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The Last Barn Dance

January 25, 2016 - Posted in ETV by Glenn Rawls

The Last Barn Dance is a short film that follows a dairy farmer's plight to save his farm and a barn-dance tradition his family started nearly 50 years ago.  

Randy Lewis has seen almost every other family farm close its doors in Alamance County, North Carolina.  With rising fuel and feed costs, Lewis is unable to sustain his own herd and unable to compete against factory dairy farms.   In an effort to keep his dairy running, Lewis began bottling his own milk on a much smaller scale, with hopes of gaining some control over the quality and cost of his product. The family dairy business is only part of what stands in the balance. Losing the farm would also mean losing a community gathering place and home of the town's annual barn dance. The stakes are high. But the barn is tattered, the band old, and the younger generation is unlikely to pick-up the pieces.  It's up to Randy Lewis, stalwart keeper of the past and a progressive thinker, to find new ways to save the old ways.   

Co-directors Ted Richardson and Jason Arthurs have logged 25 years of combined experience documenting the daily life of North Carolinians through documentary photography and most recently, documentary film. Arthurs’ first full-length documentary film, Without a Fight, premiered in 2012 at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and Richardson began early production on his debut film, The Last Barn Dance, in 2011. The two collaborated on a television documentary series in 2013 produced by Jennifer Lopez called Los Jets that documented the lives of immigrant youth in Siler City, NC.

The Last Barn Dance is part of ETV’s Reel South series, produced in partnership with UNC-TV and the Southern Documentary Fund.  If you missed the broadcast premiere in January, you can watch it on scetv.org.

 

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