The Biggest Little Farm
|The Biggest little Farm|
|Directed by||John Chester|
|Edited by||Amy Overbeck|
|Music by||Jeff Beal|
|Box office||$5 million|
The Biggest Little Farm is a 2018 American documentary film, directed by John Chester. The film profiles the life of Chester and his wife Molly as they acquire and establish themselves on Apricot Lane Farms in Moorpark, California.
The film premiered on September 1, 2018 at the Telluride Film Festival. It had its second screening at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was named second runner-up for the People's Choice Award: Documentaries. It was selected as the Opening Night film at Doc NYC in November 2018. The film was screened as part of the Spotlight Section at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. It also screened at the 29th New Orleans Film Festival on October 24, 2018.
The film was acquired for theatrical distribution by the independent film company Neon, and was released on May 10, 2019 in Los Angeles and New York. The film expanded into Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, Nashville, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington D.C on May 17 and additional markets throughout May and June. The film has been acquired by The Exchange for international distribution.
In 2010, married couple Molly and John Chester decide to leave their old lives in Los Angeles behind and purchase an abandoned, 200-acre farm near Moorpark in neighboring Ventura County, California. Rechristening it "Apricot Lane Farms", the couple spends the next seven years transforming the arid landscape into a fully functional farm and biodiverse habitat for neighboring flora and fauna. They face hardship as the difficulties of keeping a farm running mount up, culminating in frustration and anger, but also happiness at their harmonious relationship with nature.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 75 reviews with an average rating of 7.34/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Uplifting, educational, and entertaining, The Biggest Little Farm is an environmental advocacy documentary with a satisfying side dish of hope for the future." On Metacritic, it holds a 74/100 score (indicating "generally favorable reviews") based on 25 critics.
In his Variety review of the film, Peter DeBruge noted that it "feel[s] like fresh air for the soul.", and New York Times critic Glenn Kenny wrote "it may also revive your wonder at the weird but ultimately awe-inspiring ways in which humans can help nature do its work". Additionally, The Los Angeles Times's Robert Abele wrote that the film is a "lush tour of transformed land and photogenic fauna, is so appealing as a chronicle of dedicated do-gooders who actually did good (and shot every frame of it). [...] Watching the Chesters fight past disillusionment to learn the real lessons of harvesting in communion with nature is what gives the movie its rousing, illuminating power."
Awards and nominations
A list of nominations and awards the film has received is as follows:
- Palm Springs International Film Festival - Audience Award for Best Documentary 
- Toronto International Film Festival - Second runner-up for The Grolsch People's Choice Documentary Award 
- Sundance Film Festival - Runner-up for the Festival Favorite Award 
- American Film Institute Fest - Audience Award for Best Feature 
- Boulder Film Festival - Grand Jury Prize for Feature Length Film 
- Boulder Film Festival - Best Documentary 
- Mill Valley Film Festival - Silver Audience Award for Valley of the Docs Presentation 
- Hamptons International Film Festival - Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature 
- Middleburg Film Festival - Audience Award for Best Documentary 
- Annapolis Film Festival - Audience Award for Best Feature Documentary 
- Gasparilla Film Festival - Grand Jury Prize for Best Feature Documentary
- Sedona Film Festival - Best of the Fest 
- Sedona Film Festival - Director's Choice Award for Best Documentary 
- 92nd Oscars Shortlist - Documentary Feature
- "Telluride Film Review: ‘The Biggest Little Farm’". Variety, September 1, 2018.
- "The Biggest Little Farm (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
- "The Biggest Little Farm (2019)". The Numbers. Retrieved October 11, 2019.
- "'The Biggest Little Farm': Film Review | Telluride 2018". The Hollywood Reporter, September 9, 2018.
- Hipes, Patrick (28 April 2018). "Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards: 'Bold And The Beautiful', 'Sesame Street' Top Winners".
- "Toronto: Neon Lands Documentary ‘The Biggest Little Farm’". Variety, September 11, 2018.
- "Toronto: Neon Takes 'The Biggest Little Farm' Doc for North America". The Hollywood Reporter, September 11, 2018.
- "'Green Book' boosts awards season prospects with TIFF audience award win". Screen Daily, September 16, 2018.
- "The Biggest Little Farm announced as the 2018 Opening Night Film!".
- "The Biggest Little Farm | New Orleans Film Society". neworleansfilmsociety.org. Retrieved 2018-09-30.
- Kay, Jeremy (2019-01-17). "'The Biggest Little Farm' lands at The Exchange for international, separately scores key deals (exclusive)". Screen.
- "The Biggest Little Farm (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
- "The Biggest Little Farm". metacritic.com. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
- Debruge, Peter. "Telluride Film Review: 'The Biggest Little Farm'". Variety.
- Kenny, Glenn. "'The Biggest Little Farm' Review: The Pleasures of D.I.Y. Agriculture".
- (subscription required)Abele, Robert. "Review: 'The Biggest Little Farm' is a winning doc about a couple's agricultural dream".
- "30th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Announces Award Winners - Palm Springs International Film Festival". www.psfilmfest.org.
- "Announcing the TIFF '18 Award Winners". TIFF.
- "2019 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: KNOCK DOWN THE HOUSE WINS FESTIVAL FAVORITE AWARD". www.sundance.org. 5 February 2019.
- "Announcing AFI FEST 2018 Audience and Jury Award Winners".
- "2019 Awards – BIFF – Boulder International Film Festival".
- "MVFF41 AUDIENCE FAVOURITES – Mill Valley Film Festival". www.mvff.com.
- "HIFF 2018 Awards Announced". hamptonsfilmfest.org.
- "GREEN BOOK and BIGGEST LITTLE FARM Win Audience Awards at Middleburg Film Festival". VIMOOZ. 22 October 2018.
- "Annapolis Film Festival - Home". Annapolis Film Festival.
- "2019 Festival Award Winners". Sedona International Film Festival.