Seasons In The Valley Synopsis             1




  When the only permanent thing is change, what endures is the human spir...
Seasons In The Valley Credits              1




      When the only permanent thing is change, what endures is the human ...
LOGLINE:

When the only permanent thing is change, what endures is the
human spirit.


                            49 WORD...
Library Journal, 3/15/2009
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6643244.html




Seasons in the Valley. Color. 84 min. ...
Elliott Gould Narrates New Film “Seasons In The Valley”                                             http://www.cinemawitho...
Jamaica News Bulletin - Jamaican News, Sports and Entertainment.


quot;Seasons In The Valleyquot; - A look at Jamaican fa...
Seasons In The Valley Director’s Statement                                  1




                    Director’s Statement...
Seasons In The Valley Director’s Statement                              2

a young man or woman in Jamaica. I fervently be...
Seasons In The Valley Director’s Statement                              3

I am blessed in my life to have been raised acr...
Producer’s statement by Kevin Burke                                     1




         Producer’s Statement by Kevin Burke...
Producer’s statement by Kevin Burke                                     2

I kept coming back, of course. During our car r...
Production Notes                                                         1




                        Production notes by...
Production Notes                                                        2

to make a film.”     The decision was made befo...
Production Notes                                                       4

just fine. I secretly hope that the former minis...
Production Notes                                                       3

duped before finally picking up my spirits and t...
Production Notes                                                       5

who continues his duties as Manhattan DA. He spo...
Editor’s statement by Giacomo Ambrosini
As a film editor I became Interested in working on Seasons in The Valley the first...
Sound Designer Notes by Jesse Peterson

'Seasons in the Valley' is a special film that I feel lucky to be a part
of.

This...
Seasons In The Valley Press Pack
Seasons In The Valley Press Pack
Seasons In The Valley Press Pack
Seasons In The Valley Press Pack
Seasons In The Valley Press Pack
Seasons In The Valley Press Pack
Seasons In The Valley Press Pack
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Seasons In The Valley Press Pack

  1. 1. Seasons In The Valley Synopsis 1 When the only permanent thing is change, what endures is the human spirit. Hollywood veteran Elliott Gould lends his distinct voice to this gentle documentary exploring the symbiotic relationships between the apple farmers of NY’s Hudson Valley and their Jamaican labor. They are a microcosm of the thousands who come to the US and Canada under the auspices of government labor programs. Since the origination of the “Bracero” program in 1943, and now under the Department of Labor’s H-2A Temporary Agricultural Worker Program, the apple growers of the Hudson Valley and their Jamaican labor have been inexorably linked. “Seasons In The Valley” challenges our preconceived notions of migrant workers as illegal vagabonds. Through the experiences of these Jamaican men, we examine the triumphs and difficulties inherent to a program like H-2A. Sunny Crest Orchards, W.G. Minard & Sons, Coy Orchards and many other long established farms have not only been a way for these workers to feed their families, but for some, like Herriston Slater, it has provided the financial engine enabling them to rise from subsistence living to financial stability, allowing him to become employer in his own right to others on his Island as they reap the coffee he has planted as a result of his US sojourn The film examines the social and economic impact this northern migration has had on communities throughout Jamaica, and celebrates the tenacity and obdurate optimism of so many whose livelihoods are now threatened. This 84-minute piece was shot on location in New York’s Hudson Valley and on the Island of Jamaica over the last five years. The film features an original score and candid commentary from not only the workers, but also public servants including the prime minister of Jamaica, and former Governor Pataki of NY. CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com
  2. 2. Seasons In The Valley Credits 1 When the only permanent thing is change, what endures is the human spirit. PRODUCTION TEAM Narrator Elliott GOULD Written Produced & Directed by Adam MATALON Co-Producers Kevin BURKE, Randy TREU Associate Producer -- Jamaica Jennifer ARMOND Editor Giacomo AMBROSINI Composer Sam SUTTON Director of Photography (US & JA) Kevin BURKE Director of Photography (US) Aaron MEDICK Post Production Sound Designer Jesse PETERSON Assistant Editor Timothy DONOVAN 2nd Assistant Editor Valerie IANELLO Additional Camera Andrew SMITH Graphics & Design Aishiori KATAMURA Production Assistants Andrew SMITH, Timothy DONOVAN, Ashley RITTER, Sharyn FLANAGAN. Post Production Assistants Sam CAINO, Kimberly DiMAGGIO, Denise GOREY, Justin SCUTIERI, Masha VASUKORA Special Thanks To: Adam Litwinski, Christopher A Cohen, Delores Crooks, Michelle Hickey, Zack & Suzannah Matalon, Local 917, Michael Smallman, Vivian Taub, Janet Clunis, David Hausen, Stephen Temperley. The producers gratefully acknowledge the support of the following people and organizations: Courtleigh Hotel Kingston, Fiesta Car Rental Jamaica, JAMPRO, Jamaica Film Commission, Air Jamaica, The Rose and Moses Corporation, Trident Properties Jamaica and The Director’s Guild & Screen Actor’s Guild. Seasons In The Valley was produced with the assistance of New York Foundations for the Arts and New York State Council for the Arts. CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com
  3. 3. LOGLINE: When the only permanent thing is change, what endures is the human spirit. 49 WORD SYNOPSIS Elliott Gould lends his distinctive voice to an emotional film, which chronicles the journeys of Jamaican migrant workers, the plight of New York apple farmers, and the bonds that have formed between these men as they struggle to maintain their existence in an emerging and fiercely competitive global economy. CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com
  4. 4. Library Journal, 3/15/2009 http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6643244.html Seasons in the Valley. Color. 84 min. Adam Matalon, Chatsby Films, 212- 462-2600; www.chatsbyfilms.com/seasonsinthevalley.html 2008. DVD $285 (Rental: $60). Public performance. SOc SCI Each year, thousands of nonimmigrant alien laborers come to the United States for temporary or seasonal agricultural work under the auspices of the Department of Labor's H-2A visa program. This documentary, warmly narrated by actor Elliott Gould, provides a detailed and encouraging glimpse of the program's operation in the resplendent apple orchards of New York's Hudson Valley, where a group of Jamaican men come to work each year. Candid on-location interviews here and in Jamaica create a richly textured portrait of how the program mutually benefits the workers and their employers, the close relationship between them, and the challenges they share in an increasingly globalized economy. Most poignant, however, are the testimonies of the workers themselves as they share their hopes of improving their families' lives back in Jamaica, as well as their experiences of discrimination while in this country. In English, with occasional subtitles. Recommended for most libraries. Trailer at www.seasonsinthevalley.com. Robert A. Sica, Eastern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Richmond
  5. 5. Elliott Gould Narrates New Film “Seasons In The Valley” http://www.cinemawithoutborders.com/news/125/ARTICLE/1661/2... Sun, 17 Aug 2008 18:40:32 Web Site ARCHIVES SEARCH HOME NEWS & EVENTS FILM REVIEWS CONVERSATIONS WITHOUT BORDERS COLUMNS FESTIVALS THE NOTEB Elliott Gould Narrates New Film “Seasons In The Valley” Christopher P. Duffy 5 / 5 (1 Votes) E-MAIL THIS PRINT THIS MOST POPULAR XML VERSION Elliot Gould will narrate the debut feature documentary from director Adam Matalon, “Seasons In The Valley”, which will premiere at The Rhode Island International Film Festival on August 9th , 2008. Hollywood veteran Elliott Gould lends his distinct voice to this gentle documentary exploring the symbiotic relationships between the apple farmers of NY’s Hudson Valley and their Jamaican labor. They are a microcosm of the thousands who come to the US and Canada each year under the auspices of the U.S. government’s H2-A temporary agricultural labor programs. The film is an intimate look at the workers lives, charting their experiences with racism, immigration control and the struggle for personal betterment in a fiercely competitive world economy. This 87-minute piece, was shot on location in New York’s Hudson Valley and on the Island of Jamaica over the last five years. The film features an original score and candid commentary from not only the workers, but also public servants including Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, and Governor George Pataki of NY. 5 / 5 (1 Votes) E-MAIL THIS PRINT THIS MOST POPULAR XML VERSION More Articles In Category “Stone of Destiny” To Close Toronto ... Sydney Pollack, a great director and human ... Hamburg Film Fest Offers Glimpse at 2008 ... A French Film, The Class, ... Free Outdoor Movie Event - Huntington Beach ... Eldorado Wins Europa ... Special Guests on Stage for the Film ... Saudi holds first film festival ... Academy Award-winner for Best Foreign ... Upcoming European Film Festival Focuses on ... Youssef Chahine, Legendary Egyptian ... The Rooftop Films Summer Series Brings Film ... Vérité Pioneer to be Honored at Iranian ... Documenta Madrid Festival Announces Award ... CWB selects “Palm Springs International ... Hamburg the Scene for Upcoming Short Film ... South Dakota Gets Ready for Film Festival ... Pangea Day Crosses Global Borders ... Heath Ledger to Be Honored at Brisbane ... The Rule Of Law, Justice In ... Sergio Leone at American Cinematheque ... Goodbye to All That: Final Notes from ... Danish Film Wins Top Award at Karlovy Vary ... Croatian Film the Showcase at Upcoming ... Will Smith looks forward to work in Indian ... Tribeca Film Festival Award Winners Announced ... ELSA AND FRED opens in Los Angels ... Shohreh Jandaghian Wins Top Prize at ... Christopher Lee to receive President’s Award ... LA Indian Film Festival Announces 2008 ... Akira Kurosawa To Be Celebrated at New ... New Documentary Explores Campaign of ... Iranian Drama Wins Top Prize at Moscow Film ... Official Selections Announced for ... Toronto Film Festival Announces 27 ... Tribeca Announces Winners of 2008 All Access ... THE T.A.M.I. SHOW! at Hollywood Forever ... Female Tamil Tigers the Subject of New WMM ... Singer, Filmmaker and Peace Advocate Fred ... Cannes Announces 2008 Competition Lineup, ... WALL- E, a nostalgic film ... Southeast European Film Festival to Begin ... Hamburg Short Film Festival Announces Award ... City Lights Pictures Acquires North American ... “Sisters In Law” Wins Peabody Award ... Film Movement to Release “The Violin” on DVD ... De Niro To Be Honored At Karlovy Vary ... Sundance Announces Maryland Filmmakers ... The Israel Film Festival Gears Up for 2008 ... Iraqi Film, War, Love, God & ... Home :: News & Events :: Elliott Gould Narrates New Film “Seasons In The Valley” PROJECT PRESENTATION | EPISODE FIVE | INVESTOR'S CORNER | DISTRIBUTOR'S CORNER | BLOGS | ARCHIVE | ©2007 CINEMA WITHOUT BORDERS
  6. 6. Jamaica News Bulletin - Jamaican News, Sports and Entertainment. quot;Seasons In The Valleyquot; - A look at Jamaican farmers in the US Thursday, 31 July 2008 A new documentary highlighting the experiences of Jamaican farmers on the US work program is set to premier at The Rhode Island International Film Festival on August 9th 2008. Narrated by Hollywood veteran Elliott Gould, quot;Seasons In The Valleyquot;, is the debut feature documentary from director Adam Matalon - an emerging filmmaker and writer who started his directorial work in children's TV on the acclaimed series Sesame Street. With his distinctive voice, Gould takes us through this gentle documentary exploring the symbiotic relationships between the apple farmers of NY's Hudson Valley and the Jamaican labourers, who come to the US under the auspices of the US government's H2-A temporary agricultural labour program. Produced by Chatsby Films, the 87-minute piece was shot on location in New York's Hudson Valley and on the Island of Jamaica over the last five years. The film features an in-depth look at a small group of Jamaican men who come to the US every year to work in the apple orchards of New York's Hudson Valley. It charts their experiences with racism, immigration control, and reflects on the strong bonds they have with the American farmers for whom they work. These Jamaicans are a microcosm of the thousands who come to the US and Canada under the auspices of diminishing government labour programs. The film features an original score and candid commentary from not only the workers, but also public servants including Jamaica's former Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller and former Governor of New York, George Pataki. Matalon describes the film as a symphony. quot;We are all conditioned to see modern documentary as propaganda machines, but the seasonal nature of agriculture is about the passage of time. It's sweet, harsh, triumphant and soul destroying in almost equal doses. I wanted a film that washed over you rather than hit you on the head.quot; Co-producer and twice Emmy nominated Director of Photography, Kevin Burke said, quot;Once we started shooting, I realized I was watching the consequences of a global economy unfold in front of my eyes.quot; The creative team includes two other international members; Italian film editor Giacomo Ambrosini, and British composer Sam Sutton, who created the original score, and was on board and sketching from the second year of production. When asked about the original ideas for the score, she laughed. quot;There were so many! I knew Adam wanted to evolve music that didn't fall into clichés, and although Jamaica plays such an important part, he didn't want any reggae. We listened a lot and identified several themes that worked. From there, I started to write in earnest. Adam wanted the music to be an integral part of the story.quot; Editor Ambrosini, whose previous doc work was the untitled Red Hot Chili Peppers film, said, quot;As a European working in the United States, I was well aware of the immigration rules and regulations, post 9/11. My own experience made me even more sympathetic to the Jamaicans' journeys far from home. I was also fascinated by the complex global economy that effects even a small farmer.quot; After the films premiere in Rhode Island, the film is scheduled to screen at several New York area venues and will premiere in Paris in October. The film was produced with the assistance of New York Foundation For the Arts (NYFA) and New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). Source: PRWEB
  7. 7. Seasons In The Valley Director’s Statement 1 Director’s Statement by Adam Matalon This is more a stream on consciousness than a clearly fashioned statement. I found myself untouched by the first pages I wrote. I think this film is brooding. It’s lyrical and it’s guttural. It’s about loss. It’s about tenacity. It’s about a willful spirit to live and very importantly it is about the dignity of labor and the nature of hope. I think I also proved my own tenacious nature to myself in completing the film against some occasionally stiff adversity. The cultural differences and expectations between an Americans perception of success and those brought up in a depressed second tier economy like that of Jamaica are vastly at odds. This is a film about people who understand the difference between their needs and their wants. It is comforting and reassuring to me that the American and Jamaicans, who inhabit this piece, are truly magnificent in their connection and appreciation of each other. Together they wage a war that they all somehow know they must lose as the realities of economic globalization take hold. But they do keep smiling and they keep working and together they muddle through. It’s a microcosm of life, an inexact science, and in this vein we have made this piece. While the film could have been solely about globalization or connected squarely with the racial issues the Jamaicans face outside of the farming community, I wanted to address this film as a success story and a film that spoke of the immigrant labor without the middle class assumptions and political patronizations, which have traditionally suggested them as slaves. I wanted a film that was orchestrated and related like the parts of a symphony and it is for this reason that the music and b-roll often speak so loudly. I wanted a film that held the mirror up to nature and reeducated us to the realities of food production. I wanted people to understand that when they buy that cheap and beautiful red apple from China or Venezuela or France or any number of producing countries that they might well be putting at risk an American farmer or negatively impacting the upward mobility of CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com
  8. 8. Seasons In The Valley Director’s Statement 2 a young man or woman in Jamaica. I fervently believe in our right to choose that cheap red apple. However I wanted to simply make observations about these cost based decisions, which I hope will have impact on people’s understanding of the global nature of our ever-evolving consumer society. In North America, the notion of color and racism is a monstrous chasm in our society and one I fervently hope is lessening but again, mostly created by and used by Americans against each other, and as tools to negate the value of ‘outsiders’. In Jamaica, Black is simply a color and one of the many rainbow colors of an Island people with background from India, China, Africa, Europe, the Middle East (my particular background), and their indigenous Taino and Arawak Indians. The concept of being labeled ‘African American” is anathema to the average Jamaican and they use “American” with a kiss of their teeth and an upward glance as a negative reference to someone ‘uppity’. There has been a tradition of films in the area of immigrant and farm labor that paint a picture of failure, and have become propaganda for various parties to brandish as it suits them. To me it appears that they have done little to solve the negative issues or market the positive. While in many cases they may have elevated the status of the filmmaker, they have not elevated the livelihood of the subjects. I cannot suggest for a second that this film will do anything to solve a grossly disproportionate economy. Or to put food in people’s mouths. The film is a testament to the contributions of the men who come here and a celebration of the future that they are providing for those around them. While they inhabit an imperfect system with obvious real and potential failings, I wanted to make a strong case to suggest that there is good and bad in everything. The notion of betterment is not an American invention. It is a universal theme shared by those across the globe, and for the farm workers, the acceptance of struggle and sometimes seemingly unfair adversity on that road to self-sufficiency is an acceptable price to pay. I am forever touched that Philbert Bailey, who started working at nine years of age without the ability to read, has found knowledge, relative prosperity and helped to put several children who are not his own through school. This man who lost his childhood forever, has granted it to others without an expectation of recompense. This moves me deeply even as I write the words. CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com
  9. 9. Seasons In The Valley Director’s Statement 3 I am blessed in my life to have been raised across two continents and to have been taught to celebrate differences of language, society and color and I believe it helped me to keep making this film even when it seemed that it would never end in anything but endless boxes of wasted tape. I am enormously indebted to all the people who helped me make this film and to those who have shared their thoughts on camera. The faces in this film and those who inhabit the many hours are a select group who will remain with me forever, whatever may come my way. I must also thanks those family and friends who have humored me including my wife and kids who don’t quite get it “Daddy are you still making a film about apples?!” There are two people whose lives passed during the making of this film. Lola Richardson who originally introduced me to Russell Holze and later became his wife left us early in 2008. I hope she will be watching over Russ’s shoulder. My father died two odd years ago from Alzheimer’s. ‘Zackie’ and I shared a difficult relationship and he knew little or nothing of this film as his disease crippled him, but I always knew Jamaica was his secret sanctuary and the home of his boyhood memories. It was this mysterious and magical Jamaica that I grew up with and may well have been the reason I took this on. His voice can be heard singing in the credits on a recording of Cordelia Brown recorded in 1948. There remains a single person without whom it could not have been completed and that is my producing and writing partner Kevin Burke. Thanks Brother! Adam Matalon Garrison NY June 2008 CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com
  10. 10. Producer’s statement by Kevin Burke 1 Producer’s Statement by Kevin Burke I can’t address the mythology of Chatsby Films without talking about “Seasons in the Valley.” It’s the project that launched a company and has been the emotional center of my cinematic ventures with Adam since we started running around apple orchards six years ago. I had known Adam for about a year when he called me to help him with his documentary. “Can you give a me a day here and there as a DP?” he asked me one day, in the fall of 2001. My first inclination was to say “no.” I’ve done my share of freebies since breaking into the business, and my experiences have been mostly negative. I worked too many hours on low or no budget projects that never got finished, or, if they did get finished, never saw the light of day. But, when I did my homework, I discovered Adam had already set up a website, had applied for and received grants, and had written a very compelling project narrative. Working with him would be different. So, I joined Adam, Randy Treu, Aaron Medick, and Michelle Hickey one day up at Sunnycrest Orchards in Hudson, New York. We taped the men as they pruned trees, and shot a couple of interviews. Most of them were really shy and reticent to talk on camera, after all, this was their livelihood and they were probably concerned about keeping their jobs. Soon, however, they warmed up to us, and realized we were on their side. The men who talked to us had great things to say. We were watching the consequences of a global economy unfold in front of our eyes, but these guys were just concerned with providing for their families. In fact, so concerned, that they were prepared to be apart from them for six to nine months at a time. This was a really great story. CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com
  11. 11. Producer’s statement by Kevin Burke 2 I kept coming back, of course. During our car rides between orchards, Adam and I would talk about how great it would be to start a company and produce our own stuff. This could be a great way of life for us! We both shared similar aspirations and sensibilities, so the talk became serious talk, and eventually action. Chatsby Films was officially formed in 2003. After many visits to the orchards, and two lengthy stints in Jamaica, the film slowly evolved into what it is today. Sam brought forth her stirring music, Giacomo carefully sifted through hours of footage to assemble the puzzle. Adam adeptly conducted the whole post- production symphony, and I do mean symphony, because the end result is a “musical” experience, both aurally and visually. I hope what comes across is the respect we feel for these guys, who travel so far to build a better life for themselves. I’m thankful for Adam’s friendship and the collaborative shorthand we’ve developed over the last six years, and while I’m proud of the mark I put on this project, I’ll be clear that this is Adam’s film. During the production of Seasons, I was a cinematographer, cheerleader, salesman, web designer, graphic artist, and I gave my opinions when consulted, but Adam made the damn film. He got the inspiration and ran with it, got a crew together, raised money, dipped into his own pocket, chased down crucial interviews, wrote it, directed it, tweaked it, and did the poking and prodding that you need to do in order to get the job done. That’s what a filmmaker does. If you think it’s easy, I suggest you pick up a camera and see how far you get. Kevin Burke June 2008 CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com
  12. 12. Production Notes 1 Production notes by Adam Matalon I had the pleasure of meeting Russell Holze at a holiday party hosted by my neighbor, Russ’s soon to be new wife, Lola Richardson. It was December 2001 and we were all still rocking from the events of September 11th. In careless chitchat I learned that he was an apple farmer and that his source of labor, namely Jamaicans was drying up and with it his livelihood. The government’s shortsighted approach to a host of issues was making it impossible for those in agriculture to survive. The truth is that on any other day I might have walked away with an interesting insight, a sense of distress and a keen knowledge that there was nothing I could do to improve his lot. But he did say Jamaicans didn’t he, and my father was born and brought up on that wonderful island where many of my family, both close, and cousins I barely know, reside. I found myself ruminating on the conversation for several days and listening in my head to his description of the men as they arrive in early February. I was completely unprepared for what happened next. I picked up the phone and asked if perhaps I might come up and photograph the orchards and the men. I didn’t really know what it was that I thought I would do with the stills, but as a keen photographer, it seemed to me that it would be visually stimulating. I was at that time working as a 1st AD on The Book of Pooh, a big budget 3D animated series for Disney. I was feeling very removed from my formative years in theater where creativity was front and center. I had just started writing again after a period of five years, where I committed nor more than phone numbers to paper. I suddenly found myself hatching a plan to make some kind of a film about this – maybe. I had no infrastructure, no camera, no budget, and no crew. What I had was a feeling of fate and a drive that became overwhelming to me. I picked up the phone to Randy Treu who at that time was a close collaborator and said, “We have CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com
  13. 13. Production Notes 2 to make a film.” The decision was made before we ever stepped foot in the orchard. The months that followed were an emotional rollercoaster. At first we appeared to the Jamaicans like aliens, these crazy guys with a camera walking with them trying to engage them in conversation, when their preference would have been for us to leave. We must at first have appeared to be joy riders checking out the people who really work. But this IS our work and we returned again and again. Sometimes it was three of us, sometimes five, sometimes just myself. DP’s Aaron Medick and Kevin Burke, both of whom were working with me on The Book of Pooh eventually became addicted to the orchards having succumbed to my requests for free services and would follow my wild goose chase around the various hills and dales. One night as I flashed my DGA card for free movie tickets, Andy Smith, just out of college and an assistant manager at Hoyt’s, decided to stalk me in order to ask how he could get into the business. He came on board as an intern and soon after was joined by his friend Tim Donovan who, by the time we hit post, had been working with us regularly and had evolved into the assistant editor. Both of them became integral and have graduated as full time members of this crazy film industry. Another who joined us at that time was Ashley Ritter who was a shy retiring girl in her first year in college who was scared to death by our hard-nosed production jabber. For some reason she inherited a loving nickname, which bares no resemblance at all to her physical proportions – chunky. Muddy days, rainy days, snowy days, days when we could hardly feel our fingers and toes enough to hit record. The film barely registers these images but they were the foundation for the trust we built with the Jamaicans. It was through this visible commitment and tenacity on our part that we began finally to blend into the landscape and the fabric of their day to day. Well over a year into the process Kevin Burke had already become a producer of the film when suddenly Russ was given a hammer blow by the weather and decided to bow out of the business immediately. The film, which started life with the title A Final Season looked like it would be dead in the water. All of our footage was predicated on Russ’s story and now there would be no ending. Mother nature was laughing at us and we spent a few bereft days feeling like we had lost our film forever. But just like farmers, I am blessed with stubborn tenacity, coupled with a self- doubt that enabled me to see that to quit outright would be an utter failure. I remember walking around my rural back yard staring and feeling like I’d been CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com
  14. 14. Production Notes 4 just fine. I secretly hope that the former minister will see this, and regret his arrogant stance. Del Crooks the commissioner of film was incredibly helpful in assisting us through the customs bureaucracy and was very generous in her introductions to press and other interested parties. Kevin and I gave ourselves a single day off on this trip and spent a marvelous day at Lime Key with my cousin Janet Clunis. Back in New York I was beginning to feel the pressure of time. We had already been making the film for three years and I was used to shooting film and TV in a matter of weeks. Yikes! I began to think ahead to post. I brought on board two international creative partners Giacomo Ambrosini and Sam Sutton. Giacomo is an Italian editor. Sam is a British composer. I was very interested to work with them as neither had preconceived notions about the subject. Both had grown up very removed anything in the film and their objective view was something I sought. Both had great ideas about how to illustrate the story. Giacomo started the long haul on the first rough cut in September of 2006. He was presented with about 75 hours of footage, which had been culled and noted over a period of 8 weeks by assistant editor Tim Donovan and several PAs. Sam and I had decided from the get go that we didn’t want ‘Jamaican’ or ‘Hudson Valley’ music as it appeared cliché to me. She started to work and began to send me rough melodic sketches. Some made it, others didn’t. I am thrilled with what evolved and my only disappointment was that we never had the funding to record a truly orchestral and symphonic version of what Sam wrote. She and I have often spoken of a screening accompanied by an orchestra. We continue to dream. The film began to find pace as veteran Hollywood actor, Elliott Gould, joined us. I had shyly asked him if he would consider doing the VO and he had agreed to see an early rough cut. He was taken with the bees in particular. Also taken with the rough cut was Jesse Peterson our post sound designer who had never done a doc and wanted to create an aural environment. Our final interview was with George Pataki in February of 2007. I had been waiting for some time to ask for an interview. I didn’t want to hear from a governor. I wanted to hear from the farm boy who grew up in the valley. I got a little bit of both, but I think there is a sparkle in his eyes when he talks about the blossoms. There are several fascinating interviews and people who never even made it into the original 2 hour rough cut. One of my favorites was with Robert Morganthau CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com
  15. 15. Production Notes 3 duped before finally picking up my spirits and the phone to assure the rest of the team that there was hope. To complete ‘something’ would be success, but what would that be? We decided that we must look beyond the first story meet more farmers and start again. It was in fact the best thing that could have happened. We looked beyond the original subject matter and in doing so we created the film that it has become. The new orchards and the new stories evolved and in the process we met Herriston Slater one of the strongest characters for me. The only thing we share is an exact age. Everything else about our backgrounds is different except that we are both committed to an attempt to control our own destiny. I felt close to him from the moment we met. Our first trip to Jamaica was fraught with stress about how we would best approach the guys and the government interviews. We were financially strapped as our very limited grant money from NYSCA was not useable for production outside of the US. I got on the phone and cut some great deals and Randy and I both sucked up the cost of our own airplane tickets. Later we would get support from Air Jamaica. Once on the island we made good headway and cemented the relationship with Slater. We built the foundation for the second trip where we would make our strongest mark with meetings at the film office and with advice sessions from some of my family members many of whom were seeing me for the first time in years. We had already made our first trip to Jamaica when Randy exited gracefully after two very tough and committed years on the project. Personal dilemmas and the financial reality of the film won out. While he has not been in the picture for some time his contributions as a producer and in helping me write the original narrative were tireless. Our second trip to Jamaica allowed us to speak to government representatives as well as see the men at home, this time as trusted individuals. We even talked our way into an interview with Portia Simpson Miller who as I write is Prime Minister. She told me about Leaford Williams, who’s book she had read in college and I am indebted for the introduction to this warm character who was one of the first to visit the US in 1943. Our only irritation was that the then Minister of Labor decided that we had not given him enough notice and refused to speak to us. I calmly told him that this was his ‘shot’ and if he wanted to say something good about his program now was the time. He offered us a nervous permanent secretary who did CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com
  16. 16. Production Notes 5 who continues his duties as Manhattan DA. He spoke with glee about how as a 5 year old he was allowed to push the plunger as they would dynamite holes in order to plant apple trees on his family’s farm. I guess I have an entire disk of DVD extras! Giacomo and I went at it seriously over a period of the last 12 months and refined it to a 105-minute version, then a 98-minute version, and then to 93 that we screened publicly as a rough cut, and then finally, without any mercy into the 87- minute film you will see. Seasons In The Valley has been a hard film to make. We have had support from several areas, NYFA, NYSCA, Air Jamaica, private contributions and the generous support of our own pocket books. It has remained throughout, a largely unfunded venture that appeared impossible on paper and was brought to life by a group of youthful committed and tenacious people who saw an adventure. I think we all feel a bond with the Jamaicans and the American farmers, and the film was created in situations similar to the adverse conditions in which they exist. Since we began with our mini DV camera six years ago, there has been a digital revolution, a continued reduction in Hudson Valley farming, a move towards more propagandist documentary styles, and a war the continues as I write. The film has opened my eyes to a host of things. In making this film I have found and lost personal bonds, I have learnt to repress my own natural instinctive human propensity to make assumptions and judgments. I have had peace and nerve jangling frenetic moments. Most importantly it re-taught me to look in people’s eyes and try to see who they are. I love this film in the true sense, which is to say that there have been times I have hated it. It has supplied me with pain, intrusions, inconvenience warmth, laughter and joy. In the six years we have been working on this Kevin and I have produced and sold a narrative feature, four Sesame St. DVD’s, a 38 minute short which went to Cannes, award winning commercials and corporate pieces and we have cemented a strong alliance as co-writers but this film has remained a constant. This is the film that made me a filmmaker and I will miss you. CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com
  17. 17. Editor’s statement by Giacomo Ambrosini As a film editor I became Interested in working on Seasons in The Valley the first time I met Adam. I was curious and fascinated by the story and then with the footage itself. I was immediately and completely hooked: the characters in this film made me fall in love with this project. As a European working in the United States, I am well aware of the immigration rules and regulations and how things changed after 9/11. I think my own experience made me sympathize even more with the Jamaicans in the film and their journeys far from home. As someone who's interested in local food systems I was delighted to get to know the farmers themselves and to learn about the work involved in running a small farm in today’s complex global economy. As in every documentary, the editing process was a challenge and a journey. I find editing a documentary more difficult than editing a scripted feature, as the story is primarily written in the editing room. Working with a director like Adam was a very good experience for me, and a very positive collaboration, made easier by the fact that he is an editor, too. I remember that we almost locked out a structure verbally from the get go, as Adam had a very strong sense of what story he wanted to tell; the first part of the film came very naturally and was edited fairly fast, while the second one was a little trickier and took more time. The quot;downward spiralquot;, as Adam and I named it, which refers to the inevitable downfall of agriculture in the Hudson Valley region was edited and re-edited and re-edited and re-edited... The film also presented a challenge because the footage revealed two very strong characters, but Adam and I didn't want to make a film only about them. It was difficult at times because of how powerful and interesting they are. In the end, I am very pleased with the final cut and to have worked with Adam on this project. I like to think we found a voice, which speaks with pride and sadness at the relentless nature of societal changes, and I sincerely hope that this voice will finds its place. It deserves to be seen. Giacomo Ambrosini June 2008 CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com
  18. 18. Sound Designer Notes by Jesse Peterson 'Seasons in the Valley' is a special film that I feel lucky to be a part of. This project was my second feature as a lead sound designer/editor and I feel that I learned as much as I contributed. From a technical point of view, this picture forced me to approach my work from a different angle than what I was used to. Up until this job, most of my work featured the sound design as a character or lead element. Like making a shot of a P.A. dumping a bucket of dirt on our hero's head sound like a mortar attack. 'Seasons' is a sad and powerful story where dialog and VO is everything. While trying to keep the audience from noticing what I did, I had to take a run and gun doc and sell it as a 5.1 presentation. I studied other feature docs and 'less is more' is truly the name of the game. I carefully chose backgrounds fade points from scene to scene and focused on staying invisible, real vs. hyper-real. Adam is very passionate about music and Sam's score is beautifully composed. In the final mix, Adam was literally the conductor while my fingers on the faders became the orchestra. I really enjoyed that collaboration and those sessions added to my skill set enormously. I have definitely left this project as a more well rounded and confident editor and mixer and am really looking forward to the next Chatsby film. CHATSBY FILMS NY 152 W 25th St. Suite 1202 NY, NY 10001 USA Tel +1(212) 462-2600 Fax +1(212) 929-7567 www.seasonsinthevalley.com info@chatsbyfilms.com

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