Reviews

A seamless, lyrical, poignant piece of work. Several women of the founding generation and a couple from the children’s generation provide the fierce heart of the film.–Chris Wilson, University of New Mexico

In the 1960s era thousands of young counterculturists streamed out of cities and settled on the land, seeking to lead simple lives in the company of other like-minded souls. They were rejecting mainstream American culture, but in many ways they harkened back to earlier times, trying to live self-sufficiently, growing and preparing food, swimming in rivers and ponds, and raising children in natural settings. Hippie Family Values captures the spirit of that time beautifully, featuring real people who have lived the hippie creed for decades. It will take those who were there back to a golden time, and will show younger persons what the dream was like. It will also be a good classroom resource for courses in twentieth-century history and cultural alternatives. –Timothy Miller, author of The Hippies and American Values and The 60s Communes, and Professor of Religious Studies, Kansas University

A moving exploration of life at a 40 year old communal ranch in New Mexico, as the founders grapple with changes that come with growing older — illness, disability, the death of parents, and their own mortality. The film would be a wonderful addition to courses in Family Studies, Sociology, Gerontology, and related disciplines, providing a springboard for discussing important topics related to aging, family relationships, and community life. –Deborah Altus, Chair, Department of Human Services, Washburn University and Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America

A beautiful example of an ethnographic film that can enhance students’ learning in a variety of fields. All of the inhabitants of “The Ranch” are charming, and the video presents their experiment in communal living in a truly open-hearted fashion. The music amplifies this sense of openness and possibility. In my fields of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Religious Studies, I can imagine Hippie Family Values helping students to understand what it means to try to build and sustain a utopian community. As the slogan goes, “Another World is Possible,” and Hippie Family Values provides a meditation on what it means to try to make this slogan a reality.
–Janet R. Jakobsen, Claire Tow Professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Barnard College, Columbia University

Beverly Seckinger’s curious and empathetic camera brings you close to a group who have made a communal life together for forty years – not without heartache and heartbreak, but beyond the isolation of nuclear families and privatized child-rearing. No voice-over, just the people themselves talking about their lives in the houses they built, on land that now includes burial plots as they continue to age. Great for students of ethnography, American Studies classrooms, courses exploring inter-generational communal life and anyone interested in the texture of everyday life lived in a vibrant and unconventional community.–Christina Crosby, Professor of English and Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Wesleyan University

An intimate and moving examination of an almost mythical life. The people in the film epitomize the dream of a simpler existence, close to the land and deeply connected with the environment and each other. Those featured in Hippie Family Values are by no means perfect, and their lives are fraught with the same sorts of issues that people everywhere must resolve: aging parents, making a living, unruly children, getting along with neighbors. The filmmaker allows the people to tell their own stories, to delve into their feelings, their motives, their hopes and their fears. The stories portray authentic experience, bared of myth and illusion, revealing the realities of life in a manner that leaves the viewer hopeful for the future of human relationships and with renewed faith in the seductive lure of following one’s dreams.–Ellen Hansen, Professor of Geography and Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies, Emporia State University

A beautiful piece of work…wonderful!–Chris Roth, Editor, Communities magazine

An intimate and moving journey into the complexities of a multi-generational hippie commune in New Mexico. Besides the obvious usefulness of the film in the gender studies classroom, it is also a timely contribution to the renewed interest in back-to-the-land movement among the millennials and a must see for all baby boomers.–Helis Sikk, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, College of Wooster

A beautiful film, told with such sensitivity, integrity, and respect.–Sonali Gulati, Virginia Commonwealth University

I loved teaching Hippie Family Values in my big gen ed class. Students were riveted by the idea of a utopian politics, of building a community to prefigure the world as you want it, because so many of them feel hopeless about creating inclusive communities that reflect their values in these times. It was, for many, one of the high points of the semester.
“The film did a great job of telling the story of that community, what they hoped for, how they were born, lived, and even died. I was really moved by them,” said one student.
The film is never didactic, but it let members of the community tell us in their own words how they came to be there, and what its strengths and weaknesses were. Students noted the things they sought to change–the importance of feelings, wholeness, creativity–and the things they reproduced from the broader culture, including a gendered division of labor.
A powerful look at a long-term, sustainable hippie community in the southwest, Hippie Family Values moved my students, encouraged them, gave them hope, and provoked a thoughtful and critical discussion in my course. I will use it again.–Laura Briggs, Professor and Chair of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Hippie Family Values is a beautifully filmed and thoughtfully crafted story. But it is so much more than a good story: it’s a commentary on our times and our obsession with stuff and success. It’s an examination of human relationships and the impact of stepping outside the mainstream of culture. It’s a look at what roots in a particular piece of land, a place, can mean. And perhaps best of all, this story of people with different aims and backgrounds coming together to internally create community, not always successfully, is an antidote to the bitter divisiveness that shapes our country today. –Susan J. Tweit, author of Walking Nature Home: A Life’s Journey