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Wendell Berry: Coming Soon to a Screen

Hat-tip to Rod Dreher for spotlighting The Seer, an upcoming documentary on Wendell Berry that counts Nick Offerman, Terrence Malick, and Robert Redford as backers. The filmmaker Laura Dunn has worked for years to bring the film to life, and now has a Kickstarter campaign to fund the remaining post-production costs. It’s due to premiere at SXSW, suddenly making me wish I could be there.

Filmed in and around Henry County, Kentucky, the documentary features original audio interviews with Wendell and on-camera interviews with members of his family and community:

When we first began corresponding about the possibility of a documentary, Wendell made clear that he does not regard screens of any kind and that he has declined to participate in films for decades.

This might have been the end of the matter, but for our team, it prompted reflection. Rather than make a “front lit” portrait of the man, could we use the film medium to subvert biopic conventions and instead immerse you in the world of Wendell Berry? Could we draw a portrait of a man in a way that understands the individual as simply a function of his place and the people around him? Rather than lens the way the world sees Wendell Berry, let us imagine the way Wendell Berry sees the world.

Cannot wait to see this, and to contribute to the Kickstarter. Berry’s “A Homecoming” was read at our wedding, and Hannah Coulter and Life Is A Miracle are in my upper echelon of all-time books. I hope this film gets into theaters, DVD, or VOD as soon as possible.