'Biggest Little Farm'

Perhaps the biggest triumph at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival was The Biggest Little Farm, a fascinating documentary on the humble beginnings, struggles, and ultimate success story of Apricot Lane Farms in Moorpark. Urban refugee filmmaker John Chester rolled camera(s), extensively and obsessively, on the project undertaken he undertook with his wife, Molly, tracing the radical transformation of a neglected plot of land in Ventura County into a wildly diversified farm — now a model of sustainability worthy of visitor tours. Sidestepping the “dry doc” syndrome, the film depicts their so-far seven-year adventure and arc of self-education with seductive visuals and an engaging dramatic moxie. On the sonic front, Jeff Beal’s Disney-fied orchestral music seems all wrong for such a literally organic tale, which cries out for something acoustic and rootsy. That quibble aside, The Biggest Little Farm charms and inspires with an epic DIY story from deep inside the 805.


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