Entry for September 14, 2005

Down in the Old Belt Premiere

Tonight at the Grandin Theatre, Jim Crawford has the world premiere of his film about tobacco farming in southside Virginia.   

Today, tobacco farmers in Southside Virginia, like coal miners in Appalachia, have come upon hard times. Production moving overseas, declining quotas, society’s changing attitudes toward tobacco, and the recent buyout ending the tobacco allotment program, have forever altered the cultural landscape of the Old Belt, the birthplace of Bright Leaf tobacco.

These farmers tell their stories not for sympathy, but to reveal what is fading in the wake of this change. Their stories personify the cultural evolution occurring in agriculture throughout the United States today.

Jim fold me at the reception after the film at his home on 13th street that  over the eight years he was making the film, he would not have ever guessed that tobacco farming would experience the decline:  “It was like watching a train wreck.” 

For more information, to see clips and  to order the DVD, see the website for his company,  Swinging Gate Productions.

For information from Michael Moore sent today, see Entry of 09/16/05:  Aid Katrina Sufferers.

Folks in Gainsboro met today to plan a presentation to City Council September 19.

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