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					Record ARTS                          Life/Arts editor Susan Chilton • schilton@therecord.com
                                                                                                           THURSDAY,
                                                                                                           SEPTEMBER 25, 2008                                                                                                                 E5




Digging deep for a farmer’s life
By Valerie Hill, Record staff

KITCHENER — Ontario farmers often live a
life of back-breaking work, long hours and un-
certainty coupled with low returns on much of
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Stars
what they produce. It’s a wonder anyone wants
to farm at all, so what drives these hardy souls?
    It’s a question probed by Kitchener film-
                                                                                                                                                                                                             outshine
makers Robert Waldeck and Paul Eichhorn in
their documentary A Growing Season, which
follows eight months in the life of Holland
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Heroes
Marsh vegetable farmer John Gorzo Jr. The                                                                                                                                                                    Los Angeles Times
son of Hungarian immigrants, Gorzo had once
known an easier life as a manager in a tech-                                                                                                                                                                 HOLLYWOOD — The fall
                   ,
nology company but the pull of the land                                                                                                                                                                      TV season officially started
brought him back, continuing his parents’                                                                                                                                                                    this week with good news for
farming legacy   .                                                                                                                                                                                           CBS’ comedies and ABC’s
    The 50-minute film will be screened at the                                                                                                                                                               Dancing With the Stars. But
Kitchener Public Library main branch on Sat-                                                                                                                                                                 NBC may be waking up to the
urday in a free event that the co-producers                                                                                                                                                                  cold reality that its one-time
hope will help the public understand what goes                                                                                                                                                               hit, the comic-book-like epic
into getting food on our tables, the people be-                                                                                                                                                              Heroes, will never be restored
hind the business and the lives they lead. This                                                                                                                                                              to its former lustre.
is not a whiny film about a man with few                                                                                                                                                                         Dancing, back for its sev-
choices. Gorzo is here because he loves the                                                                                                                                                                  enth cycle, was Monday
land, loves the farm life and holds onto hope for                                                                                                                                                            night’s most-watched pro-
farming with deep conviction.                                                                                                                                                                                gram, with 21.2 million
    Eichhorn’s parents farm in Holland Marsh                                                                                                                                                                 viewers, according to early
so he was familiar with agriculture and the                                                                                                                                     W.E. PRODUCTIONS             data from Nielsen Media Re-
often moody whims of Mother Nature.                           Farmer John Gorzo Jr. is the focus of the documentary A Growing Season.                                                                        search.
    “People have this vision of Old McDonald                                                                                                                                                                     After years of effort, CBS
(farm),” said Eichhorn, referring to public’s                                                                                                                                                                is reaping rewards with its
misconceptions.                                                                                                                 Waldeck said.                                                                                 .
                                                                                                                                                                                                             sitcom strategy How I Met
    Eichhorn runs a marketing and promotions                 Documentary                                                           Eichhorn added, “at the end of the season,                                Your Mother returned for its
business while Waldeck is both an artist and                                                                                    he barely made a profit.”                                                    fourth season up 21 per cent
                                                             A Growing Season
high school teacher. While both men have cre-                                                                                      The film shows a particularly bad season                                  in the 18-to-49 age category
ated films in the past, this is their first shared           Kitchener Public Library auditorium                                where Gorzo ended up selling investment land                                 compared with last season’s
project — and it wasn’t easy   .                             85 Queen St. N., Kitchener                                         in Florida to pay his debts in Ontario. Since                                opener. Two and a Half Men
    First, they could not write a script given               Saturday, Sept. 27, 1:30 p.m.                                      then, he has found some profit by growing arti-                              looked solid with 14.9 million
they had no idea what would transpire when                   519-743-271                                                        chokes, plus a line of organic vegetable.                                    viewers.
they visited Gorzo, which was about once a                                                                                         At one point in the film, Gorzo concludes, “I                                 Heroes spent last season
month. Then, it was the uncertainly of a                                                                                        would almost say that farming is one of life’s                               dodging brickbats from fans
farmer’s life that they hoped to capture in what                                                                                biggest gambles.”                                                            upset by confusing new plot
turned out to be a gritty reality film, completed            vegetables, as happened with his carrot crop:                                                                                                   developments; it was then
on a lean $20,000 budget.                                    seven acres produced useless, finger-thin car-                     Note: The screening of A Growing Season will                                 forced into a lengthy inter-
    “The concept we wanted to follow was from                rots. Then there were the labour issues. Many                      be followed by a panel discussion and the film                               ruption by the writers
spring planting to fall harvest, to get food to              Ontario farmers must rely on offshore                              Century Farms, by Kate George. Century                                       strike. So the show’s third
people’s tables,” Waldeck explained. “Would                  workers, mostly from the Caribbean, which                          Farms, filmed for TVOntario, looks at Ontario                                season will be critical to as-
the season be successful?”                                   means supplying suitable housing for them                          farms owned by the same families for 100                                     sessing its long-term
    From draining the soil of spring runoff to               and praying they’ll stay the entire season.                        years. The afternoon includes a food-based ex-                               prospects. Monday’s pre-
battling insects and August drought, Gorzo’s                    “We were impressed with John’s persever-                        hibitor’s expo.                                                              miere sowed doubts, gath-
life is often dawn-to-dawn hard slogging.                    ance, the round-the-clock nature of the work.                                                                                                   ering only 9.9 million
    In the end, a bad turn can destroy acres of              He’d be out there in 40-degree temperatures,”                      vhill@therecord.com                                                          viewers.




Talking today
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House.
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At a rally in Florida, Barack Obama was
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Blacks Against Obama. Actually it was
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doleezza Rice and Jesse Jackson.                ²                      3DODEUD GH 0XMHU             &HQWRY         6N\ 7*       &DVDEODQFD &DVDEODQFD ¶ )UDQFHVFR 1XWL          5D\PRQG 5 5D\PRQG 5 * /RSH] 5 * /RSH] 5
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dressed the Assembly. He was com-               N.+]                 %UHDN79 5 )DVKLRQ 5 %HYHUO\ +LOOV  5 %UHDN79 5 +DSSHQHG )DPLO\ *X\ 6HLQIHOG 5 6HLQIHOG 5 )UDVLHU 5 )DPLO\ *X\ 0DUULHG 5
pletely humourless. Devoid of humour.
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So they’ve asked him to host next
year’s Emmys.
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