Unusually Clever People, Watch Someone Else Do It

PlantPOP Wants to Film your Story

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From left, filmmaker Leon Guanzon, “art director” Art Parkerson, outside producer Brie Arthur, previous and current producers Christina Keeling and Laura Christian, and Stephen Farris (the brother-in-law).

In a recent post I recommended some videos by the very cool “horticultural film studio” PlantPOP (also on Youtube) and promised more about them soon. One phone call later, here ya go.

To me it’s a fascinating story of art meets commerce. Art Parkerson grew up in the Tidewater region of Virginia as the son of the owner of a wholesale grower – Lancaster Farms. Art considered art school but chose instead to take over the family business when the time came. Also taking him away from art? Having 6 kids.

But after a decade of all-business and family, he started scratching his artistic itch again when his brother-in-law, a filmmaking student in New York, made a film in the nursery. While helping with the project, Art realized that having made videos throughout high school, he knew as much about storytelling as his actual-film-school relative!

It takes more than a bit of talent to make movies, though; it takes time, which Art doesn’t have. But inspired by a philanthropist’s support of a local museum, he realized he could pay others to make the art that he’s passionate about – stories of plants and their impact on people’s lives. Observing the attention paid to clothing as art in the fashion world, he decided that “plants, too, deserve to be on the highest artistic pedestal.”

So in the role of “art director,” Art and his team at Lancaster Farms began making videos. They included time-lapses, plant porn with the pansies they grow, and just-cool stuff like “Dormancy, a Video Poem.”

Turns out they didn’t help sell plants. But commercials that do sell plants – what fun are they to make?

So to go full art-film, plantPOP was born and quickly saw its films accepted by the Virginia Film Festival (twice) and the Full Bloom Film Festival.

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Seeking Plant-People Stories

Eschewing how-to garden videos, PlantPOP prefers storytelling in the style of radio’s “This American Life.” Noting that plant stories today focus primarily on growing edibles, Art hopes to fill the void by showing plants as sources of beauty, ripe for aesthetic appreciation.

So do YOU have a story about how plants have improved your life or the life of someone you know? Got an emotional connection with plants? Leave a comment here or email: lchristian@lancasterfarms.com.

The stories PlantPOP has filmed so far include “Tony Avent, Plant Hunter,” “Brie Arthur Transforming the Suburban Landscape, “Brent and Becky, Collectors and Completers” and this one about blogger Les Parks:

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Seeking Filmmakers

PlantPOP is also looking to hire filmmakers in other parts of the U.S. (and especially filmmakers outside of the plant world) to tell these stories. So spread the word!

Posted by on February 9, 2017 at 4:16 pm, in the category Unusually Clever People, Watch Someone Else Do It.
6 Comments

6 responses to “PlantPOP Wants to Film your Story”

  1. Allyson Levy says:

    We are a small Botanical Garden-Arboretum (level II Accreditation). Located in the lower Hudson Valley, with a mission of being a “Living Textbook”. We offer Open Garden Weekends as well as a monthly hands-on Edible Landscaping class to get people inspired to plant. We have specialty collections that include hardy unusual edible plantings, hardy SW plants & Cacti and Plant Explorer sections to name a few. We believe we currently have the most planted diversity in Ulster

  2. Beth Bruno says:

    I am a horticultural therapist working with adults in an adult day care setting. We have gardens and greenhouses and see the amazing miracles that can happen when people with dementia and other diagnoses interact with plants and plant-rich environments. I would love to tell our story as one of hope and healing for folks who have lost so much. I am located in Shelby, NC.

  3. Marcia says:

    Here’s a video you might enjoy. It’s indirectly a gardening video. As a nestbox monitor for declining insectivores, I truly believe that we can get the younger generations hooked on gardening if they see gardening benefits more than the individual. Children love baby animals and when taught that baby birds need our our help and gardens are necessary to fulfill that purpose, they’re all in….for life. I came to gardening late and it was the plight of the bird that led me there.

    Lassie – Episode #315 – “Project Bluebird” – Season 9, Ep. 24 – 03/24/1963
    (Not the most scientifically accurate depiction, but WAY ahead of its time.)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCTEye-qf5s&t=16s

  4. If you come to WNC to see Mossin’ Annie you might want to come see me just over the mountain near Clyde, NC. My garden is much evolved and almost ready for a closeup. Yes the plants are important, but I work to let the land itself speak in collaboration with the gardener. The plants become the brush strokes of a living painting as two voices merge to tell a complicated story. I aim to become a minor roadside attraction.

    You can also meet Bulbarella in the garden next door.

  5. What a worthy project! Will send them a note regarding the profiled gardeners in Big Dreams, Small Garden. Each of them overcame difficulties of space, budget time, etc… to create beautiful little Edens; and in doing so created a deep sense of peace and contentment within themselves. Thanks for the post Susan.

  6. I would enjoy sharing my story as a moss rescuer, moss farmer, moss artist, moss landscaper and author of The Magical World of Moss Gardening (Timber Press 2015). My passion for mosses is contagious. I live in the mountains of western North Carolina. I have a Mossery in Brevard where I cultivate mosses for landscape applications. My moss installations include residential and commercial projects including a moss green roof at the NC Arboretum in Asheville, NC.

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