Singularly blending nonfiction and fiction, RAINBOW FARM depicts the last days in the lives of Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm, two queer hippie libertarian life-partners from rural Michigan who created a utopian space for radical freedom in 1996 called Rainbow Farm.
Theirs was a community of hippies and militiamen, lawyers and outlaws, queer libertarians and new age spiritualists that attracted thousands of guests to its American creed of “liberty for all.” People from all over the nation came for their festivals of political action, marijuana legalization, and hard-core partying.
Rainbow Farm combines narrative filmmaking with archival footage to craft a film that utilizes the strengths of both fiction and nonfiction. On the nonfiction side, I’ve spent the past five years building connections with the families and friends of Tom and Rollie, as well as Cass county officials. I have mined both the public archive of news footage and police audio as well as the personal archives of Rainbow Farm festival attendees. Our plan is to combine this archival footage with a scripted narrative that gets inside the thoughts and feelings of Tom and Rollie during their final days. Our hope is that this radical storytelling technique mirrors the radical way in which Tom and Rollie chose to live their lives.
As a director, I explore collective experience and the untapped possibilities of cinema. From Sichuanese parks to NYC junkyards to the Sonoran desert borderlands, I research extensively and film longitudinally, drawing from ethnography and art practice. In my films, I try to embrace life’s ambiguity and sensuality, activating cinema’s immersive power to draw the viewer into deeper engagement.
RAINBOW FARM presents challenging new territory for me, compelling me towards narrative film form. For me, storytelling is a powerful tool to mine narratives that have been buried by authority or disregarded by mainstream culture. This desire to reveal the forgotten aspects of lived-experience dovetails with my abiding concern with the politics of representation. I am committed to recognizing the local, the illicit, and the overlooked as key contributions to our understanding of the human condition. - JP Sniadecki
WHERE WE'RE AT
- Hundreds of hours of archival research, including first-hand footage of life on the farm, local news broadcasts from the standoff and police recordings
- Interviews with friends and family of Tom and Rollie, and Cass County officials.
- Script ready to shoot in summer 2018.
- 30% of the budget raised from grants, in-kind services and expected state tax incentives.
- Support from Executive Producers Fourth Row Films (producers behind Sundance hit Kate Plays Christine and Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead: The Story of the National Lampoon).