ATHENS, Ohio (Sept. 15, 2006) -- Ohio University MFA film student Matthew Kraus has won first prize in the Mion Solutions Environmental Film Awards program for his short documentary, "Farming for the Future." The award includes a $10,000 prize.
The film features on-farm interviews with five Athens County farmers who discuss their environmental and political reasons for organic, low-mechanization gardening. All of the farmers in the film sell their produce at the Athens Farmers Market.
"My goal was to share, to explore this part of our community that I think is really special," Kraus said. "I wanted to put that out there and share it with people who either don't have (a farmers market) in their community and might be inspired to initiate it, and to remind people if they do have access to something like that that it's there and they should enjoy it."
The Mion Solutions Environmental Film Awards program is designed to recognize films that inspire environmental activism or stewardship at the local or regional level. "Our judging panel felt that Farming for the Future did just that," said Margaret Morey-Reuner, marketing manager for Mion Footwear. "The film's comprehensive showcase of local organic farmers who are committed to sustainable farming but also minimizing their impact on the environment was a great vehicle to tell the story of the local farmers in a very motivating and inspiring way."
The $10,000 prize is split between the filmmaker and a nonprofit organization of the filmmaker's choice. Kraus elected to donate half of the prize to the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association. "OEFFA is involved in organic certification and education on a state level, and also the farmers I worked with are involved in the organization, so this was my way of saying thanks."
"It's an environmental film because, well, the farmers' methods are shaped by their political philosophy," Kraus added. "They want to try to lessen their impact on the environment."
"Farming for the Future" premiered at the Woodstock Film Festival, and has since been shown at the Athens International Film and Video Festival, the Big Muddy Film Festival and the Appalachian Film Festival.
Copies of "Farming for the Future" are available for loan from Ohio University's Alden Library.
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