NEW YORK — A glimpse of the country's deepening farm crisis can be seen almost nightly on the network news, but a closer, more revealing look is coming on public television.
It is "For Auction: An American Hero," a one-hour documentary by noted film-maker Robert Drew, due to be broadcast on KCET Channel 28 Tuesday at 10 p.m.
"I felt a closer look was needed to let us all see and perhaps empathize more with what's really going on out there," Drew said in a telephone interview. "Over the past year or so, as I've watched farmers on the nightly news--at auctions, or protests, or just standing on street corners answering questions--I have found them to seem more like figures than real people. I know they're real people, but there is something (misleading) about a quick look and a voiceover."
Drew's documentary focuses on an auctioneer, himself a farmer fallen on hard times, as he travels the dwindling family-farm circuit, auctioning off one farm after another. En route, the auctioneer and Drew's camera come upon hardship stories ranging from foreclosures to suicides. But the documentary also reports on the factors that have led to the current crisis.