The Weekly Times
April 09, 2014 12:00AM
Open door: Lisa Heenan’s documentary is making waves. Picture: Andy Rogers Source: News Corp Australia
SHE’S not writing her Oscars acceptance speech just yet.
But Lisa Heenan, from a 9ha farm at Eppalock in central Victoria, is certainly in the red-carpet mindset.
MORE: Polyfaces, heenandoherty.com
“I love to frock up. My girlfriend is a fashion designer and she’s making me a dress for all the film festivals and awards ceremonies,” Lisa says.
Her documentary, Polyfaces, is in the final stage of production and yet the 48-year-old can already smell success, having pitched it to every film festival in the world, including Cannes, Sundance and agricultural festivals in Amsterdam and California.
“I’ve always said to people, ‘This film is going to win awards’. I’ve made it to win, not because I want an award but because I want the exposure,” says the mum of three.
“Our aim is to change the face of agriculture around the world.”
The hourlong Polyfaces, which — with the help of her husband, Darren Doherty, and daughter Isaebella — Lisa has directed, produced and filmed, is based on outspoken farmer, lecturer and author Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm in the US.
The movie follows Joel, and the community he has created, highlighting his philosophy on how agriculture can save many of the world’s woes, from obesity to climate change.
“Consumers are saying to farmers, ‘We want clean, green food’ and we’re showing how Joel’s model has solutions,” says Lisa, who is Salatin’s Australian agent and has visited Joel’s farm seven times to produce the documentary.
“He runs his farm the way we all used to live, seasonal, local, without machines or fertiliser and in villages. But we’ve lost that.
“We’re pitching this to consumers and farmers but we didn’t want it to be like (films) Food Inc, Farmaggedon, or American Meat.
“It’s not about being negative or showing problems, it’s about solutions, about supporting local farmers and how farmers can choose a different way of farming.”
It’s a film that has deep personal resonance for Lisa who — while she has an acting and music career spanning TV and film — works closely with Darren on his global farm consultancy business, which, in more than two decades, has taught in 47 countries and more than 12,000 people. It was back in 2010 that the couple decided it was time to harness Lisa’s film skills and create a documentary on agricultural, health and consumer issues.
“Growing up my mother taught me to be grateful for life, to love and respect nature. The film is one way to demonstrate that.
“Now my mantra is only support producers and businesses who have the health of the planet as their main priority.”