A brand new Colorado movie pageant brings trendy which means to a historic barn

On the hillside behind the yellow barn at Yellow Barn Farm there’s a blackened, shattered forest. The tree remnants mark the Cal-Wooden hearth, which began Oct. 17, 2020, 6 miles due west of the farm and tore off in all instructions, reaching the farm’s edge by that night. Simply two days prior, Azuraye Wycoff, who grew up on the farm, had packed all of her belongings and moved again from Boston at her mom’s insistence. Because the story goes, Wycoff’s mom stored messaging her daughter, telling her that she wanted to maneuver dwelling by Oct. 15.

“It’s fairly typical for my mother,” Wycoff stated. “Not a lot having a particular date, however she will get actually good intuitive hits that one thing is coming, and he or she will be fairly predictive. However she actually clearly had a message about that timing.”

The Wycoffs had been making an attempt to promote the Yellow Barn Farm for seven years earlier than Azuraye moved again. Each daughters had moved away — Azuraye to Boston and her youthful sister, Devon, to New Zealand. However a life-altering bike crash in 2019 introduced Devon dwelling to Boulder County, whereas a mom’s premonition — and a little bit of longing on her personal half — introduced Azuraye again. With all three girls on the farm by the top of 2020, the sisters hatched a brand new plan. 

Yellow Barn Farm is tough to explain in a sentence, so listed here are three: It’s a regenerative farming web site the place they analysis soil restoration in partnership with Drylands Agroecology Analysis. It’s a small enterprise collective, the place a dozen companies lease house to work on merchandise, take conferences and promote batches of their items. And it’s an occasion house for artistic group workshops, lessons and festivals, just like the inaugural Yellow Barn Movie Pageant going down Saturday.

A greenhouse in the middle of a field.
The ring home the place among the farm’s produce is grown all year long. The farm has partnered with Drylands Agroecology Analysis since 2020 to experiment with modern regenerative agriculture methods. (Photograph by Devon Wycoff)

They tried to host art-centered tasks throughout Azuraye’s first full 12 months working the farm, however didn’t have a secure financial mannequin. “We had such a stupendous idea, however the construction wasn’t there,” Azuraye stated of a 2021 occasion. “We didn’t have the agreements in place, and emotions obtained damage and bridges obtained burned.”

They’ve since stabilized their income — largely via the charges that companies pay to make use of the house — and realized the best way to write contracts. 

“Sure, the land’s necessary, the meals is necessary, but when we don’t actually permit folks to precise their concepts and share a distinct imaginative and prescient for a future, then you recognize, that’s form of the glue I believe that’s at present lacking. However we’re going to create it,” Azuraye stated. 

That glue is gathering folks within the namesake yellow barn for occasions, just like the Yellow Barn Movie Pageant.

Getting their arms soiled

The movie pageant is the brainchild of Devon and her longtime pal from movie college, Katie McManus. Devon and McManus have crossed paths all through the years since they graduated from the College of Colorado. Each moved to New York Metropolis at totally different factors after commencement. Devon labored as a dresser in Broadway reveals whereas McManus began her appearing profession. When the pandemic hit New York, McManus moved again to Colorado, the place she’d grown up.

“It was like a 48-hour interval of the whole lot that I’d spent six years constructing in New York Metropolis — getting an agent, having an excellent house, discovering a job, lastly auditioning, getting my diploma, working via debt — simply gone, like that,” McManus stated. 

She resumed life in Colorado, not sure when she’d get again to appearing. In 2021, Devon known as and requested if she may assist with Yellow Barn Farm’s “Artwork and Eat” occasion, a part of the farm’s first slate of cultural occasions. “It was the primary time I felt impressed once more,” McManus stated.

Two pigs walking in a grassy field.
Yellow Barn Farm companions with Stalk Market on a group compost program in Boulder County. The compost buckets are picked up by Stalk Market workers, and dropped at Yellow Barn Farm, the place the meals scraps are fed to the pigs.
(Photograph by Devon Wycoff)

Late final week, McManus was on the farm to speak concerning the movie pageant. “Devon will say we had the thought final 12 months. However I really feel subconsciously this second, this pageant, and hopefully larger, broader arts and tradition programming right here, has been constructing for years.” (In a separate interview, Devon did certainly say that the seed of the movie pageant was planted in November 2022.) 

That’s form of a theme on the Yellow Barn Farm. All three girls can let you know the dates of catalyzing occasions — the hearth, the crash, the pandemic — however what these occasions set in movement had been constructing, in a method or one other, for years. 

“I used to be in completely no place to maneuver dwelling,” Azuraye stated, when requested about how she felt when her mother’s messages began coming via. Azuraye’s background is in worldwide affairs and he or she had began a transferring enterprise in Boston that she wasn’t able to stroll away from.

However each experiences have confirmed helpful with this new mission. The entrepreneurial expertise she realized working a enterprise have translated into working farm operations, and the worldwide diplomacy expertise have helped her convey varied pursuits collectively on this one plot of land. 

“We’ve got so many various organizations which are working right here, and people, so plenty of what I do is principally a translation of: ‘What are you truly making an attempt to say? What are your wants?’” Azuraye stated. 

The movie program

The one-day movie pageant will run from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, and consists of 5 movie blocks. The primary block, titled “The Land and Us,” focuses on agricultural communities from around the globe and options documentaries and narrative shorts. 

The second block is devoted to Native filmmakers, the unique stewards of the land, McManus and Devon clarify. This 12 months’s function movie, proven in the course of the Native block, is “Fancy Dance,” written and directed by Erica Tremblay, starring Lily Gladstone of “Killers of the Flower Moon” fame. 

Gladstone can be featured within the pageant’s centerpiece movie, “Quantum Cowboys,” which Devon described as “{a partially} animated, partially reside motion, acid journey of a Western.”

“(Gladstone) is simply dominating our pageant this 12 months and I’m not even mad about it,” McManus stated. “The quantity of stuff we noticed that she was in, I used to be like possibly we should always simply make this the Lily Gladstone pageant.”

The pageant additionally has a block devoted to Colorado filmmakers, and one phase that they name the “no guidelines” block, which options shorts that Devon and McManus selected with out parameters.  

“It’s geared towards filmmakers who need one thing somewhat edgier,” Devon defined. “A few of these (shorts) are somewhat unhinged.”

Bringing it dwelling

There may be one quick movie within the agriculture block that McManus will get particularly enthusiastic about known as “The Prospects of Regeneration.” The movie is narrated by Lyla June Johnston, a Native scholar and speaker. It’s a fast, 6-minute animation that traces the roots of the trendy regenerative agriculture motion again to Native practices from round North America. 

A fire burns on a hillside behind horse stables
The Cal-Wooden hearth in 2020 burned over 10,000 acres and is the biggest hearth in Boulder County’s historical past. It reached the sting of the Yellow Barn Farm property, pictured right here, however a shift within the wind triggered the hearth to alter course on the final second. (Photograph supplied by Azuraye Wycoff)

The movie explains how regenerative agriculture isn’t just about working in tandem with nature, but additionally about bringing group along with frequent goal. It’s straightforward to see how the Wycoffs have labored — and are nonetheless working — these beliefs into their mannequin for the Yellow Barn Farm. As Azuraye put it, they’re “in search of circularity.” Each within the agricultural methods, like planting silvopastures and utilizing grazing animals to until the land, and within the financial methods, by asking what number of instances they will get a greenback to flow into via the farm’s microeconomy, Azuraye defined.

McManus walked across the again of the Makers’ Area and paused to pet a few oinking pigs that ran to the fence to greet her. We have been standing proper on the fringe of the Cal-Wooden hearth’s path, the hillside ascending from the property line nonetheless remarkably barren. She adopted my gaze towards the burnt tree trunks.

“Insurance coverage can cowl a certain quantity of timber to be replanted, nevertheless it’s simply form of what occurs,” McManus stated, shrugging. “Nature is a cycle of creation and destruction.”

Yellow Barn Movie Pageant

Date: Dec. 9, 2023

Location: Yellow Barn Farm, 9417 N. Foothills Freeway., Longmont, CO 

Value: $55 full pageant move; $15 for particular person movie blocks


11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.- Shorts: The Land and Us

12:50-2:10 p.m. – Function: Fancy Dance

2:30-4 p.m. – Shorts: Colorado Filmmakers

4:20-5:50 p.m. – Shorts: No Guidelines

6:10-7:50 p.m. – Centerpiece: Quantum Cowboys with Q&A

Web site: https://www.yellowbarn.farm/film-festival