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"Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home" at Finger Lakes Env Film Fest

March 30, 2011

Contact: Producer James LaVeck


Thursday, April 14 at 7 PM, Cinemapolis, 120 E. Green St. in downtown Ithaca
Screening followed by Q&A with filmmakers Jenny Stein and James LaVeck, and film subject Harold Brown
Reception to follow at Delilah�s

A riveting story of awakening conscience, Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home offers a rare glimpse into both the moral struggles of farmers and the emotional lives of farm animals

Film trailer at

Ithaca, NY � For the last 18 months, local filmmakers Jenny Stein and James LaVeck have taken their newest documentary to film festivals across the country. They have screened Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home to standing-room-only audiences from The Berkshires to Boulder, and from Orlando to Sausalito. Along the way, the film has won several top festival awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at the Canada International Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Yale Environmental Film Festival, and the Best Documentary Award at Chicago�s Peace On Earth Film Festival. But Stein and LaVeck have yet to show the film closer to home -- until now.

On Thursday, April 14, at 7 PM, the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival will be hosting the New York State premiere of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home, screening at Cinemapolis. Afterwards, the filmmakers will be joined by one of the film�s subjects, Harold Brown, for a dialogue with the audience. Brown, a former beef farmer from Michigan who experienced an inspiring transformation in his relationship to animals, is also a local resident, having moved to Hector in 2004. He currently works at Greenstar Coop and also runs a non-profit organization called FarmKind, through which he gives talks around the country about global agricultural issues and creating peace through our food choices. Admission for the event is $9.50 ($8 for seniors & students), and includes a reception following the film and Q&A, to be held at Delilah�s On Cayuga. Tickets can be purchased the evening of the event at Cinemapolis, 120 E. Green Street in Downtown Ithaca.

"Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home was one of the first films we curated for our downtown screenings at Cinemapolis,� says Patricia Zimmerman, co-director the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival. �It has exquisite production values and was made by nationally recognized filmmakers who just happen to live in Ithaca. The film asks us to consider the complexities of the constantly evolving relationships between farm animals and humans as an emotional ecology that needs attention, care, and consideration. It pushes us to think differently about the environment--and that's what FLEFF is looking for."

This will be the third film of Stein�s and LaVeck�s that FLEFF has shown over the last decade, and for the filmmakers it�s a highly anticipated reunion. �So far, we�ve reserved all our Ithaca premieres for FLEFF,� says Stein. Adds LaVeck: "It's great to have an internationally respected environmental film festival in our home town which seeks, as we do, to encourage awareness of the impact of our decisions on others, as well as the power we have as individuals to make a positive difference in the world. To be able to come together with so many members of this community, which has empowered our work in so many ways, feels like a homecoming of the best sort.�

A 78-minute documentary, Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home shatters stereotypical notions of farming life. LaVeck explains, �Most of us are unaware of the painful initiation many farm kids go through when, like Harold, they discover they must choose between their natural empathy for the animals under their care, and their desire to be accepted by their family and community, both of which expect them to participate in taking the lives of individual animals they have nurtured."

�Our goal was to sensitively and accurately portray this moral struggle,� adds Stein, �while also providing a rare glimpse into the emotional lives of farm animals. The way the animals communicate their individuality and their unmistakable caring for each other turns out to be one of the most commented-upon aspects of the film.�

When the film premiered at the Moondance International Film Festival, festival director Elizabeth English said "Peaceable Kingdom truly is a journey of inspiration; a journey to an enlightened consciousness." The film went on to win the Colorado-based festival�s Best Documentary award.

Milissa Pacelli, Director of the Peace on Earth Film Festival concurred: �Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home is a a grand wake up call. You would have to be so numb to not be affected by this film.�

�It�s been heartening,� says Stein, �to see the peace and environmental communities so enthusiastically embrace this film, extending their ethic of non-violence and compassion to the other beings who share the planet with us.�

Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home has been an official selection in 14 film festivals in North America, including the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation�s Capital, the St. Louis International Film Festival, the Anchorage International Film Festival, and the Princeton Environmental Film Festival. It has also screened at the Cleveland Institute of Art and at Seattle�s Egyptian Theater.

About director Jenny Stein and producer James LaVeck
Jenny Stein is a native Ithacan who studied photography and film at Cornell before heading to UCLA for an MFA in Independent Film & Television Producing. James LaVeck is also a Cornell graduate who taught Tae Kwan Do in Ithaca while writing fiction. When he met Stein in 1990, they began partnering on screenwriting and film projects. In 2000 they founded Tribe of Heart, an Ithaca-based nonprofit production company that produces life-changing, award-winning films about the journey of awakening conscience. Their documentaries have screened at more than 80 film festivals around the world, winning 18 top awards. Their first documentary, The Witness, which is now distributed in 12 different languages, was described by Pulitzer-winning columnist Howard Rosenberg as "one man's truth that cries out for mass exposure... may be the most important and persuasive film about animals ever made" (Los Angeles Times). Stein and LaVeck's films have been broadcast on PBS, endorsed by Dr. Jane Goodall, and supported by actors James Cromwell, Alicia Silverstone and William Baldwin. Learn more at

About film subject Harold Brown

A fifth-generation farmer from Michigan, Harold Brown worked in animal agriculture for half of his life. In Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home, he shares the touching story of how he broke away from the traditions of his upbringing to forge a new way in the world, based on his desire to live in harmony with his most deeply held values. In 2008, Harold founded a charitable organization called Farmkind, �to be a resource for farmers who want to make the transition from animal based to plant based agriculture, for consumers to learn a different perspective on how food is produced, to help those who desire to reconnect with the land and become farmers, to support local food production, environmental and social justice issues, the rights of all living beings to be co-cohabitants of this planet, and how these things have everything to do with creating the peaceful world that all beings desire.�

About the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival

The Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival at Ithaca College embraces and interrogates sustainability across all of its forms: economic, social, ecological, political, cultural, technological, and aesthetic. The festival is in the spirit of UNESCO�s initiative on sustainable development. This initiative has redefined and expanded environmental issues to explore the international interconnections between war, disease, health, genocide, the land, water, air, food, education, technology, cultural heritage, and diversity. Through film, video, new media, installation, performance, panels, and presentations, the festival engages interdisciplinary dialogue and vigorous debate. It links the local with the global. And it showcases Ithaca College as a regional and national center for thinking differently�in new ways, interfaces, and forms�about the environment and sustainability. This year's FLEFF will take place April 10-17 at Cinemapolis and at Ithaca College. Learn more at

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