This is the link to a new filming project being done locally by John and Cinnamon Kennedy. Below is the Black Mountain News Article which tells all about John, Cinnamon, and their project.
By Staff Reports
Two local filmmakers are using the subject of small mountain farms as the focus of their
next video project. Cinnamon and John Kennedy, who have produced video for The New
York Times, The Washington Post, USAToday, The Gates Foundation and the United
Nations Millennium Campaign, have been filming local farms affiliated with the Black
Mountain tailgate market.
“ I was filming entrepreneurs during the time of the economic crash,” Cinnamon Kennedy
explained. “ I was collecting video stories of people who were creating their lives, or re-
inventing their lives, working for 60, 70, 80 hours a week, with no safety net to catch
them. From this material I was drawn to stories about area farmers.”
John and Cinnamon Kennedy, of the production company Purple States LLC, are
working in partnership with Meredith McKissick, who is farmer at Foothills Family
Farms, Old Fort, and director of the Organic Growers School. The Organic Growers
School hopes the series will focus more attention toward supporting the small
independent farms of Western North Carolina.
“ This is the perfect place to film the story of the small farm,” John Kennedy
says. “ Historically, small farms were common in the mountains. Now, you have the
end of tobacco farms, you have residential developments, you have negative economic
pressures, all of which make it very difficult for the small farmer. If you run a small farm
today, it is because you are very passionate about the farm.”
“ I would like to return to a focus on community,” McKissick says. “ There was a time
when you trusted your doctor because he was a member of your community. And
you could trust the food you were eating because it was made by the farmers in your
The Kennedys and McKissick will focus on four area farmers, train them to use handheld
HD cameras, and then direct them as they film this harvest season. The Kennedys will
edit the material into a series of short videos as well as a longer documentary. They have
already talked about the series to Participant Media (“ Food Inc.” , “ An Inconvenient
Truth” ) and UNC-TV, North Carolina’ s Public Television. With the national platforms
they have worked with, the Kennedy’ s are confident that they will be able to find a major
platform for the project.
The Kennedys have already filmed a three-minute trailer for the project following
McKissick and two other farms affiliated with the Black Mountain tailgate market.
The focus of the video series is on how these small farms survive. In the trailer, these
farmers talk about their passion and their struggles. Jennifer Perkins of Looking Glass
Creamery relates the story of when Williams Sonoma called to offer to sell their cheese
to a national audience. Perkins also speaks about the time when they needed a new
$10,000 boiler and had to shut down their business for a month in June.
“ I got a phone call from someone who said she was from Williams Sonoma, and I
thought it was a friend playing a joke on us,” Perkins recalls.
“ Local Foods is at a cusp moment,” John Kennedy says. “ A decade ago people started
talking about the benefits and improved taste of organic food. Today, organic is common
in every super market. People are choosing food without chemicals, because it is
healthier, because it tastes better. Now people are looking at local food, how to get more
food grown and raised in the surrounding area onto their plate. It’ s fresher, it’ s safer,
and it helps support the local economy. If people demand more local food, restaurants,
supermarkets, will all find a way to stock local produce.”
The Organic Grower’ s School and Cinnamon and John Kennedy are holding events on
June 30th in Asheville at the Highland Brewery and in this community at Black Mountain
Ale House on July 7th. Other organizations involved in the project are the Appalachian
Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) and Slow Foods Asheville. Both events will be
held at 7pm, and will be used as an outreach an awareness of local food, organic food,
and the choices made by all of us about what we eat. The trailer for the series will be
aired, and the event will be used as a fundraiser to buy the cameras, microphones, stands
and to launch the filming.
“ The most rewarding part of my job is meeting with my customers,’ McKissick
says. “ We’ re such a small farm that we do everything in the food chain. We go from seed
to plate. I like to meet the people we are helping to feed.”
The trailer for the series can been seen at the website www.farmersfilm.com. Some of the
farmers involved in the project can be met at the Black Mountain Tailgate Market, which
is open from 9am to noon, every Saturday during the Summer and Fall, behind the Black
Mountain Baptist Church, off of Montreat Road.