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Prior to deciding upon the mysterious, yet open-hearted Touchstone Farm community as the focus of a feature-length documentary, in 2006, I had considered a wide range of potential candidates.
However, none had the ability to capture & inspire the imagination the way Touchstone did.
From what I'd learned about the magical Farm, -- via occasional news articles and conversations with people who knew members of the arts, music & dance-oriented, spiritual community in Easthampton, MA, -- this was a special (& especially "ripe") subject.
Why their story hadn't been documented before was an even greater mystery! (...However, I later discovered that a film about Touchstone Farm had been completed, ten years earlier, -- in 1996, -- by our soon-to-be associate producer, Holly Danyliw.)
What became gradually apparent about the Farm, -- more accurately described by gentle co-founders Anja Daniel & Deborah Hall-McNeil as "a Center," -- was even more beautiful & spiritually-ambitious than I had envisioned.
Not only were the mostly-gregarious (sometimes private) members involved in creating exquisite music & Sacred Circle Dances, -- they came from all walks of life, -- meeting at "the Center" and taking "a peace" home to share with their communities.
In other words, Touchstone wasn't merely a gathering place for dancers, artists, healers & everyday folks, -- it was also a socially-aware "hive" of peaceful co-existence & activism that swarmed out into the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts & far beyond, -- like sweet honey bees, creating a sacred "buzz" of peace, love & harmony.
This was why I became intensely excited.
Touchstonians had found a compassionate way of life that nurtured interconnectedness and encouraged freedom of expression, -- and whose heartfelt compensation could only be expressed in joyous, angelic love.
And I was grateful that I had finally found a subject worthy of featuring in a documentary, -- with potentially far-reaching, beneficial effects upon our audiences, -- and society.