Cultivating the Wild
Directed by: Eric Breitenbach
USA, 2020, 57m
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Cultivating the Wild’s award-winning director, Eric Breitenbach (Alligator Book, FFF 1992) melds an important historical voice with contemporary voices to ask critical questions about the stewardship of nature and culture in Florida and Georgia. In 1791, naturalist William Bartram published what may have been the first American work of natural history, his Travels, which depicted the natural glories of the Southeast in deliberate and inspiring language and drawings. Two centuries later, the book remains in print and continues to inspire—transcending scientific boundaries to deeply influence lovers of nature and literature. Breitenbach uses Bartram’s philosophy, words, and images to frame the work of six “modern day Bartrams”—regional artists, scientists, conservators, and culture-keepers—creating a chorus of celebration and concern about the treasures of the region and its fragility. By fusing literature, history, art, culture, and conservation through luscious cinematography, Cultivating the Wild give us the medicine we need to swallow… and provides a powerful sense of the stakes if we don’t.