Beatrix Farrand's American Landscapes
Lynden B. Miller explores the life and work of America's first female landscape architect, Beatrix Farrand.
Directed by Stephen Ives
Produced by Lauren DeFilippo, Karen Smythe, Anne Cleves Symmes
Editor: Kent Bassett
Cinematography: Buddy Squires
Sound Recording: John Zecca
Original Music: Peter Rundquist
Narrator: Lynden B. Miller
An Insignia Films Production
BEATRIX FARRAND'S AMERICAN LANDSCAPES follows award-winning public garden designer Lynden B. Miller as she sets off to explore the remarkable life and career of America's first female landscape architect, Beatrix Farrand. Farrand was responsible for some of the most celebrated gardens in the United States and helped create a distinctive American voice in landscape architecture.
"The superbly made documentary matches its heroine's sense for perfection in all details." Vanessa Sellers, NY Botanical Garden
Although she created gardens for the rich and powerful, including John D. Rockefeller, Jr., J.P. Morgan, and President Woodrow Wilson, she also was an early advocate for the value of public gardens and believed strongly in the power of the natural world to make people's lives better.
Through the documentary, Miller journeys to iconic Farrand gardens, engaging designers, scholars and horticulturists in a spirited dialogue about the meaning and importance of this ground-breaking early 20th-century woman. Lynden Miller's experience as New York City's most prominent public garden designer is woven into a wide-ranging biography of Farrand's life and times.
Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2020
Copyright Date: 2019
DVD ISBN: 1-948745-45-3
"Insightful and thoroughly enjoyable...Lynden B. Miller, designer of the Conservatory Gardens in Central Park and so many other notable projects, is able to bring Beatrix Farrand's legacy into a contemporary context, revealing that the principles for which her hero stood are as relevant today as they were a century ago. This film is a must view for students of landscape architecture, horticulture, and women's studies. These two giants of landscape design drew on a rare combination of talent and resilience to succeed despite the many challenges they encountered."
Donald A. Rakow, Associate Professor of Horticulture, Cornell University
"Not until I saw Beatrix Farrand's American Landscapes did I feel like I had just been given a gift that I waited decades for. The film is as rich and elegant as Farrand's landscapes. It does her life and work justice, and is a must see for anyone interested in landscape architecture, garden design or women's history."
Katya Crawford, Chair and Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of New Mexico
"A work of art chronicling the intersection between garden history and now. We're talking a deftly researched script tracing Farrand's evolution from her New York City socialite roots to her courageous horticultural education shadowing Arnold Arboretum's first director, Charles Sprague Sargent, at a time when women were emphatically not admitted into the field."
Tovah Martin, New England Home
"Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted dismissed her as a 'dabbler.' No university would accept her. Her own friends thought her professional ambition was 'a sort of mild mania.' Yet Beatrix Farrand, who lived from 1872 to 1959, persisted. And she became the first female landscape architect, leaving her mark in gardens, parks, and other public landscapes across the country."
Becky Pritchard, Mount Desert Islander
"Lynden Miller's ability as a natural educator and her lifelong career as an award-winning public space designer made her the perfect guide to host the film viewer's journey through some of Farrand's gardens. The juxtaposition of sharing her own process of redesign and restoration of some of the parks and gardens that many of us enjoy today, inspired by Farrand's insight, marries a modern viewpoint to the historic focus of a bygone era."
Madaline Sparks, Rural Intelligence
"This educational resource makes smart use of archival material that is brought to life not only by the storyline but also by footage showing some of Farrand's most notable garden and landscape creations...Beatrix Farrand's American Landscapes makes a small part of the garden world more accessible to a broad audience."
Sonja Dümpelmann, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, University of Pennsylvania, Co-editor, Women, Modernity, and Landscape Architecture
"The superbly made documentary matches its heroine's sense for perfection in all details: aesthetic refinedness and technical prowess do wonders in bringing to life Farrand's whole age, while showing her visionary landscapes. The smart intermixing of original photos and 19th-century reels of New York City make for a fascinating story from beginning to end."
Vanessa Sellers, New York Botanical Garden Plant Talk
"While discussing the unpredictability of plants season after season, Miller asserts, 'gardens are the slowest moving performance art.' The components of performance art unfold around her: the large stones marking the beginning of paths unveil the gardens like a red curtain, the flowers at Miller's feet debuting in a larger choir of blooming plants, the varying moss and grasses crunching under steps like applause. Miller introduces each piece like a ringmaster, indulging in their beauty and revealing their origins until the camera pans over the landscape from above like a grand finale...The film really resonated with me and I think other students would benefit from such a t
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Awards and Festivals
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital
Urban and Regional Planning
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houghtful dedication to two accomplished women."
Jasmine Hanna, Student of Landscape Studies, Smith College