A Touch of Color

This week we entered one of the finalizing stages- color correction. Lead by the skilled hands of Gary Coats, we fixed red noses and over exposed shots- we toned down colors for broadcast and looked for scenes that didn’t match. Onwards towards completion- on! on! on!


Another update on the elongated finishing stages of a Symphony. Today, our esteemed editor Vivien Hillgrove, handed in the fine cut of Symphony of the film. This is the beginning of the end. All our crew are glowing at this idea. Five years in the making plus, we are one step closer to completion. Next… graphics, animation, music, color correction and….. you get the picture.

Are we there yet?

If we imagine the film making process as a family road trip- we are at that point in the trip where the kids in the back seat are pushing their feet into the back of their parents chairs- and constantly asking, “Are we there yet?”

Folks, after nearly 5 years in the making, the next few months till completion seem to stretch on before us ad-infinitum. There seem to be a an inordinate amount of tiny, precise processes that must be carried out in a specific order, lest we stall. Final cuts, graphics, color correction, music, sound mixing… the list goes on. I swear, one doesn’t realize, but for every credit on a film, there are a hundred phone calls, a thousand emails, and hours of racking ones brain.

So, for all of you fans-to-be who have emailed in the last month with questions like “when will it be done?” and “how close is it?”… We’ll give you a lolipop if you just chill for a bit, and take your feet of the back of our chairs- we’re almost there.

– By Jessy Beckett

Racing toward the Finish Line

Today at Lily Films, we are lining up one of the final steps in the film-making process, pre-screenings. At this point in the film making process, everyone on the film team has seen the cut so many times, it’s hard to distinguish what end is up and what end is down. Additionally, we’re so in love with the film as is, it’s hard to imagine it changing, even if the length continually ekes over our mentally set length limit.

So, we are calling in back up. Several teams of fellow directors, producers, editors, soil scientists, and aggies will be viewing the film over the next few weeks around the bay area, giving feedback on where to trim and what parts inspire them most.

We’re looking forward to this first round of formal feedback. Another leap closer to the finish line!

– By Jessy Beckett

Stone Barns

Stone Barns is one of those places where we wish the world could exist. It’s beautiful, the air and water are clean, the people are healthy, and need we mention- the food is amazing.

Stone Barns Green House

 DP John Chater Filming a taste test with the apprentices at Stone Barns
– By Jessy Beckett


In the middle of the desert, hours from the center of Cairo- is an Oasis. Lush fields of camomile, calendula, and oranges. Date palms line the roads, expansive lawns run to the edge of the large white buildings.

Sekem which means “vitality from the sun” in ancient egyptian, is a company and campus dedicated to naturally grown products and sustained community development. The company produces skin care products, tea, baby toys, cloths, processed, and non processed food stuffs.

They do all of this biodymically, employing thousands of members of the community around their main site, as well as 8,000 small scale farmers around the country.

Filming Children in their half-day job (the other half they are in school),picking organic camomile

At their headquarters they have a school, mosque, workshops, and a medical clinic that are all free for their employees and the surrounding community. Everyone who worked for them that we saw, and met, and filmed, was happy, healthy, and educated- a huge contrast to the rest of the country. The food and products that are produced by Sekem is top quality, and most of it is exported to Europe markets.

What we saw at Sekem was what can happen when a company understands that to take care of the people is to take care of the soil, and visa versa.
– By Jessy Beckett

The Palouse

Filming in the Palouse was a constant reminder of how rich our country’s soils really are. For hundreds of miles, in every direction, lay these golden green rolling hills of wheat. As far as the eye could see. Our host in the Palouse, renowned soil buff Dr John Reganold, never failed to point out the value of these highly productive loess soils, brought in by wind from the prairie to the west and south.

Crew and John Reganold on  Butte in Easter WA

Soils like this, he reminded us, are what the US has built its empire upon. Without owning the majority stock of the world’s productive soils, we would not have the world prowess that we have today. Rich soils give us the ability to not only feed ourselves, but also be one of the largest exporters of two of the world’s staple crops; corn and wheat.

One of the best parts of the shoot was when John took us to a giant road-cut, to see the different layers of soil that supports the relatively thin layer for loess top soil. If you look real close beneath our feet you can see a tiny strip of dark top soil. A stark reminder that however rich in soil the US and eastern Washington may be, the most productive soils are just a thin layer- the skin of the earth.

– By Jessy Beckett

Patrick’s Praxis

Patrick Holden is a man of two lives.

In one life, he is the Director of the Soil Association, an organization that functions as both the UK’s premier organic certifying agency, as well as a ‘charity'(as non-profits are called in England) that lobbies for, and educates about, the benefits of healthy soil. In this life he is a public persona- appearing regularly on the BBC and working directly with the Prince. He lives in the city. He wears a suit.

In the other life, Patrick is a farmer. He raises dairy cows for milk and he just built a new cheese making facility. He grows the largest carrots you’ve ever seen in your life. He lives in an ancient farm house. He has four small boys. He prefers work boots and a vest.

By walking between these two lives, Patrick Holden has created praxis, meaning that he practices, embodies, and actualizes the concepts that he speaks about in his public work. When we filmed Patrick on his farm both sides of him were present. His ease with public speaking and his comfortability with complex subjects came through beautifully. But when it came down to it, what supported the whole shoot and every thing he said, was the underlying confidence Patrick has when he puts his hands into his soil and pulls up his bunch of carrots- the confidence of praxis, the knowing that he is truly grounded in his work.

Director Deborah and Farmer Patrick on Pasture
– By Jessy Beckett