The Cinema Verde Film and Arts Festival once again presented some real film treasures on the big screen here in Gainesville. No doubt some people might think that movies about the environment must be painful to watch and depressing, and so a person might hesitate to see these movies. True, they ALL remind us or reveal to us some sad truths, but every year there have been wonderfully humorous and inspiring movies that no one should miss.
For me, the first year it was Dirt (full length and now free at hulu.com), last year it was Truck Farm, this year it was Mad City Chickens. This movie is about the burgeoning passion of keeping chickens in your backyard – like GLOB local sustainabilty maven, Val Leitner does. Mad City Chickens focuses on the growth of this passion in Madison City, Wisconsin.
One of the things I LOVED about this movie was the humor. Parts of it were done like introductions to The Twilight Zonein black and white with a Rod Serling look-a-like saying, "Submitted for your approval."
By the end of the movie, it is clear that raising backyard chickens is the perfect revolt against mass food production. Indeed, one of the several stories wound through this movie had a very happy ending -- that of Consuela the chicken. She is a chicken who had been gased and left for dead at a dump because the factory farm she had "served" determined her egg laying days were over. She miraculously survived and was spotted wandering around the dump by a person like you or me. She was then rescued, restored to health (although her comb never was the same again as you can see from the picture above), and given a place in the backyard. She is now producing some very tasty eggs for her rescuers.
Essentially, that's what all the Cinema Verde movies are – a celebration of life. It's about us and our sand box. That's what makes them all wonderful and worth seeing whether they are humorous, scientific, shocking, or inspiring.
Trish Riley, the director of the Festival, and her dedicated volunteers, deserve a big bravo for creating and continuing to develop this special event for the past 3 years and -- hopefully -- many more years, as more and more people become supporters and fans.
- Lynn Dirk, GLOB Content Editor