A testament to the immense complexity of nature, The Biggest Little Farm follows two dreamers and a dog on an odyssey to bring harmony to both their lives and the land. When the barking of their beloved dog Todd leads to an eviction notice from their tiny LA apartment, John and Molly Chester make a choice that takes them out of the city and onto 200 acres in the foothills of Ventura County, naively endeavoring to build one of the most diverse farms of its kind in complete coexistence with nature. The land they’ve chosen, however, is utterly depleted of nutrients and suffering from a brutal drought. The film chronicles eight years of daunting work and outsize idealism as they attempt to create the utopia they seek, planting 10,000 orchard trees and over 200 different crops, and bringing in animals of every kind– including an unforgettable pig named Emma and her best friend, Greasy the rooster. When the farm’s ecosystem finally begins to reawaken, so does the Chesters’ hope – but as their plan to create perfect harmony takes a series of wild turns, they realize that to survive they will have to reach a far greater understanding of the intricacies and wisdom of nature, and of life itself.
The Elephant Queen is a documentary film following a herd of African elephants in Kenya, led by one matriarch, over the course of a year. A class screening of this film may complement a curriculum in environmental science, especially wildlife, conservation, and biomes/habitats.
Taught in conjunction with this guide, the film will encourage students to think about the importance of animals and nature, and preserving our natural world.This study guide is intended to flexibly support educators in preparing for and following up on a class screening of The Elephant Queen. Support materials are intended to facilitate group discussion, individual and collaborative creative exercises, subject-based learning and access to resources for further investigation of material. Educators are encouraged to adapt and abridge the content as necessary to meet their unique learning objectives and circumstances.
Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America is a feature documentary that takes an intimate look at the journey and struggle of LGBT refugees and asylum seekers from Africa and the Middle East as they flee persecution in their countries to seek better and safer lives in the United States. The film follows Junior (from the Congo), Subhi (from Syria), and Cheyenne and Mari (from Angola) beginning with their arrival to the United States. Although each story is unique, there are common threads of struggle, survival, vulnerability, hope, and resilience as they navigate the process of building a life in the United States. Unsettled:Seeking Refuge in America is a rich and layered film that brings to the forefront the vulnerability of LGBT population around the world and the challenges of making a home in a new country when you are alone and dependent on a system with limitations and the kindness of strangers.
Taught in conjunction with the curriculum guide, Unsettled: Seeking Refuge in America will challenge students to take a closer look at the struggle and traumas experienced by the film’s subjects and to think critically about their own biases while expanding their knowledge on the global refugee crisis and LGBT rights worldwide. Discussion questions and supplementary materials facilitate further research into related topics such as LGBT Rights Movement, Universal Human Rights, Technology for social good, and the power of education, art/film to affect positive social change.
Q Ball is a feature documentary that takes an intimate look at the lives of players of the San Quentin Warriors team. The story’s focus on rehabilitation and the road to redemption. A class screening of this film may compliment a curriculum in history or social studies, specifically around student activism, prison justice movements, and current events.
Taught in conjunction with this guide, the film will encourage students to think about the importance of finding a supportive community, perseverance, and acceptance. Students will also be prepared to learn more about activism.
Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy is a feature documentary that introduces audiences to the esteemed chef who is an expert in Mexican cuisine. Kennedy’s charm and no-frills attitude reveals how passion and appetite can build a lifelong career.
A class screening of this film may compliment a curriculum in history, world cultures, Latin American studies, and food studies. Taught in conjunction with this guide, the film will encourage students to think about other cultures and their own lives and career paths. Students will also be prepared to learn more about activism.