Sweet Home Monteverde will be streamed through Vimeo’s platform on Friday at 8pm and Saturday at 3pm. The filmmakers will participate in a viewers’ discussion after the Friday evening screening.
The full story of the Fairhope, Alabama to Monteverde migration — its success in locating a new place to farm, economic and educational developments along the way, the birth and progress of the concern for conserving the cloud forest, and the faces of today’s Monteverde — is told in a beautiful new documentary film, Sweet Home Monteverde.
Ancient and fascinating footage of early logistical challenges are mixed with fresh, outrageously breathtaking glimpses of nature. Reminiscences by first-generation settlers, now in their nineties, and eloquent retellings from schoolchildren, are woven together. Along the way we also hear from off-site scholars and visitors and the former president of the country.
Costa Rica’s own peaceful reputation doesn’t go unchallenged. One commentator points out that it can be a violent society. We see several glimpses of the country’s police force. “Even when we have this seemingly strong and definitive adherence to demilitarization, we do not have an equivalent in the way we relate to each other. “
Sweet Home Monteverde runs just under an hour — an amazingly compact job of telling a huge story. The film seems ideal for all ages and especially for intergenerational groups.
Important detail: since the film was released to the world just before theaters and film festivals went into pandemic mode, the filmmakers haven’t been able so far to promote their film through the usual methods. To recover the expenses of making this unique documentary, they are asking audiences to make a donation, if possible.
Monteverde Friends School: in the context of Monteverde Friends School’s pandemic-related need for help from its international supporters, monetary help is still needed.
For more background, read this article by Laura Melvin:
Possible Q&A topics:
- Under what circumstances could you imagine leaving home for another country?
- What cultural and economic forces pushed the Quakers out of the US and what pulled them to Costa Rica?
- Do you think the Quakers would have been more effective advocates for peace if they had stayed in the US, or did they do the right thing in moving to Costa Rica?
- Once they settled in Monteverde, how did the Quakers’ attitudes about land use change over time?
- In what ways has Monteverde changed since the Quakers arrived in 1951?
- More than 200,000 tourists visit Monteverde every year. What are the benefits to the community, and what are the costs?
- What values have the Quakers passed on to succeeding generations in Monteverde?
- What threats does Monteverde face today? And how are residents there confronting those threats?