Filmmaker Uruphong Raksasad grew up in a rural community in Thailand, where the seasons were marked by different stages of the rice-growing process, and he still has vivid memories of watching families tend their crops and the village coming together for the harvest. Now nearly 30, Raksasad returned to the village he hadn't seen in almost 20 years to make a film about how rice is grown. But Raksasad quickly realized how much had happened in those two decades, as small family farms had all but disappeared and mechanized farming had replaced the simpler methods he recalled. Raksasad decided instead to document the simpler, more sustainable growing methods of an earlier generation; he rented a piece of land and recruited a handful of local farmers willing to grow a crop using the time-honored techniques of his youth. Raksasad's film Agrarian Utopia is both a treatise on the value of "obsolete" farming and a celebration of a community that once embraced sustainable and self-sufficient ideals that were good for the earth, the people, and the local economy. Agrarian Utopia was an official selection at the 2009 Rotterdam International Film Festival.
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