This film is made possible, in part, by the Easthampton Cultural Council and the Northampton Arts Council.
A message from Ward Powers, director of:
"ONE, The Movie" ~
'Thank you for sending us the dvd of Touchstone. We REALLY enjoyed it! What a beautiful community and wonderful group of people you are blessed to be involved with. It was truly touching for us to see such compassion and magic alive in the world. And, the story was very well told in the video- with an amazing soundtrack.
We were so moved after watching the film... our congratulations on a job well done and a life well lived.
"Touchstone" pays tribute to the spirit and fire of the 60's that is kept burning by some select people today. It is not only a fascinating look at the trials and triumphs of trying to keep an intentional community thriving in today's world, but also an intriguing character study of several of the community's key participants, all of whose lives have undergone transformation because of their experiences at Touchstone."
- Bruce Geisler,Senior Lecturer,Communications Dept., University of Massachusetts at Amherst / Director, "Free Spirits - The Birth, Life and Loss of a Utopian Dream"
"This is not just a story about the transformation of the farm community and its members but of the town, its residents and the love and appreciation of what the farm means to them...
This is an opportunity to experience the journey of life unfolding with all the ups and downs we experience in life. If you are open to seeing real life as it reveals itself outside of what most would consider normal, this is a wonderful opportunity to open your mind and heart to the simple process of life lived as people purposefully choose to.
Throughout this experience they come to meet themselves, share their joys, surrender to their fears and open to all life has to offer. They are often referred to as "a community of hermits who happen to like people."
This film is filled with local music and beautiful scenery and imagery. Touchstone: Dancing With Angels is a chance to see life as most are hesitant to live."
- Ron Damico,Publisher,Inner Tapestry Holistic Journal
"A remarkable film about a spiritual Dance / Farm / Yoga / Healing "Community" / CENTER in Western Massachusetts... its stories of origin, challenge... and, like the proverbial "Phoenix from the ashes," this film reveals a Touchstone that has weathered the "storms" of municipal regulations and rapacious land developers/building inspectors. And survives... with a vision for the Future."
- Chuck Cole, Director,Wellfleet Peace Drum Film Circle
"This is a gorgeous, generous, peace-giving film. I found this personal history of an"organically grown" sacred community that has succeeded, flourished, endured, and nourished so many individuals to be riveting and thoroughly uplifting. However, even someone with no interest in the subject matter could be joyed and comforted by this film.
The original music throughout is angelic, yet grounded; the interviews and vignettes highlight dozens of individuals and moments, yet flow together with unusual harmony; and the cinematography captures a glowing radiance in each frame, whether indoors or out, day or night.
Most important, each person in the film is shown speaking and acting from his or her greatest depth....of love, of heart, of soul. This is truly remarkable. Without a trace of pretense or packaging, each person expresses her or his most generous, compassionate, peaceful, creative, hopeful, and loving qualities.
This is skillful and perceptive editing, indeed! And is a tribute, as well, to the instinctive and intentional responses of those who have been drawn to the unique community of Touchstone Farm....whether for one sacred circle or for decades.
See this film! Trust that you will receive something precious from doing so,whether or not you are "interested" in advance."
- Ariel Shira Elan
"I didn't know what to expect. I thought it was a
documentary about "angels," but it turned out to
be about Touchstone. How interesting. It was
like a subdued visit to the late sixties, and every-
one was sober.
The director achieved interest in the community
and got sympathy from the audience regarding
the plight of its inhabitants, without using gimmicks.
The editing was very well done & it looked like a lot
of research & work was put into it. ...Should be on
PBS... [and] have a lot of interest among those
contemplating getaways from the rat race."
- Joseph Beno,Producer,X-Static Productions
"You have made a wonderful, challenging film with some beautiful images. I enjoyed it very much and was frequently absorbed by the story."
- Johanna D.
"The movie had a positive effect on me... I smiled
and laughed... The story of Eugene [is] a great example
of what is possible, -- the kinds of changes that are
possible in life, in people, -- that folks originally thought
could not happen...
The quote (from Shakur) "It's a community of hermits
who happen to like people," along with his idea of
blending the two worlds (Touchstone and suburbia....
Nature and concrete...) spoke to me, how my insides
I found the viewing experience pleasant, pretty much
from beginning to end [and] really enjoyed the
panoramic shots of Western Mass.
Made me want to get to the Northeast even more so.
It was time well spent."
- Brian F.
"Touchstone: Dancing With Angels" is a terrific
documentary of significance and beauty. A film
that really matters and has very important,
riveting content... accomplishing something of
true value. An excellent, thought-provoking,
eye-opening, meaningful work of art."
- Dan Sperling,Producer/Director,DSV Video & Film Productions
Touchstone: Dancing With Angelsis a widescreen documentary focusing on the people, history, and current plight of Touchstone Farm in Easthampton, Massachusetts.This growing community of eclectic and creative individuals continues to touch the hearts of many people throughout the region and the world.Located in the thriving community of Easthampton, this group of dreamers and artists are known for their uplifting music, Sacred Circle dancing, yoga classes, massage and acupuncture center, as well as their herb, flower, meditation gardens and non-denominational celebrations.
Touchstone Farm and its founders are now engaged in a struggle to keep their dream alive.Since recent building inspections closed down the operations at the Center in the Spring of 2006, the founders have risen from adversity, -- by raising funds and garnering international support in their Herculean efforts to purchase adjoining land to create an eco-village of more than 10 acres.
Throughout all of these struggles and victories, director and cinematographerD.S. Fine captured many exhilarating moments with the community, documenting the inspiring story of the founders’ rise from adversity to advantage. And editor Rebecca Rideout has assembled a dynamic & captivating, "straight-from-the-heart" film, -- combing through over 180 hours of footage.
The timeline of Touchstone Farm's troubles in February 2006,their new-found will to survive, and the anticipated re-opening of their expanded buildings and eco-village, scheduled for 2008, coincides synergistically with the film's progress.
A simultaneous premiere of the documentary and benefit for construction of the Farm's planned eco-village, is scheduled to be celebrated at The Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton and P.A.C.E. (Pioneer Arts Center of Easthampton), -- during May 2008.
The screenings aim to be a significant event as the film celebrates a vibrant community and group of people within the city of Easthampton. The Farm & Yoga Center offers many activities to get involved with, and could benefit from increased awareness as they enter their new stage of expansion.By gaining insight into the magic that exists in their own backyard, it is hoped that residents will come away with a sense of pride in the diversity of Easthampton.
The resilient community of local artists, activists, musicians & thinkers is, in effect, undergoing a spiritual death and rebirth. Concurrent with the center's transformation has been the extraordinary transgender journey of one of its co-founders, who, -- after many months of inner reflection, -- has been remarkably candid with the filmmakers.
This project has been planned since early 2006, when Fine began filming the energetic, enigmatic & endearing residents, -- in addition to lush farmland and gardens.
During a "once in a Blue Moon Cafe" meeting (in Easthampton's Eastworks building) Fine & Rideout discussed the possibilities of collaborating on this wide-ranging project. And, since June of that year, Rideout joined the efforts, meeting regularly to discuss the direction of the film and further videographic goals. Principal filming occurred from January 2006 until April 2008. As assistant editor at Florentine Films / Hott Productions in Haydenville (recent PBS projects include Niagara Falls;Through Deaf Eyes; and American Masters series: John James Audubon: Drawn From Nature), Rebecca has extensive experience in the documentary editing style.
Independent producer / director D.S. Fine, whose previous cinematic efforts include Artistree;The Occupant; and The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis, offers more than thirty years of film and video experience, along with an incredible eye and creative flair with the camera.
It is not often that local residents have the chance to attend the premiere of a film made in and about their own community.This event will increase the confidence and momentum of an lively, expanding arts movement in town. The Touchstone community will benefit greatly by opening up their world. And Easthampton residents will benefit by discovering this wondrous jewel in their own midst which many have heard about but have never explored.
Anja Daniel's Facebook Group: "Dancing With Angels/Touchstone Movie" is now on the web!! Clickhere to visit her very special tribute to Touchstone Farm & our documentary.