Apr 6, 2009
“ASPARAGUS! Stalking the American Life” To Hit PBS Airwaves

The award-winning, independent documentary film “ASPARAGUS! Stalking the American Life” will air on Michigan PBS stations at 8 p.m. April 29.

The broadcast, underwritten by Farm Bureau Insurance and the Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board, can be viewed on these stations:

• WGVU-TV Grand Rapids
• WFUM-TV Flint
• WDCQ-TV Saginaw
• WNMU-TV Marquette
• WKAR-TV East Lansing
• WTVS -TV Detroit
• WCMU-TV Mt. Pleasant

The hour-long film tells a compelling and poignant story about Michigan’s agricultural community and the social, economic and political factors influencing asparagus production and marketing. The “stalk-umentary” is the work of filmmakers Anne de Mare and Oceana County native Kirsten Kelly.

Original inspiration for the film surfaced when Kelly, after moving away from her western Michigan homeland, discovered that tales of her upbringing on an asparagus farm – and as a member of an asparagus-themed dance troupe – would garner anything from raised eyebrows to outright disbelief.

“I was finding out that people didn’t really know or ever think about where their food was coming from – how it was grown, or who grew it, or the politics behind it,” Kelly said.

Returning home with de Mare, an acclaimed playwright, producer and director from New York City, the two began research at the 2002 National Asparagus Festival in Hart.

“We started finding out about the intense political and economic barriers, and the policies that people were fighting for, and that this was really a crop that was on the edge,” Kelly said. “I started understanding there was an entertaining, fun film to be made that also had a message. We have this great culture and passion around asparagus, and Anne and I began talking about telling a story to capture that.”

Since its premiere in 2006, the film has earned critical acclaim and dozens of awards at film festivals across the country. DeMare and Kelly were honored last year by the Michigan Farm Bureau, and presented the organization’s Agricultural Communicator of the Year Award for broadcast media.

For more information about the film, visit www.asparagusthemovie.com.

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