Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern is a rich, moving film on the plight of the American farmer caught in today’s ever-increasing consolidation of small family-owned farms into massive commercial ones. Directors Jeanne Jordan and Steven Ascher return to Jeanne’s parents’ farm in Iowa, where a new regional bank has decided to call in their accumulated $200,000 debt, forcing the family to work together to raise the money. Operating in debt for periods of the year is standard business among family farms, but newly acquired banks have drastically altered the equation. The only option for keeping the farm is to liquidate all of the machinery, livestock, and everything but the bare essentials from the family home. Much preparation goes into getting ready for the inevitable auction. Watching Jeanne’s mother sort through her family’s treasured belongings has a profound shared emotional impact which symbolizes letting go of the past.
Though this is a personal account of one family’s struggle, the universality of the story is what makes this film an unforgettable event. Beautifully filmed over the course of a year and a half, Troublesome Creek uses the changing seasons to reflect the evolving situation for the Jordan family. Narration from such a close family member makes the story even more moving as a testimony from a shrinking population of those who will ever get to experience growing up on a farm. Emotional without being sentimental, Troublesome Creek gives a renewed appreciation of what a family working together can manage to accomplish.
— Lisa Viola
Sundance Film Festival Awards
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