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Allen Heirloom Farm Documentary – trailer

Today I want to share the theatrical trailer that I created for the documentary.

We started filming in April.  I was supposed to follow Christina Allen around her farm – shadow her.  At that point most of the plants were still in little tiny containers or flats in the greenhouse.  The garden itself was ready, with twenty years of rich soil from wise planting and composting.  I used my Sony NX5U and Canon 5D MKII.  I’ve filmed gardens and garden weddings, but from the first day, this project was a brand new experience in many ways.

Christina made me feel welcome from the very first day of filming.  She was used to giving tours of the farm and answering lots of questions from people of all ages.  She’s passionate about the farm and can talk off the cuff about it.  From the first day she has comfortably talked about heirloom crops and animals, about making a smaller footprint on the environment, on being good stewards of what we’re given.  Her plants grow huge and abundantly.  The animals follow her and seem to love hearing her speak words of encouragement to them.


A side benefit of this project has been the opportunity to photograph and film beautiful scenes to my heart’s content.  The land at the farm is covered in all things beautiful and nearly all edible.  Often even the things growing in the cracks of the sidewalk are edible and often are volunteers, as Christina calls them.  That means they are plants that were planted as seeds in years past, but they volunteer to come up again in the years to follow.


Even the smallest of plants has use and is valued.


I’m intrigued by even the simple things at the farm.  This old farm table is set with favorite things, useful things.  The Allen’s use only cotton napkins and most of them are handmade by Christina from cotton that she grew, Frank combed, and then Christina spun and wove.


The soap that they wash their hands with before sitting down to eat was made by Christina.  The documentary talks about each of these topics and many more.

Play time with Frank and Christina is special.  They like to bike along the trails in Southern Maryland and go rowing in the boat that Christina herself made.  When people ask Frank where he got the boat, he tells them Christina made it.  They don’t believe it.  She’s thinking about knitting a boat.  She says that the inside of the boat is made of thin wood.  It’s the outer coating that makes it sturdy and watertight.  When they row their knitted boat and people ask where they got it, they’ll believe Frank when he tells them his wife made it.  I want to be there when that happens.


While out on the water, we tossed out the anchor and had a picnic.  Other times we just stopped rowing (or paddling, in my case, since I was in a kayak) and Frank would read aloud to Christina, who was busy crocheting washcloths to wrap around hand-made soap.


On Wednesday (yesterday) we hired musician, Joe Norris, to create the music for us.  He brought his guitar with him and played a song for us.  It brought tears to our eyes and we knew it was the song we needed.


I suppose I ought to leave some of the story for telling in the documentary.  The filming will go on for a long while yet.  I need to capture every season.

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