Posted on May 9, 2013
Posted on May 9, 2013
Written by: Zev Robinson, Director of Arribes: Everything Else is Noise
I had always lived in large cities, and food, like any other product, was something bought in stores and supermarkets. Outside of whether it was organic or not, had too much sugar or salt or additives, I never gave it much thought, a reflection of the experience of most urban dwellers divorced from the experience of how food is produced. With a Spanish father-in-law who owns and works vineyards, who has arthritis from decades of heavy, physical work, who many times has had half his crop destroyed by a hail storm or early frost, I remember buying a bottle of wine once in London, and thinking that no one understands all that goes into making it.
Even after moving to a small village in rural Spain seven years ago, the experience was more or less the same — most food is still purchased at the local market or supermarket. We do get some fresh vegetables from my father-in-law’s garden, lend an occasional helping hand during harvests, but really aren’t involved in producing food. Many, especially the older generations, still have gardens, a few have chickens, there’s still a shepherd who kills a sheep or two for his own food, but people buy most of their own food today. Younger generations have moved to cities, looking for a more comfortable life and better paying and more prestigious jobs. More prestigious because of an inverted sense of values of an urban society, one separated from the vital importance of food and agriculture without which we cannot live, let alone live healthy lives.
Arribes, an isolated region in NW Spain where the main town has about 3,000 inhabitants and with small villages of 50-100 people living in stone houses with small doorways that you have to stoop under to get through, was completely different than anything else I had encountered, including in the many areas of rural Spain that I had visited. There, people produce 80-90 percent of their own food and it is one of the few remaining places in Western Europe that is a sustainable ecosystem, using and recycling almost all of what is available to them.
I returned there about six times in four years, each visit a discovery with new and unique material, and each visit altered my own understanding of life. I went to interview an elderly couple who never owned a tractor or car, and someone mentioned a smuggler so off we went searching for the right person to include, finally finding someone who had swum across the river as a boy in the 50′s and who had never agreed to be interviewed before. And on it went, one thing connected to another. The smuggler took goats across the river to Portugal, perhaps ones that the shepherdess had tended as a girl instead of going to school which was what she dreamed of. Most of the food in the restaurants is produced locally, and toil and uncertainty goes into every dish. When people speak of “terroir”, it tastes of sweat and tears.
Food is the most important product we consume and the most important issue in our life, yet ironically, it is the one we generally pay the least attention to in terms of where it comes from and how it is produced. More time and energy is spent worrying about car, clothes, and computer purchases. Making Arribes: Everything Else is Noise altered not only my perspective on food and its production, but my basic values as well. I still spend most of my time concerned with film and art, but the inverted values of urban now been righted, with the understanding that food and agriculture is the basis for any other type of existence.
A sustainable future, having a planet that can feed us but that is presently under threat, is tied to how we deal with these issues, and Arribes is a prime example of sustainability along with the problems it faces, with lessons that can be applied elsewhere. Because of my experience in making the film, I have gone from being somewhat interested in these issues to trying to make it the prime focus of my documentary work, and am developing other projects with similar concerns.
Posted on April 8, 2013
Dark Hollow Films is pleased to share this article from the Clyde Fitch Report, written by our very own Jesse Veverka — of the Veverka Brothers — producer/directors of Malana: Globalization of a Himalayan Village.
We are happy to announce the release of four great new docs this spring:
Arribes Everything Else is Noise is a brand new documentary from Zev Robinson. It’s an intimate portrait of the lives of the inhabitants of Arribes, an isolated region of Spain, where self-sufficiency is a way of life. Producing 80-90% of what they eat and recycling everything, they show us a powerful, living example of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and environment we can all learn from.
Ridin’ for the Brand, Stepanie Alton’s fantastic documentary, addesses the challenging environmental and economic issues that are making it nearly impossible for smaller ranching and agriculture operations to remain sustainable. Journaling a year in the life and times of three old-time Montana ranching families, the film explores the issues impacting their future as farmers and our future as consumers.
Forgetting Dad is Rick Minnick’s award-winning case study of dissociation, parental abandonment, and family enmeshment in mental illness told from the point of view of a son whose father’s amnesia presented a mystery to doctors and family members. Watching the film is like seeing a riveting mystery unfold.
We Are In the Field is a documentary film by Gabriel Diamond that shows just how powerful one small team can be when it sets out to educate through involvement. It invites the viewer into an important discussion about poverty and its impact on the environment and human and animal rights. Continue reading…
Posted on March 10, 2013
Kat Cheairs reports that the March 2nd Atlanta premiere of her documentary, Ending Silence, Shame & Stigma: HIV/AIDS in the African American Family, was an incredibly moving experience for all who participated. Continue reading…
Posted on February 20, 2013
Written by Kat Cheairs, Director of Ending Silence
There was a feeling of quiet contemplation amongst the audience as the end credits played for Ending Silence, Shame & Stigma: HIV/AIDS in the African American Family on January 17, 2012, in Washington, DC. The idea for a collaborative community screening was born between George Kerr, executive director of START at Westminster in Washington, DC and me when we met at the Creating AIDS Competent Churches and Church Leaders Conference in Atlanta. Ending Silence had its first public screening at the Conference, which was sponsored by Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary and took place from November 29 through December 1, 2012. George and I had discussions in December about doing a screening in Washington, DC during the MLK/Inauguration Weekend. Three weeks of non-stop planning and promotion lead to the successful premiere of Ending Silence in Washington, DC!