The Garden

Eye on the Oscars: Documentaries

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTOR: Scott Hamilton Kennedy began his career directing musicvideos. His first doc, “OT: Our Town,” was shortlisted for an Oscar nom. “The Garden” is his second doc.

SUBJECT: A 14-acre community garden at 41st and Alameda streets in South Central L.A., South Central Farm was created as a form of healing after the L.A. riots in 1992. But bulldozers threaten to level the urban spot.

FINANCING: Independently financed, mostly by the director.

DISTRIB: None

HELMER COMMENTS: “I love underdog stories,” Kennedy says. “From the first day of filming to our world premiere, this project took almost 4½ years. The story is told through scenes as much as possible. It had many, many twists and turns. When I started filming, the farmers’ initial eviction was only a few weeks away. In that time, they found a pro bono lawyer and won a temporary injunction to stay on the land. That was a huge twist. Then, that injunction got thrown out of court. But the farmers kept fighting. Then the developer, Ralph Horowitz, offered to sell them the land. The farmers raised the money. Then, Horowitz didn’t sell it to them. The twists and turns were not the problem. The challenge was capturing all of it, and condensing it into a story that was manageable. Luckily, I live only 15 minutes from the farm location so I could jump on my motorcycle and get down there quickly.”

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