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American Commune (2013)
The true story of The Farm, America’s largest commune, and two sisters’ journey to revisit their past. In 1971 some 320 young idealistic San Franciscans followed their spiritual leader Stephen Gaskin to Summertown, Tennessee, where, with money they’d pooled together, they purchased more than a thousand acres with the intention of creating a new community based on a communal and agrarian lifestyle.
Naming it The Farm, the new residents set out to create a self-sustaining community, despite the fact that few if any of them had any experience with agriculture. They embraced non-violence, for example, and they did not eat meat, they did not drink alcohol, they did not use birth control, they did not wear make-up, the use of synthetic materials was widely avoided, and money was hardly in use. The Farm would take in anyone who showed up at the gates. They were all to take care of each other.
Sisters Rena and Nadine Mundo were born on The Farm and grew up in this counter-cultural community. They lived there until 1985 when a schism in the community caused their parents to leave. The sisters moved to southern California, where they faced a radically different culture. Feeling no one would understand their upbringing, they kept it to themselves until they attended a reunion at The Farm after an absence of more than 20 years.
Blending footage from their visit with a treasure trove of archival stills and film, Rena and Nadine create a vivid portrait of life on The Farm and tell the story of a community built on generosity and hope.