BOSTON – “A Small Good Thing,” a film by Parkersburg native Pamela Tanner Boll, recently won the Best Documentary Award at its premiere at the 2015 Boston International Film Festival.
The movie explores the question, How can we live in a better way?
“While the philosophy of ‘more is better’ has been key to American economic success for the past 50 years, we now find ourselves backed into an isolated corner – where our devices, celebrity entertainment, dream homes and wealth aren’t making us any happier,” Boll, the film’s director and executive producer, said in an email.
“A Small Good Thing explores how the American Dream has reached its end and how for most of us, greater material wealth and upward mobility are no longer possible. To find out what is taking its place, this feature documentary follows six people in one community who have recast their lives so they can live with a sense of meaning,” according to the movie’s website.
“The film tells the stories of people moving toward a more holistic conception of happiness – one based on a close connection to their bodies and health, to the natural world, and to the greater good,” according to the film’s website.
The movie’s next screening is at the Berkshire International Film Festival on May 31 in the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Mass.
Produced by Mystic Artists from Winchester, Mass., and shot on location in communities throughout the Berkshires, the film follows innovative farmer Sean Stanton, social work student Tim Durrin and yoga teacher Mark Gerow, whose earlier careers in the armed forces have now shifted to service of a different kind; Jen and Pete Salinetti, a college-educated couple with two small children who have chosen to be farmers as a way to connect with their community; and Shirley Edgerton, a community activist and founder of both the Youth Alive Step Team and the Women of Color Giving Circle, according to a press release.
With this new film, Boll partners with producers and long-time associates Paula Kirk and Kerthy Fix.
“A Small Good Thing” does not pretend to have all the answers,” said Boll. “However, the film asks whether we can change our larger goals as a nation and learn from the rest of the world about the small truths that are the sources of human happiness. The film explores how working in small but meaningful ways, we can overcome obstacles to happiness to create joy for ourselves and others.”
Adding professional insight to the “everyday people” covered in the film, Boll said, are Bill McKibben, author on climate change; Jeremy Rifkin on the future of energy; Stephen Cope, director of the Institute for Extraordinary Living at Kripalu; Dacher Keltner, positive psychology researcher, and Kristin Neff, an expert on self-compassion.
Boll, a 1973 graduate of Parkersburg High School, lives in Massachusetts. She was executive producer and director of “Who Does She Think She Is?”, co-executive producer of the Academy Award-winning documentary “Born into Brothels,” and the executive producer of eight documentaries: “Connected,” “In a Dream,” “Our Summer in Tehran,” “Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields,” “Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors without Border,” “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry,” “Close to the Fire” and “E-Team.”