Little City Gardens
Project type: Documentary Feature
Project status: Post-Production
Director/Producer: Ben Grossman
Producer/Consultant: Caitlyn Galloway
Editor: Iva Radivojevic
Consulting Editor: David Barker
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Little City Gardens is a nonfiction feature that presents the magnetism and beauty of a farm that existed in San Francisco. It’s a story about connections to land, place, and each other told through the poetic visuals of a working urban farm. It’s a moving portrait about the powerful and compassionate relationship between people and land found in the most unlikely of places.
Caitlyn, the main character of the film, walks gently on the land. Her hand presides over the plants as she moves through them. She begins to harvest flowers. The city starts up around her and the hum of the freeway is heard in the distance. Peter and Patrice, both co-workers, enter the field and begin working beside her. We are in San Francisco, at Little City Gardens, a working urban farm.
All three characters are partners in an endeavor to grow food and create beauty in the city. Scenes shift from rhythmically paced farming to the hectic delivery of the harvest, to calm moments where the openness of the sky is experienced, and friendships happen in the sun.
Unfortunately the farm is under constant threat of being lost to development. This tension shapes the film’s story and adds a resounding significance to the work the characters are doing. They tend to the life of the farm, devotedly still, in the face of eviction. Their actions are loving and rebellious in a city that is rapidly changing. Near the end of the film, as we’ve come to know the compassionate relationship between the farmers and the land, Caitlyn stands in the well-worn greenhouse and stares out at the farm’s fields. She says touchingly, ‘This place feels like a friend more than ever right now.’ Light from the outside sun comes in, warms her, and fills the frame.
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Meet the Filmmakers
Ben Grossman — Director/Producer
Ben is a filmmaker living in San Francisco. He writes screenplays and makes films. His short film, Come Full Circle, (48 min), showed at film festivals including The American Indian Film Festival, 2013. Little City Gardens will be his first feature-length documentary.
Caitlyn Galloway — Producer/Consultant
Caitlyn is an artist, farmer, trained sign painter, and longtime San Francisco resident. She was the co-founder of Little City Gardens, a working farm within city limits. She perpetually has her hands dipped in many projects, all of which are centered around her desire to help define a vibrant, healthy, interesting city.
Iva Radivojevic — Editor
Iva Radivojevic is a Brooklyn and Lesbos based filmmaker, writer, editor who spent her early years in Yugoslavia and Cyprus. Her films have screened at NYFF, SXSW, Rotterdam IFF, HotDocs, Museum of Modern Art (NYC), PBS, New York Times Op-Docs. She is the recipient of the 2017 Sundance Art of Non-Fiction Fellowship, 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship, 2011, 2012 and 2017, Princess Grace Special Project Award and Film Fellowship and was named one of 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine.
Her debut feature-length documentary Evaporating Borders screened in over 70 festivals and received numerous awards worldwide. A follow up short film Notes From The Border was commissioned for the launch of Field of Vision. When not working on her own films Iva enjoys editing, cutting both documentary and narrative films. Her work MA premiered at the Venice Film Festival and Five Star, a film she co-edited won the Best Editing Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. All That Passes By Through A Window That Doesn’t Open, a film she co-wrote and edited, won the Regard Neuf Award at its premiere at Visions Du Reel and went on to win more prizes worldwide. She’s currently completing her new film Aleph, inspired by Jorge Luis Borges.
David Barker — Consulting Editor
David Barker is a screenwriter, editor and director. He co-wrote and edited Petra Costa’s epic documentary about Brazilian democracy The Edge of Democracy, which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award, and recently edited Shirley, directed by Josephine Decker, which will premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Prior to this, he co-wrote and edited the Nepali fiction film White Sun, directed by Deepak Rauniyar, which premiered at the 2016 Venice Film Festival, won numerous international awards, and was Nepal’s entry to the Academy Awards. His revisionist thriller Daylight (2010) was a ‘Critic’s Pick’ in both The New York Times and The New York Post on its release, and an earlier feature Afraid of Everything (1999) premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was called “a miracle of independent filmmaking” (The New York Post). Recent collaborative credits include: editing of The Reagan Show (2017) by Pacho Velez and Sierra Pettengill (Tribeca Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival) nominated for Outstanding Editing, Cinema Eye Awards; co-writer and editor of Josephine Decker’s Thou Was Mild and Lovely, named one of the 10 Best Films of 2014 in The New Yorker; screenplay collaborator and editor on Olmo and the Seagull by Petra Costa and Lea Glob (“Best Film” CPH:DOX, “Young Jury Prize” Locarno Film Festival), visiting director and editor on the Karabing Indigenous Corporation’s Windjarrameru: The Stealing C*Nt$, as well work as an editor on films such as Big Men(Rachel Boynton), HERE (Braden King), Madeline’s Madeline (Josephine Decker), and many others. In addition to filmmaking, he is also curates and programs the works of other filmmakers, and was for several years artistic director of the Cinematexas International Short Film festival founded by Greek filmmaker Athina Tsangari. He studied filmmaking with Jean-Pierre Gorin and Babette Mangolte, and philosophy with Giorgio Agamben and Jacques Rancière.
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