Lifelong farmer John Peterson is the subject of Taggart Siegel’s 30 award winning feature documentary film The Real Dirt on Farmer John, which has been seen in theaters and on television throughout the world. In 2006, John’s first book was published, Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables. He co-directed and co-starred in two music videos, The Bug Song and The Farmer John Song on Lesley Littlefield’s debut album, Little Songs.
John has written numerous plays and short stories, acted in short fiction films and done numerous performances of his life on stage. Farmer John runs Angelic Organics, one of the largest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms in the United States. More than 1300 families in the Chicago area receive a weekly delivery of vegetables and herbs from Angelic Organics during the growing season.
Producer/Director/Director of Photography
Taggart Siegel has been producing and directing award-winning documentaries and dramatic films for 20 years. His new documentary, The Real Dirt on Farmer John, produced in association with ITVS, captures the rise and fall of the Peterson family farm and the resurrection through John’s courage to build a new form community. Prior to completing The Real Dirt on Farmer John, Siegel made The Split Horn: Life of A Hmong Shaman in America, a sweeping story of a Hmong shaman struggling to maintain his ancient traditions as his children embrace American culture. The Split Horn aired on The Independent Lens PBS series and was funded in part by ITVS and NAATA. Siegel’s other social documentaries Between Two Worlds, Blue Collar and Buddha, Heart Broken in Half and Bitter Harvest, have aired on PBS, Cable Television, and are distributed worldwide.
Siegel produced and directed a theatrical feature film Shadow of the Pepper Tree and directed short dramatic films including: Affliction, Ember Days and Body Memories. In addition, Siegel has produced many films including Destroying Angel, The Beloved and The Disenchanted Forest for National Geographic Television. He is the founder of Alchemy Films, an independent production company, and also the President of Collective Eye, Inc. a non-profit media organization based in San Francisco.
TERI LANG– Producer
Teri Lang is Vice President of Collective Eye, a non-profit media organization based in San Francisco, and CFO of Cinefemme, a San Francisco based non-profit organization founded to encourage and support women who want to pursue artistic careers in the film industry.
Lang is the producer of The Real Dirt on Farmer John, an epic tale of an eccentric Midwestern farmer. She has produced and directed several short documentaries including Motorcycle Prayers, Bless Your Pets; Evicting Johnny; and Karaoke, A Lifestyle. Lang was post-production coordinator for Siegel’s documentary The Split Horn: Life of A Hmong Shaman in America and was Vice President of Alchemy Films. Lang is currently producing Last of the Carneys, a vivid portrait of carnival life.
GREG SNIDER– Editor Greg Snider has been a professional editor for twenty years. Greg’s work includes the feature length documentary, Ridin’ & Rhymin’, which he co-directed; The Disenchanted Forest, a feature documentary about the plight of Borneo’s orangutans, which aired worldwide on the National Geographic Channel and The Real Dirt on Farmer John, epic tale of an eccentric Midwestern farmer. Greg is currently editing Purvis – a feature length documentary about Miami outsider artist, Purvis Young.
MARK ORTON– Composer Orton is a musician in the revered band Tin Hat Trio and a film and radio composer. He has written scores for films including The Good Girl starring Jennifer Aniston. He is a composer, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Orton's musical pedigree is quite impressive. As the son of a conductor, he was immersed in classical music from before he could crawl. He started playing in rock bands in 4th grade. Later, he attended the Hartt School of Music (West Hartford, CT) and the Peabody Conservatory (Baltimore, MD), two of the premier music schools worldwide. While in college, Orton was lead guitarist, singer and writer in a host of live bands that featured electronic gear, including Monkfish and Gloryhog.
DIRTY THREE– Music Dirty Three, a trio from Melbourne, Austrailia consisting of Warren Ellis on violin, Mick Turner on guitar and Jim White on drums, perform lengthy instrumental jam sessions filled with a seductive mix of folk, blues, jazz and psychedelic rock. Led by classically-trained violinist Warren Ellis, who began writing and performing music for art openings and plays, and also tenured in the groups The Blackeyed Susans, Paranoid and the Nursing Mothers. After enlisting The Blackeyed Susans' guitarist Mick Turner and drummer Jim White -- veterans of Melbourne bands including Sick Things, Moodists, Fungus Brain and Venom P. Stinger -- Warren Ellis formed the Dirty Three.
BARNEY JONES– Sound Designer Barney was born in Istanbul, Turkey . His first ten years were spent in the Middle East and Africa, including Nigeria, Syria, Lebanon, and Iran. His earliest musical memories include the Islamic Call to Prayer, Humperdink's Hansel & Gretel, and The Peppermint Twist. In the 1980's he moved to California, taking an MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College and composing music for The Magic Theatre, American Conservatory Theater and Berkeley Repertory Theater. He was commissioned to write the music and libretto for two operas by the San Francisco experimental theater company SOON-3. With Jim McKee, he formed Earwax Productions and received National Endowment for the Arts grants to create original radio works including SONGS FROM THE TENDERLOIN and WAKE FOR TOM, both of which have been played all over the U.S. as well as in Australia.
LESLEY FREEMAN LITTLEFIELD
Due to Lesley’s role as Farmer John’s biographer and editor, she was well-suited to serve as story consultant and narration coach for The Real Dirt on Farmer John. Additionally, Lesley's Bug Song video appears in The Real Dirt. The Bug Song is from Lesley's recent cd Little Songs.