Friday, October 17, 2008

HomeGrown: a film about a 21st century family farm in the middle of the city

A Documentary About Modern Day Urban Homesteaders
For screening venue information visit

HOMEGROWN (2008) follows the Dervaes family who run a small organic farm in
the heart of urban Pasadena, California. While 'living off the grid’, they
harvest over 6,000 pounds of produce on less than a quarter of an acre, make
their own bio diesel, power their computers with the help of solar panels,
and maintain a website that gets 4,000 hits a day. The film is an intimate
human portrait of what it’s like to live like ‘Little House on the Prairie’
in the 21st Century.

Director's Statement

"Many people are becoming aware of the environment. We may have gone to see
‘An Inconvenient Truth’, changed our light bulbs, or started to recycle
more. But how many of us are really walking the walk’ I know I’m not.

When I heard about the Dervaes family, I sensed that there was a human story
behind the headlines about global warming or buying organic produce. I
wanted to find out what it takes to live the life of an environmental
pioneer. I don’t wish to simply glorify or romanticize their way of life,
however. I want to show that along with the positive benefits there are also
sacrifices. Truly living by your ideals can have costs. I believe that
recognizing the hardships the Dervaes have faced makes their work all the
more inspiring.

HOMEGROWN is ultimately a family story. It’s about what lead them to where
they are today, what changed them and what keeps them together. Perhaps by
learning of their journey to a sustainable life style, we might be inspired
to take our own first steps."

About Robert McFalls

Early in his career he was an associate editor on ‘American Dream’, the
Barbara Kopple documentary, which won the Academy Award in 1990. That
experience helped him to see what a broad reach a well-crafted documentary
could have. He recently edited a documentary feature on the Dalai Lama,
which is now screening at festivals around the world.


The beautiful music for this documentary was performed by our great American
homegrown musicians Jay Unger & Molly Mason.

Jay Ungar and Molly Mason are best known for their haunting composition
Ashokan Farewell in Ken Burns’ hit PBS series ‘The Civil War’’. The
soundtrack won a Grammy and Ashokan Farewell was nominated for an Emmy.
They’ve garnered legions of fans through their appearances on ‘Great
Performances’, ‘A Prairie Home Companion’, their own public radio specials,
and work on film soundtracks such as ‘Brother’s Keeper’, ‘Legends of the
Fall’, and a host of Ken Burns documentaries.

About the Family

The Dervaes Family (Jules, Ana’s, Justin & Jordanne)

Since the mid 1980s, Jules Dervaes and his family have steadily worked at
transforming an ordinary residential lot in Pasadena, California into a
verdant oasis in the midst of the city. On their small fifth of an acre they
are striving to be a self-sustaining urban homestead complete with bio
diesel power, solar energy, and wastewater management. These eco-pioneers
grow much of their own food and raise a menagerie of chickens, ducks, goats,
and an occasional cat. They have been the subject of numerous articles in
newspapers around the country, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles
Times and were recently featured on ABC’s Nightline. You can learn more
about them at their website:

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