WILLIAMSTOWN, MA, February 28, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- A Home Movie, a story about a farming community told through the experience of the Rhodes family of South Williamstown, Massachusetts, is about cows, crops and struggling to subsist through adversity. Documentarian Bette Craig got to know four generations of the family after buying their original farmhouse in 1979. The spine of the film is an interview with Lillian Rhodes done in 1983 about coming to the farm as a young bride in 1921 when she married Robert Rhodes whose parents bought the farm in 1875.
The idea for the project first came to Craig years ago when she and husband Charles Portz first discovered "under seven layers of linoleum covering the dining room floor-old calendars, magazines, sheet music, farm equipment brochures and newspapers, including a 1906 New York Journal headlined 'Rockefeller A Mental Wreck'. It was like time travel," said the filmmaker.
In the course of making A Home Movie Craig interviewed many family members still living as neighbors on part of what had been the 300-acre dairy farm-each with a different view of their personal experience. "Lillian Rhodes used to come over for visits when we were covered with paint and hard at work on the house. When I brought out packaged cookies to go with the tea I served her, she said 'oh, you don't bake'. But when she realized that we treasured the house, too, she shared her memories of living there for 50 years and raising nine children on what they grew themselves," said Craig.
The farm and close relations provided a solid foundation for current family members like Lillian's eldest grandchild, Off-Road Motor Sports Hall of Famer Sue Mead, and Sue's daughter Brooke Mead, who spent time living in South America but came home to work with Berkshire County's immigrant population.
A Home Movie will be screened March 10, 4 p.m. at Fresh Fest, A Farm and Food Film Festival, a two-day event with four documentaries, local speakers and farm-fresh locally-grown delicacies. For dates, times and details visit http://www.imagescinema.org/events. Admission is free.
Bette Craig, whose mother came from a farm family in Oklahoma, has been an actress, writer and theater and film producer in New York. Her work includes the 1986 PBS American Playhouse production of A Mistaken Charity, filmed in Berkshire County. Her plays have been produced in New York by The Labor Theater (founded by Craig and Portz). I Just Wanted Someone to Know, a documentary play about women's lives by Craig and Joyce L. Kornbluh was published by Smyrna Press.---
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