Green Chimneys

Institute History

  • 1997 Sundance Film Festival


If a film has ever spoken to the psychological horrors of child abuse, it is Green Chimneys. Each year in the United States over 500,000 physically and emotionally abused children are placed in foster care. If they fail to assimilate, the children are relocated to a residential treatment facility pending their safe return to their birth parent(s). Green Chimneys, a working farm located in Brewster, New York, is one of these facilities.

Without the intrusion of voice-over or overt ideological bias, Constance Marks’s and Bob Eisenhardt’s Green Chimneys is a heart-wrenching chronicle of one year in the lives of three young boys at the facility. Devastatingly intense and profoundly intimate, the film records the day-to-day regimens of Eddie, Anthony, and Michael: their therapy sessions, dorm life, family weekends, and the incessant hurt spawned by their estrangement from home and family. Green Chimneys’ social workers and psychologists grapple with the daunting task of instilling in the children an understanding that love and mistreatment are not mutually inclusive. With a fine sensitivity to the needs and voices of its young subjects and their fractured families, Green Chimneys points to the devastating repercussions of child abuse in our society.

— Rebecca Yeldham

Screening Details


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