Graze

Directed by Viva Barrows
Visit Film Site: grazefilm.com

Through honest filmmaking and stunning imagery, Graze enters the discussion on climate change and our responsibility to our ecosystem by presenting the story of a successful family business that has chosen to use natural, renewable methods in place of today’s standard industrial technologies. Goats R Us is a grazing company operating in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1993. Their goats are hired to graze the increasingly dry hillsides surrounding Bay Area towns and cities, protecting communities from the destructive paths of fires that occur with greater frequency due to global warming.

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Through cinema verité and rich conversations with the family and the employees, Graze tells the story of a company that uses methods of agriculture uncommon in an urban landscape.

Goats R Us owners Terri and Egon Oyarzún formed the business shortly after the Oakland Hills fire of 1991 destroyed Terri’s childhood home. As we dig deeper, another narrative emerges: that of immigration and intercultural exchange. The herders, including Egon, originate from countries in South America, having journeyed far from home for opportunities in the US. On the Oyarzún ranch, the herders find work and a lifestyle that encourages a deep connection with the land. Graze brings the audience into a world where ecological and social issues interconnect, where humans utilize animals in respectful, mutually beneficial ways to support the environment, and where dedication and commitment to a sustainable lifestyle directly benefits the larger community.

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Viva Barrows holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from UC Berkeley where she began her film career. Her first student film, Caché, based on San Francisco’s Chinatown, screened in several student festivals. Since then, she worked closely with Professors Laura Nader and Roberto Gonzalez as editor for their documentary, Losing Knowledge: Fifty Years of Change– about the rapid cultural change to a once self sufficient community in the mountains of Oaxaca Mexico. ‘Losing Knowledge’ is currently on the festival circuit. Ms. Barrows worked at Wired Magazine in the photo department as the in-house video editor where she managed and created the video content for the magazine’s monthly digital publication. Working in this fast paced environment gave Ms. Barrows the momentum to concentrate on her own films and she went on to direct, edit and/or shoot documentaries such as Free Speech for One Dollar, Surviving Cluster Bombs, special features for the dvd re-release of You Got To Move (1985) and Persimmons for Later. She continues to edit and direct music videos for local San Francisco bay area musicians and is currently in pre-production with her new documentary entitled Graze. Ms. Barrows resides in Oakland, California where she was born and raised.

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