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South Whidbey resident undertakes new documentary
Langley resident Chris Korrow is embarking on a new endeavor.
Korrow is completing his third documentary film titled “Dancing with Thoreau,” which advocates a society with a stronger connection to nature.
For six years, Korrow has travelled all over the nation filming footage and gathering interviews for the documentary. He’s pared it down to about 17 interviews that range from scientists and spiritual leaders to farmers and Whidbey residents. The film also includes footage and photography from national parks and Whidbey Island.
Korrow has two award-winning documentaries under his belt already, but they come across more as nature films. “Garden Insects” and “Frost Flowers” were picked up and aired by PBS. “Garden Insects” collected about 2.5 million viewers and “Frost Flowers” continues to broadcast on the channel. He is confident “Dancing with Thoreau” will also be picked up by PBS.
The film is a progression from his previous two documentaries and tackles more difficult concepts, such as consciousness and awareness. Korrow explores what consciousness is and how society might improve consciousness. He also examines the benefits of connecting with the environment.
“The whole reason I do what I do is to be an advocate for the environment,” he said.
When people have a successful connection with nature, it prompts them to be more generous and compassionate, he said. People are also more energized after spending time with nature than after spending time with the TV, he said.
That’s not to say technology is bad, said Korrow, but his film advocates for a balance between material relationships and nature.
He hopes people who view the film leave with a strong desire to have a closer connection with the planet and have their own experiences with nature.
“I’m hoping people are inspired to simplify their lives,” he said. “For their own happiness, to have a closer connection with life in general.”
Stephan Schwartz, a science writer and Langley resident, said the film is set to be a very good documentary. Schwartz, a senior Samueli Fellow for Brain, Mind and Healing at the Samueli Institute, also provides commentary for the film.
Schwartz said society’s relationship with the planet has huge effects and is the source of climate change. The world will be a different place in a few years with rising sea levels and rising temperatures, he said. Awakening people’s awareness to work with the Earth instead of being a dominant force on the planet is important, he said.
“If we don’t learn that we are going to be dealing with these things, we have some very difficult problems,” he said. “Chris is trying to awaken people’s consciousness.”
On a personal level, Korrow connects with the environment through agriculture. Korrow works as a small farmer on the corner of Al Anderson and Fairgrounds roads. He grows more than 20 crops, from lettuce and garlic to potatoes, on a one-third-acre plot. He’s been a farmer for 25 years, the past two of which were spent in Langley.
“This is the most beautiful garden I’ve ever had,” he said.
Farming on a small plot of land has taught him a lot, including how to deal with nature and overcome its obstacles.
Korrow is planning to fund the film largely with donations from a crowdsourcing website. After 2008, a lot of documentary funding dried up and it’s hard to fund the project alone, he said.
But if he doesn’t get the full amount he will still make the documentary, Korrow said.
“I’d like to see other people believe in this and support it,” he said.
Korrow will have a public viewing of the film’s trailer with a question and answer session at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30 at Deer Lagoon Grange, 5142 Bayview Road.