountaintop in the Costa Rican cloud forest they named Monteverde. Marvin, now in his 90s, recalls the journey and narrates the story of the group’s pilgrimage. On screen, he is joined by Mildred Mendenhall, Mary Rockwell, and Lucky Guindon, three other founders who also recount their experiences as young adventurers and seekers of religious freedom. Educator Max Carter and historian Robbie Lieberman expand the conversation about the political and religious impact of the era, and biologists Nalini Nadkarni and Debra Hamilton explain Monteverde’s unique biodiversity and cultural diversity.
Producer Bill Adler lived in Monteverde from 2012-15 and co-founded and served as news director of its community radio station. Director/Editor Robin Truesdale has won numerous awards for her video and documentary work (including a regional Emmy) and specializes in stories that celebrate diversity, peace, and the wisdom of elders.