Thursday, April 11, 2013

the Seattle Stranger weighs in on BTTG at new "MADE IN SEATTLE" film Series

In a surprising move, the Seattle Stranger last week gave 'Back to the Garden" an astonishingly good review.  No we haven't lost confidence in our film.  It's just that the Stranger almost never gives a decent review to ANY worthwhile film....especially local films like ours. So we were almost stunned by the positive attention given by our usually snarky alternative newspaper. Who knew they had a soft spot...well, you be the judge.

Here's the review by Stranger Film critic, Charles Mudede...

There are four films in Made in Seattle: Homegrown Documentaries (a two-day series at the Rainier Valley Cultural Center), and each deals with a significant social/political/cultural issue or project. Though all of the films are worth watching and talking about, one, Back to the Garden, Flower Power Comes Full Circle, fascinated me more than the others. The documentary, which is by Kevin Tomlinson, is about a community of hippies filmed in rural Washington in 1988—the last year of the 20th century (that century ran between the Russian Revolution in 1917 and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989). To fully understand why this is interesting, one needs to watch another documentary, Milestones, which is four times longer than Back to the Garden and was filmed by Robert Kramer and John Douglas and completed in 1975.
In Milestones, we see the end of the hippie revolution. The dreamers of peace, love, and nature leave the woods and return to capitalist realism—finding a job, paying rent, and going into debt. The film is filled with sorrow. The hippies are totally defeated. They changed nothing at all. Indeed, society is even more conservative than when they left it. Social democracy is dead. The 30-year agreement between unions and capital is reaching its end. Ronald Reagan is around the corner. In Back to the Garden, however, we see that some hippies did not give up the fight, did not surrender their dreams, but continued dancing to African drums, worshipping Mother Earth, and growing their own food.  
But here is where the documentary becomes very interesting: In 1988, the rural hippies looked just plain crazy (the director even says as much), talking endlessly about nature this, sustainability that, and the like. But today, they sound totally sane and even urban. The director reinterviewed some of the hippies in 2008, and it's clear that they now live in a world that's realizing more and more of their dreams—using cloth diapers, recycling waste, turning to solar energy, breaking with Judeo-Christian morality, and seeing humans as just one life form among many. The hippies have moved from the cultural fringe to the center of rational discourse. We need more arts, more communal cooperation in the care of our children, more free time to enjoy life, more trees, more food grown without chemicals, more sources of renewable energy—the list goes on and on. We are all hippies now. 

Rainier Valley Cultural Center, April 5–6. recommended

Monday, April 2, 2012

A glowing, new review of BACK TO THE GARDEN by Toronto based True Indie  Project, which reviews current Indie films...
We LOVE it!!

"I recently had the privilege of watching the documentary Back to the Garden, Flower Power Comes Full Circle. Having given the trailer a cursory look, I thought it must be some sort of 60s hippie documentary. Once you start watching you realize you’re watching 1988, in Washington State.

Kevin Tomlinson videotaped a community of hippies in 1988 and after almost 20 years went back to see what they were up to. The most beautiful and powerful thing to witness was how happy all these people were. They were living off the grid in the truest sense. They had been growing their vegetables and their chickens and had raised their children in the meantime, who seem to have grown up as confident and loving adults.
As you watch the documentary, you become aware of a ceaseless and awestruck smile that has taken over your face. You cannot believe such people exist. There is no youtube, there is no iPhone, only blueberries and pink banana squashes and acres of open space and agro-forestry and permaculture and recently introduced solar panels. People live without paying rent, feel the earth by walking barefeet and raise children using cloth diapers. It’s about a place that beckons the soul. As you watch, you have a strong urge to shut off your computer, to sell your belongings and plan a ride. You want to leave the world you know, so you can become one with the earth.
I may sound a little melodramatic, but it’s only because you still haven’t watched the film. By the end of the documentary, the director himself abandons his life in the suburbs, and decides to live off the grid with his wife.
This truly is an exceptional little documentary about a community of beautiful souls that gives you hope for mankind. The documentary will be airing on PBS stations nationwide in the beginning of April, 2012. Catch it you must."

Back to the Garden friends!
Spring is finally back in Seattle and man are we ready for some sunshine.
It's been a long, long lonely Winter.

Not only is life renewing itself all around us, our film is taking on new life as well.
On April 6th it will be streamed via satellite to ALL PBS stations nation-wide.
(see our ad...upper right corner. click 'home') There are still so many who have not yet seen
and this opportunity makes us very excited at the prospect of bringing our story to a huge new national audience.

Want to do your part? Call your local PBS station now (before April 7th)  and request the film.
It's offered FREE on April 6th and allows stations to program it anytime they want through 2014.
So don't be shy, share the LOVE... so others may also enjoy the inspiration of BTTG that you hold so near and dear.

Earth Day is coming April 22nd!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Hi friends,

It's been awhile since the last post...2012 is the year BACK TO THE GARDEN gets a national audience...via Public Television stations across the country.  In April our edited, 'broadcast version' will be fed via satellite to all Public TV stations for free.  That means any PBS station can record the Sat. feed and program it into their schedule for a period of up to 2 years.  It now has closed captioning and DVI, a separate dedicated audio channel for the sight impaired/blind which describes the action in the film. 

Today, I'm sending out almost 200 DVD's to selected station programmers to inform them and encourage them to air our show...its really cool to think we will be broadcast to such a wide audience...including the big urban centers of the East, rural towns in the south, midwest, southwest and everything between Neah Bay to Rockport, Maine.

We'll keep you posted on the programing details as they emerge.  We're going to be tracking the broadcasters and suggesting schedulings for Earth Day (April 22), Woodstock Anniversary
(August 15-19th) and the United Nations International Peace Day on September 21st...

I should have added the Summer Solstice!  Or Jack Kerouac, Wavy Gravy or countless others Birthdays...where does it end?

Maybe you have a brilliant programming suggestion?  Send it our way via the blog comments or simply email us directly at

Finally, I love this short TEDex video sent to me by our friend Stefan in Amsterdam which sums up our feelings so well...on being inspired every day and gratitude..I hope you'll be inspired too.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Back to the Garden is in a real horse race.
Out of over 1200 films, we're in 2nd place to win top prize
in the Culture Unplugged global online film festival.

You can help us win that's easy.
Just click on the link (above) and click "PLAY".
Feel free to share the link with others.

If we receive the MOST VIEWS by December 15th,
we will win $3,000 dollars!!!

The celebration plan: we'll be giving away
free DVD's...signed by the producers of 
Back to the Garden.  

we'll have more news soon!  Thanks everyone for taking part.

Monday, October 17, 2011

San Francisco DocFest: First Stop Sunny Berkeley. Bringing back "Power to the People Right On!"

We arrived in San Francisco greeted by 70's plus weather.  What a change from the kalakala Gray and relative chill of Seattle.  After peeling off our layers of polar fleece and rain jackets we hopped on the BART to Berkeley and our first screening: the historic Shattuck Theater...just steps away from the U of Cal, Berkeley campus.

Due to the sunshine and unseasonal opportunity to get out and squeeze a little more out of Summer we had a small but enthusiastic crowd at the screening who stayed on for a lively Q & A and purchase a few DVDs...We met a terrific adventuress and writer from Guam who wants to show our film at next years  Guam Film Fest!  Hey do they spring for airfare and hotel too?  Our SF DocFest hosts are warm and experienced film lovers who made us feel right at home..and our Son Shane and his wife Song arrived with their 8 month old son Vincent!  So good to have them!

While awaiting our screening, we walked down Shattuck Ave, which runs right adjacent to the U of CAL campus and found a very lively and friendly group of 300 + folks with home made signs demonstrating in front of the Bank of America offices....these folks came in all ages, economic shapes and creeds...but they had one thing in common: They're pissed off at the unrelenting greed, injustice and indifference shown by the Banks, Corporations and the government.  Many had lost their homes, jobs and wanted to vent.

Speakers called for everyone to pull their money out of the Bank of America and to deposit it into local Credit Unions instead.  An Idea whose time has come!  As OnePine and others put it so well in BTTG,
we have the power to exert pressure by choosing where to spend our dollars.  Boycott the corporations sends a clear message that WE are the people that these institutions serve...not the other way around.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

San Francisco DocFest next up! are our three Bay Area screening dates:
(includes Berkeley and San Francisco!)

Oct.15th (Sat) the Shattuck Theater in Berkeley @ 2:45pm

Oct. 18th (Tues) the Roxie Theater in S.F. (16th and Mission)@ 9:30pm

Oct. 23rd, (Sun) the Roxie Theater @ 7:15pm

We would love to have you share these dates with your Bay Area friends and family!

Monday, September 5, 2011

We've been invited to Screen at the awesome San Francisco Documentary Film Festival.

San Francisco here we come! We're not sure what dates but we're going to be screening twice between October 14th through the 27th at the Venerable "Roxie Theater" in San Francisco.

More details coming soon!
Very excited to show our film in San Francisco...the home of flower power and my home town. We're thrilled and honored to be a part of this true Indie film festival.

Check out their site soon for a listing of films and special happenings slated for the film fest in October.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spokane Earth Day Screening: sold out show, 3rd added by popular demand.

Our recent Earth Day series of screenings began in Bellingham at Western Washington University with a solid show of force by the students of Fairhaven and WWU turning out to support our film....OnePine's son, Bodie conceived organized and promoted the film as a part of Western's Earth Day
celebration...Great bunch of folks who were 2/3rds twenty-somethings and the rest baby boomers who remember it well...Music provided by Harvey Swanson and Deb Vester.

The very same night as the WWU showing, our film was broadcast on local PBS station, KCTS9 and drew the highest ratings yet for the entire series...

Then came Earth day in Spokane, Washington...the real capitol and service city to the communities of Back to the landers who are part of our film...They don't drive to Seattle to get supplies they can't get in Wennatchee, they drive to Spokane. Having an opportunity to bring our story of Eastern Washington's counterculture to the heart of Eastern WA. presented a rare opportunity. Luckily the gods of film screenings were smiling as we were joined by two of our main characters, Skeeter and Maeyowa for the post screening Q & A.

Humble and soft-spoken...a little humor thrown in, Skeeter and Maeyowa charmed our audiences with their well-informed answers about living and surviving without health insurance, the perceived contradiction of mega Corporations co-opting and offering organic food, about the spark that led them to choose the road less traveled....and much more...great questions that both our special guests had articulate and heartfelt answers for...the Spokane
audiences were spellbound. They loved the film but they loved our remarkable characters too.

Each of us really felt the genuine love and support expressed by Spokane's audiences. We had a magical time in Spokane! I can't wait to come back again. Thanks so much to the Magic Lantern Theater, the Inlander and Spokane Public Radio for helping us spread the word about our film! It just keeps on rollin'!

photos below: Our Earth Day road trip from the Methow Valley to Spokane took about 4 hours...we broke it up by stopping at the often missed viewpoint just above the Grand Coulee of Judy Kaplan (co-producer) with Maeyowa sharing lunch at this amazing picnic spot.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day Invasion... Spring 2011

EARTH DAY is here and we are spreadin' the news to all of Washington State...and even B.C. the entire Earth Day weekend...

On April 21st, 'Garden' airs on KCTS9 television to a potential audience of 2.5 million viewers including British Columbia...the same day we're having a special Campus Screening at Western Washington University in Bellingham (Fairhaven Auditorium) at 6pm on April 21st...then two days later, drive over the mountains to Spokane queen of the Inland Empire, for a special, one-night only EARTH DAY screening at my favorite inland empire venue,
The Magic Lantern Theater. (Saturday, April 23rd @ 5 & 7pm)

They're going to love us in David Lynch's hometown....We're getting amazing press coverage in the Spokane Inlander and we are bringing very special guests to Spokane for this one-night only Special Earth Day showing...We look forward to meeting all you Warshing-tonians.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sarajevo, San Francisco and Salt Spring Island B.C. film festivals: lovely people!

The weekend of March 3-6 was our busiest in awhile...Three International film festivals, running simultaneously, showed our film to brand new audiences.

Judy and I were attending the first ever, San Francisco Green film fest at the swanky Landmark Embarcadero Cinemas while Deb Vester, one of our main characters from the film represented us at the wonderful Salt Spring Island Documentary festival up in the Canadian Gulf Islands. She had a wonderful time and says the audience was super engaged in the film...thanks to Diane Copeland and the fest organizers for the invitation and giving Deb the royal treatment.

The third screening was at the 17 International Environmental film festival in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzogovina. (see their wonderful green eyelash graphic) We're still waiting to hear how that went-we'll follow up later. We had over one hundred people at our Sarajevo screening according to the festival director!

San Franciso was wonderful...we met so lots of new people, saw other terrific films, networked the crowd with postcards and sold DVD's too. We had such a great venue, time slot (8:15pm on a Saturday night!) one of the largest turnouts of the festival and a special 'Centerpiece' Flower Power after party directly following the screening...Thanks so much to Rachel Caplan (festival Director) and her top notch staff including BTTG's own Shane Keller (he appears in the '88 healing gathering and says " the purpose that brings us all together is LOVE.") Shane came down from Humbolt County to volunteer at the festival and we had a terrific time getting reacquainted...he's a terrific human being.

We also met Dorio and Tree who came up from Watsonville to be at the screening and also participated in the Q & A following the film. They are both part of the original Okanogan community and joined us for the after party as well...thanks for coming to San Francisco you two!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Icelandic TV requests Back to the Garden

Icelandic National Television has acquired the rights to broadcast "Back to the Garden, flower power comes full circle"! From the land of Free Willy, Bjork and Sigur Ros...there will be a national broadcast of our film this Spring...we'll announce the date soon.

A little background: RUV-the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service-is an independent (that's why they like us) public service broadcaster, owned by the state of Iceland. Begun in 1930, RUV's income can only be allocated for broadcasting purposes. They operate one TV and two radio stations covering the whole of Iceland. Their main charter: "...honor basic democratic rules, human rights and the freedom of speech and opinion". Yeah baby!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

San Francisco Green Film Festival 2011. Brand spankin' new...and we'll be there. With fleurs in our hair!

Tell your Bay Area friends to come join us at the Brand Spankin' New,
SF Green Film Festival...March 3-6th at the Landmark Cinemas at Embarcadero Center (in the heart of Frisco).

I love San Francisco! I was born there... and this is such a heartfelt thrill and an honor to come show our film in THE place which has such historic connection to our film...Flower Power was born here.

Friends...clik and "like" on our own SFGreen FF Webpage...the more BUZZ we create, the more folks will come see our film and spread the message. This is such a wonderful opportunity for our film...thanks everyone for helping 'share the love'... kevin