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Back at the farm: ‘Hippie Family Values’ breaks stereotypes about back-to-the-land movement

Beverly Seckinger has been on a 10-year journey with her documentary.

After hundreds of grueling hours, the film is ready to be screened.

And “Hippie Family Values” will get its premiere at 10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at the Santa Fe Film Festival.

“It’s definitely been a journey,” the Arizona-based filmmaker says. “I wanted to tell a story that goes beyond the stereotypes. I wanted to bust all of the myths.”

“Hippie Family Values” was shot over a period of 10 years at a remote communal ranch in rural New Mexico. It is an intimate chronicle of a few hippie elders, along with their adult children and grandchildren.

Seckinger says she wanted the film to counter dismissive stereotypes with the stories of people whose worldview was forged in the ’60s counterculture and who remain motivated by those youthful convictions in their 60s, 70s and 80s. The founders of this back-to-the-land experiment are slowing down and facing declining health, Seckinger says.

One of the women profiled is Sally, who was the ultimate back-to-the-land pioneer, building her own adobe house – while pregnant – in time to give birth there.

Now her daughter, Dulcie, is returning to the ranch to raise her own children in this community.

But will Dulcie and her husband, Charris, be able to resist the tug of the wider world?

“Will the next generation be able to sustain the community into the future?” Seckinger asks. “That’s what I wanted to tell. I got the opportunity to know these families. It’s become about the life cycle and how we adapt to it.”

Seckinger says she had 105 hours of material that she and editor Jim Klein had to pore over.

“Jim was able to see the film with different eyes,” she says. “He was vocal about what he thought was going to work and what wasn’t. I spent the summer of 2016 in Ohio, where Jim lives, and we worked on getting the film ready. It’s been an incredible journey to this point.”

With the world premiere happening in Santa Fe, Seckinger will travel with a few others for the screening. There will be a question-and-answer session after the screening.

“It’s hard to believe that this is happening,” she says. “Santa Fe is the perfect place for this New Mexico film. It’s screening in the heart of the greater hippiedome of the Southwest.”

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