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'Dirt! The Movie' to Screen in Manhattan on November 10

By Christopher Renner
Announcement | November 4, 2009

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Building on their successful run of independent films, the Manhattan Alliance for Peace and Justice will show Dirt! The Movie for the November installation of their Monthly Film Series. The screening will take place at 6:30 pm on November 10th at the Manhattan Public Library Auditorium.

Dirt! The Movie is an insightful and timely film that tells the story of the glorious and unappreciated material beneath our feet. One teaspoon of dirt contains a billion organisms working in remarkable balance to maintain and sustain a series of complex, thriving communities that impact our daily lives.

Inspired by William Bryant Logan's acclaimed book, Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, Dirt! The Movie takes a humorous and substantial look into the history and current state of the living organic matter that we came from and will later return to. An eclectic group of participants ranging from biologists to prisoners incarcerated on Rikers Island, including Kansas' own Wes Jackson of the Land Institute in Salina, offer answers to problems and inspire the viewer to clean up the mess that humans have created.

Directed by award-winning filmmakers Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow, Dirt! is produced through Common Ground Media, a non-profit foundation. Benenson has over 30 years of experience in filmmaking including documentary features for PBS and feature films including Under the Volcano and A Walk on the Moon.

"Dirt is a living engine for life on Earth" says Benenson. "It recycles everything that falls to the ground. If we didn't have a living skin on the Earth, we wouldn't exist."

Rosow has written, directed and produced more than 20 documentaries, including Routes and Rhythm with Harry Belafonte for PBS, Doctora for England's Channel 4 and Knights for France's Channel +. Rosow has a PhD in History from the University of California at Berkley and has done post-graduate work at the University of Southern California in ecology, biochemistry, cellular physiology, and parisitology.

"We are treating dirt as a story, not a topic," says Rosow. "We want people to start off with and emotional connection to dirt. Then we want to instill a sense of caution about the destructive things we are doing to nature and dirt and how those behaviors impact our daily lives."

Narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis, Dirt! The Movie proves that times are changing. Brown is the new green. More than 25 renowned global visionaries, including Vandana Shiva who spoke at K-State on October 16th, in countries around the world are discovering new ways of thinking as they come together to repair this natural resource with practical, visible solutions. To capture these people and their inspiring stories, the production team filmed in more than 20 locations, including Argentina, Brazil, France, India, Kenya, and several regions of the United States.

All films in MAPJ's Monthly Film Series are shown free of charge and are open to the public, however seating is limited to approx. 150. As such, it is advisable to arrive 10-15 minutes before the start of the film at 6:30 pm.

Following the film is a time for discussion of the topics and themes presented and their implications at the local level.


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