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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Tucsonans come play in ‘The Garden’

    Academy Award-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy was on hand Friday for a discussion following The Loft Cinema’s premiere of his film, “”The Garden.”” More than 300 Tucsonans came out not only to talk with Kennedy, but also to challenge him on pertinent themes of the movie.

    “”The Garden”” is a documentary that follows the struggle over the largest public garden in Los Angeles. The film follows the legal and personal battles surrounding the destruction of this urban farmland for conversion into warehouses. It is a story that speaks not only to environmental activists, but also to advocates for the disadvantaged. As Juanita Tate puts it in the film, “”It’s not just the garden, it’s the disadvantaged they’re taking advantage of.””

    On the social struggle portrayed in the film, Kennedy said, “”People of political and financial power taking advantage of people without power is a classic struggle, but I think we can approach a situation where people are treated equally. It’s natural for us to look out for our own. But it’s also natural for us to have empathy and to know the difference between right and wrong.””

    The film provokes emotional reactions to a wide range of issues – from social struggle to loss of land and community. A sense of grieving is apparent not only for the farmers in the movie, but for an empathetic audience as the story unfolds.

    “”I can’t watch the end of the movie with an audience because it takes me to that place. I may not have taken enough time to really say goodbye,”” said Kennedy on grieving over the loss of the garden. “”But I’m still with the farmers, too. I’m still hoping it’s going to come back. I think we’ve all tried to make as much peace with it as we could.””

    The film strikes a balance between environmental struggle and social upheaval, but Kennedy stresses that the film was meant to be about the people.

    “”People are on the inside of the environmental struggle. So it was a pretty organic combination of the two issues,”” he said. “”It’s a complex story so, to that end, I tried to make both themes inherent to the story without bringing too much soap box attention to either. The main focus was on the emotional journey of the story.””

    During the discussion after the screening, Kennedy got to the heart of the matter.

    “”I hope you enjoy it. I hope it makes you think about our world, and the United States that you would like to live in. Go out and try to make that United States a reality,”” he said. “”Think globally. Act locally. We can’t just sit around waiting for the world to fall into place.””

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