Spring Filming Weekend

George writes about our latest shoot with the crew at Holy Cross Abbey.


Filming Weekend at the Abbey

A beautiful, early spring weekend welcomed the Picture Farmer Films crew to Holy Cross Abbey for continued shooting of Saving Place, Saving Grace. As we near our fall airing on presenting PBS station WVPT the documentary is taking shape with key interviews and spring footage.

The Cool Spring House built in 1784 was the location for interviews with Kurt Ascherman, Companion at the monastery and Bruce Rinker, Ph.D., forest ecologist and science educator. The home built by the Wormley family evoked the thought “if walls could talk”. As we looked out the windows framed by two foot thick, limestone walls, one can almost see young George Washington, who surveyed the property, ride past; or Civil War soldiers marching into battle.  A documentary camera crew,152 years later, explored the future aspirations of this land. A long way from Matthew Brady, Thomas Edison, and Philo Farnsworth!

Kurt passionately painted the picture of the challenges and opportunities facing the monastic community and its role in our rapidly changing society.

Bruce framed the caring of our earth as an integral part of the Cistercian tradition. The work at the monastery is an example for us all.

In the afternoon, Brother Efrain told us of his calling to monastic life and relationship with God in a very powerful message. The Novitiate setting, embellished among icons, spare furniture, and expansive views outside large plate glass windows, beckons new members and those who study contemplative prayer in this peaceful place.

Fr. Arthur shared his perspective as a parish priest and currently, as an observer at Holy Cross Abbey. His academic and professional training in agronomy melds beautifully with the ecological activities going on around him.

Dr. Andy Hoffman of The University of Michigan visited for the first time since his graduate students from the School of Natural Resources report was issued in 2010. Fr. Robert gave him a tour of the newly renovated bakery. Needless to say, he was impressed by the new fruitcake oven which takes a fraction of space and energy of the former bread behemoth. Fr. James showed him the acres around Cool Spring that have been fenced from the cattle. Native hardwood plantings already healing the stream and providing a beautiful habitat corridor to the Shenandoah River.

All in all, we enjoyed many conversations and gained valuable insights during our filming weekend. The storyline for Saving Place, Saving Grace grew, and we captured many more views of the majestic landscape that’s home to the Holy Cross Abbey community.

We wish you well this spring!