WILLIAMSTOWN -- Filmmaker Bette Craig has lived in one of the oldest houses in South Williamstown since December, 1979 and is ready to share its stories at Images Cinema this weekend.
Built in 1763 and home to the Rhodes family for almost a century from 1875-1972, it was in this farmhouse that Craig and her husband discovered an assortment of old possessions concealed beneath seven layers of linoleum of the dining room floor and decided to make a film about the Rhodes family.
"From the earliest days here I had the idea that it would be great to explore the history of this family, what was going on in that time, in this place, using their experiences to tell the story," Craig explained. "Finally, my husband and I got around to doing it."
The result was "A Home Movie," a documentary about farm life in Williamstown, told through interviews with Rhodes family members, including neighbors of Craig's who live on part of what had been the 300-acre dairy farm. The film also explores the increasing difficulty of making a living as a subsistence farmer and the problem of the loss of farmland.
The film screens Sunday, at 4 p.m., at Images Cinema as part of the Fresh Fest food and farm-themed film festival. Craig will be present at the showing.
Craig said one of the most valuable parts of the film is a 1983 interview with Lillian Rhodes, the wife of Robert Rhodes, about the early history of the house and her life there. Craig
When Robert died in 1943, his two eldest teenage sons were taken out of school to run the farm. But Craig said that today, young people are struggling with how to make a living in farming.
"Farming, in a way, is coming back," Craig said, adding that young people are trying to develop higher value, add farm products and do more with marketing. "It's still very hard and I think the preciousness of our farm land, how important it is, and what value it is I think that's what I'm really trying to impress on people: that we shouldn't be paving over our heritage."
While Craig's film explores local history and issues, the German film "More Than Honey," by Swiss director Markus Imhoof, focuses on universal honeybee problems, such as pressure from pests, diseases and challenging conditions as a result of commercial beekeeping. All these factors are damaging honeybees as a species.
"More Than Honey" will be shown at Images as part of Fresh Fest on Saturday, at 4 p.m. Northern Berkshire Beekeepers Association President Alethea Morrison and NBBA member Tony Pisano will hold a local honey tasting at the screening.
Pisano said bees brought into the United States from another country bring diseases to which local bees have no resistance. An example is varroa mites, currently the biggest killer of bees.
"By having things moved around everywhere on the Earth you're exposing insects and animals to things they normally wouldn't be exposed to," Pisano said. "So by moving bees around the country and around the world, they're just exposing them to all the possible diseases they could get."
"I think that it's important for people to recognize the importance of honeybees in our agricultural system," said Morrison, adding that honeybees are responsible for pollinating one third of the crops that we eat. "People are so afraid of bees when they are really so important to our survival."
Morrison said our unsustainable agricultural model, which requires honeybees to be kept as livestock and shipped across the country and includes the system of planting crops, shipping food long distances and large monocultures, is one of the reasons honeybees are suffering.
"Its nature out of balance," she said. "The symptoms that they are having are part of the problem of the way we are growing our food. We need to rethink the way we do things and focus more on local food production."
Information on Fresh Fest, visit www.imagescinema.org.