Seen through the eyes of family farmers in southwest France, AFTER WINTER, SPRING is an intimate portrait of an ancestral way of life under threat in a world increasingly dominated by large-scale industrial agriculture.




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In the Périgord region of southwest France, a rural community grapples with a profound question: will it be the last generation of family farmers in a region continuously cultivated for over five thousand years?

AFTER WINTER, SPRING is an intimate study of these French farmers as they struggle with that issue. Shot over three years, the film captures the daily lives of Nanou, Guy and other neighbors with deep roots in the Périgord. At their kitchen tables and in their fields, these family farmers communicate a profound attachment to the land. But the film's characters also share their day-to-day challenges and their fears that small-scale operations such as theirs may be no match for the multitude of 21st century threats.

In an era of rapid growth of mega-farms, the encroachment of suburbia, new European Union rules, and reductions of agricultural subsidies, these farmers – young and old – are forced to confront challenges that threaten the very existence of their small farms.

Their story is recorded by one of their neighbors, an American filmmaker who grew up on her family's farm in Pennsylvania. Inter-weaving her story and theirs, the film explores the nature of the farming life and the changes, over the last 60 years, that impact the lives of families whose survival is tied to the land. As each of the farmer's stories unfolds, we see their individual responses to change...the losses and the surprising adaptations.

The Périgordine farmers show us that as agriculture moves out of the hands of families who have farmed for generations and into a model of "agriculture as business," something fundamental shifts. This farming community caught between tradition and an uncertain future struggles to hold on not only to their farms but to a set of values that comes of their intimate relationship with the natural world. AFTER WINTER, SPRING reveals the human story of family farming at a turning point in history.

74 minutes

In French and English, with English narration, English subtitles
SDH Captioning for the Deaf & Hard-of-Hearing

Directed and Produced by Judith Lit
Associate Producer: David Hurst
Cinematography: Stéphane Carbon
Editor: Jennifer Chinlund
Original Music: Todd Boekelheide

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Screening options (with license to charge admission):
$100 Small Community Screening (1-50 people)
$200 Medium Community Screening (51-100 people)
$350 Large Community Screening (100+ people)


"I love this film. AFTER WINTER, SPRING is a beautiful and intimate look into the lives of contemporary French peasants who heroically struggle to maintain the dignity of traditional, tactile ways in an age of EU homogenization." 
Richard McCarthy, Executive Director, Slow Food USA

"A personal and deeply moving story...AFTER WINTER, SPRING shares first-hand accounts of the daily struggles and simple pleasures of those who still make their living from the land...As we push to maximize farming efficiency and output it is important to understand what we lose in the process. This is a thought-provoking film for anyone interested in the future of farming and food, but especially important for today's young, aspiring farmers and food-policy activists."
Sean Clark, Associate Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Director of Berea College Farm, Berea College, Co-editor, Fields of Learning: The Student Farm Movement in North America

"In an era of films pointed in their messages and short on subtlety, AFTER WINTER, SPRING compels the viewer to reconsider the costs of 'progress' through a deft weaving of spectacular pastoral landscapes and fragile agricultural traditions. The villagers' vignettes beg to be more than echoes of a receding past, as one small village tells a global story in its own quiet way."
Philip Ackerman-Leist, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Director of the Farm & Food Project, Green Mountain College, Author, Rebuilding the Foodshed: How to Create Local, Sustainable, and Secure Food Systems

"Achingly lovely...From the idealistic couple starting a tiny organic operation to the 88-year-old vintner/philosopher...are marvelous. Facing tough times, they love their animals and their land with inspiring hope."
Bethany Jean Clement, The Stranger

"It's a film that shows the challenges facing traditional farms everywhere. A realistic and sensitive film, it offers a true picture of the life of farm families struggling to make a living by working the land. It deserves a wide audience."
Robert L. Carlson, United Nations Special Ambassador, International Year of Family Farming

 

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