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The Garden

Synopsis

THE GARDEN, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, has the pulse of verité with the narrative pull of fiction, telling the story of the country's largest urban farm, backroom deals, land developers, green politics, money, poverty, power, and racial discord.

Founded in the wake of the L.A. riots of 1992, the fourteen-acre community garden at 41st and Alameda in South Central Los Angeles is the largest of its kind in the United States. Started as a form of healing after the devastating L.A. riots in 1992, the South Central Farmers have since created a miracle in one of the country's most blighted neighborhoods. Growing their own food. Feeding their families. Creating a community.

In 2003, when the developer who had allowed his vacant land to be used for the farm tried to reclaim it, an epic battle ensued between the mostly Latino immigrant farmers who worked the land, the Jewish developer, the largely African-American community living around the garden, and the Los Angeles city government.

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The Filmmakers

Scott Hamilton Kennedy Director

Director Scott Hamilton Kennedy's debut documentary OT: OUR TOWN was an official selection and won awards at some of the top film festivals in the world. In its theatrical release, OT garnered rave reviews and was selected for several 'Best Of' lists (including Kenneth Turan of the L.A. Times). OT was also short listed for an Oscar nomination and was nominated for Best Documentary at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Scott started his career in music videos, making several number-one internationally aired videos including Jimmy Cliff's remake of "I Can See Clearly Now." As a director, Scott has worked with Showtime, CBS, AMC, Roger Corman, and Mattel. Scott is developing his narrative feature script UP RIVER, an urban adventure movie set on the L.A. River, which went through the IFP/FIND Directors Lab. He is also in postproduction on a reality series entitled FAME HIGH, a show about the L.A. County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) which follows freshman and seniors through a school year as they try to become successful actors, singers, dancers, and musicians.

Festivals & Awards

Academy Awards

2008

Nominee - Best Documentary Feature

IDA Awards

2008

Nominee - Pare Lorentz Award

Silverdocs Film Festival

2008

Winner - Grand Jury Prize

Reviews

It's tempting to call THE GARDEN a story of innocence and experience, of evil corrupting paradise, but that would be doing a disservice to the fascinating complexities of a classic Los Angeles conflict and an excellent documentary that does them full justice.”

-Kenneth Turan, LA Times

The story of THE GARDEN is well-heeled in all of the contemporary media nuances that keep audiences working, churning towards a conclusion. Inflated with promise and punctured by despair, this film is the absolutely perfect mix of brutal truth and rose-colored glasses as there is to be found.”

-LAist

You. Must. See. This. Film. ”

-Denver Post

Outreach Resources

American Community Gardening Association

A great source for tips on how to start a community garden.

+ communitygarden.org

Gardening Matters

+ gardeningmatters.org

Circle of Life

Circle of Life activates people through education, inspiration and connection to live in a way that honors the diversity and interdependence of all life.

+ circleoflife.org

South Central Farmers

+ southcentralfarmers.com