The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives. It is within this light that we form those ideas by which we pursue our magic and make it realized.
... [P]oetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought.
HARVEST SEASON, a documentary I edited for director Bernardo Ruiz, will have its broadcast premiere on Independent Lens on May 13th, 2019. Our whole team is super excited that this uniquely American story about family, immigration, land, love, loss, seasons, beauty, pride, heritage and chasing big dreams will finally find its home on Independent Lens, where it will reach everyday folks in their living rooms. We adore the passionate, big-hearted stars of this film - Vanessa, Gustavo, Rene, and Angel - and perhaps you will be charmed by them too.
HARVEST SEASON comes to the festival as part of its American Perspectives subsection and is one of the many real discoveries from this lineup. Those with an admiration and taste for wine will flock to this truly entrancing documentary, a deep dive into the role Hispanic wine makers are having on the state of Napa and Sonoma Valley wines, and the socio-political issues that this population also face. Told expertly and with some startlingly gorgeous photography, director Bernardo Ruiz gives a first hand account of small wine producers and the struggles they face both economically and politically in 2018 America. Trump is a cloud hanging over this film, sure, but what makes this such an expert and superlative piece of work is that the focus never loses sight of the minority population which is under attack, telling their stories through a film that's as beautiful as it is intimate and emotionally moving.
HARVEST SEASON screens in the community where the film's stories take place. Mill Valley Film Festival will host two very special screenings, featuring a discussion with two of the film's stars, Vanessa Robledo and Gustavo Brambila, along with director Bernardo Ruiz.
HARVEST SEASON delves into the lives of people who work behind the scenes of the premium California wine industry, during one of the most dramatic grape harvests in recent memory. The film follows the stories of Mexican-American winemakers and migrant workers who are essential to the wine business, yet are rarely recognized for their contributions. Their stories unfold as wildfires ignite in Napa and Sonoma counties, threatening the livelihoods of small farmers and winemakers who are already grappling with a growing labor shortage, shifting immigration policies, and the impacts of a rapidly changing climate.
HARVEST SEASON is a co-production of Quiet Pictures and the Independent Television Service with support from Latino Public Broadcasting.
NO MAN'S LAND, directed by David Byars, tells the story of gun-toting, militant ranchers in a standoff with the federal government, law enforcement officials, and the local community in and around Malheur National Wildlife Refuge (Oregon) -- a high-stakes battle over ideological principles of freedom and self-determination. I worked as a consulting editor on this project, supporting the talented editor David Osit as he negotiated a delicate balance of providing historical/political context while also creating a feeling emotional immediacy, conveying point-of-view without taking sides or tacitly endorsing extremism, and digging deep below the surface of a sensationalized news story to get at more complicated themes that reveal a bigger story about cultural fissures in American democracy. No Man's Land premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and will have its broadcast debut on PBS May 7th, 2018.
Riveting... [No Man's Land] follows the best tradition of Griersonian, observational, and verite documentary by taking the time to show its subjects as real people.
- Filmmaker Magazine
When you watch your friend work his ass off for the better part of a decade, staring down doubt and uncertainty, yet resolutely continuing to put all kinds of love and persistence into a project he cares about passionately... and then you watch him knock it right out of the ballpark... Massive congrats to you on your first feature Jon, to the Rainey family who opened their lives so generously for the camera, and to the entire team who brought this powerful film to life. Look for QUEST on POV, soon.
QUEST, Jonathan Olshefski's living, breathing, stunning documentary study of an African-American family in North Philadelphia... a film that feels at once narratively firm and organically shaped... graceful, lively, endlessly empathetic... -Variety