|Truly CA: Our State, Our Stories: A Home on the Range:
The Jewish Chicken Ranchers of Petaluma
A New Documentary from Truly CA on KQED Public Television 9
Premieres Sunday, July 24 at 6pm
July 6, 2005, San Francisco, CA --- Jack London, California vigilantes, McCarthyism, the Cold War and agribusiness all come to life in A Home on the Range: The Jewish Chicken Ranchers of Petaluma, a quintessentially American story of how a group of immigrants found their new home in California. A Home on the Range will premiere on KQED Public Television 9 as part of Truly CA (www.kqed.org/trulyca), KQED's new documentary series, on Sunday, July 24 at 6pm.
The hour-long film, by producers-directors Bonnie Burt and Judith Montell, explores the little-known story of a group of Jews who fled the pogroms and hardships of Eastern Europe and made their way to a small, northern California town to raise chickens. Although they were searching for a better life in California, their struggles didn't end when they arrived here. They endured being tarred and feathered, survived the Depression, and faced community divisions during the McCarthy era. Then, in the 1960s, their small family ranches faced extinction from competition with large-scale agribusiness. Throughout their trials, they braved hard times with sparkling humor and charm.
Richly layered, the film combines in-depth interviews with home movies, newspaper articles, and archival footage, which complement the recollections of the community members. These lively, opinionated interviews recreate the quirky flavor of this intellectual ranching community in which agrarian aspirations, progressive politics and secular Jewish culture all co-existed.
A fractious, idealistic, intrepid group, they confronted obstacles of language and culture on their journey to become Americans. A Home on the Range traces political, religious and social changes through three generations, exploring the values that formed and sustained this unique community. For more information on this and other films in the Truly CA series, go to www.kqed.org/trulyca.
About the Producers
Academy Award-nominated producer JUDITH MONTELL began her career in theater, producing and directing professional summer theater companies. She has worked as production assistant for Broadway shows and as stage manager and general manager for off-Broadway productions. From theater she moved into the world of film as a production manager for Amram Nowak Associates, a New York producer of documentary and educational films. Forever Activists: Stories from the Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, her first feature-length film, received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Achievement in Documentary Feature. Professional Revolutionary: The Life of Saul Wellman is her latest film and is currently screening at the 2005 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.
BONNIE BURT has been documenting Jewish life for 20 years. Her videos have been seen at the Museum of Modern Art and at Lincoln Center in New York as well as in film festivals worldwide and on television. She currently lives in the Bay Area with her husband and son. Ms. Burt recently completed a film about same-sex marriage. My Sister, My Bride, a story about love, marriage and the constitution, completed in 2004 and premiered at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival.
About Truly CA
Truly CA is KQED's new series of independent documentaries about life in the golden state. It airs monthly on Sundays at 6pm on KQED 9. Truly CA is a KQED production presented in association with the Bay Area Video Coalition and Film Arts Foundation. Rachel Raney is the series producer, Sue Ellen McCann is the executive producer.
KQED Public Broadcasting operates KQED Public Television 9, one of the nation's most-watched public television stations during prime-time, and KQED's digital television channels, which include KQED HD, KQED Encore, KQED World, KQED Life and KQED Kids; KQED Public Radio, the most-listened-to public radio station in the nation with an award-winning news and public affairs program service (88.5 FM in San Francisco and 89.3 FM in Sacramento); KQED.org, one of the most visited station sites in Public Broadcasting; and KQED Education Network, which brings the impact of KQED to thousands of teachers, students, parents and media professionals through workshops, seminars and resources.
The Bay Area Video Coalition is the nation's largest noncommercial media arts center dedicated to providing access to media, education and technology. BAVC is a production facility, an affordable training center, a pioneer in technology-based workforce development and a critical resource for independent filmmakers.
About Film Arts Foundation
Film Arts Foundation supports the creation and success of independent film and video makers by providing education, comprehensive information, state of the art facilities and equipment, financial support and exhibition opportunities. Film Arts Foundation is a catalyst and advocate for the diverse voices of the independent film community on the West Coast and nationally.