April 17, 2018

Please check out our new SCREENINGS page to learn about Farmsteaders on the Film Festival tour.

And check out this interview with our director Shaena Mallett: With Indie Grits Films, Women Lead the Way



May 29, 2017

Hi Everyone, 

We've been busy editing, working through post production details, and envisioning it all coming together. I wanted to share something exciting: Farmsteaders was invited to present a 15 minute preview at the Southern Documentary Fund's 4th Annual Artist Convening in Durham, NC on June 11th. The convening is a fabulous opportunity to connect to other folks in the film community, attend workshops, and gather inspiration. Feeling very honored to attend and share! 



January 9, 2017

Hello Everyone, 

Wishing you a very happy new year! Hope this finds you warm and well. 

Things are steadily chugging along here in Farmsteaders land. We updated the film's website and gave it a new look! 

I wanted to let everyone know about an upcoming feedback screening we're having this month of the rough cut - here are the details:

The screening will be at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University 

1317 West Pettigrew Street Durham, NC 27705

on Fri, January 27, 2017 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST

It's free! but you have to reserve a ticket (here). It will be a small screening so get your ticket soon. The screening will be of the newest version of the roughcut, and the intention is to gain helpful feedback as we try to bring this film home! 

In other news, we're very honored to have received a film grant from the wonderful folks at the Southern Documentary Fund (the same great organization that is facilitating the feedback screening)! We received some very constructive feedback from a panel of reviewers, and we are so honored and humbled to have been chosen as a finalist. In the process of making this film, I've truly come to understand the sentiment that documentary work is like "organizing chaos." The story has grown and shifted and led the way down some unexpected roads. This has also meant that we needed more funding than we had originally anticipated. But, the story always comes first. This grant will help us in this big final post-production push. 

Sending my love and deepest gratitude to you. 

- Shaena 


October 13, 2016

Hello beautiful community!

Writing to say hello and check in with updates. Things are rolling along great here in Farmsteaders land!

I'm very excited to announce that Farmsteaders has joined with the Southern Documentary Fund for fiscal sponsorship! This means we'll be able to receive their mentorship, feedback, assistance connecting to a larger film community, legal advice, and allows future donations to the film to be tax deductible. They are a wonderful organization and we are very pleased to be working with SDF. Check it out!


I spent a week and half on the farm in September filming, tying together some loose ends, getting life updates, and spending some quality time with the Nolans. It's a busy time of year AND an absolutely beautiful time of year in Ohio, and such a treat to be there for the harvest moon and transition into autumn.

We are working tirelessly to edit a new version of the rough cut, receive feedback from consulting editors, and if all goes well begin applying to film festivals in December and January. 

In the meantime, here's a new 5 minute promo cut

Oh, and we hired a tiny chicken for some editing work. 


October 13, 2016


By Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.


October 13, 2016

A few images from our recent shoot! 


July 27, 2016

Dear wonderful community,

Hope everyone is enjoying these beautiful, long days. This weekend marked one year since the Farmsteaders Kickstarter launched! And what a year it’s been! You have all lifted up this story in so many way, from financial contributions, to spreading the word, to your incredibly kind words of support. I’ve been reflecting on all of the ways the film has changed and grown this past year, the evolution of story, the synchronous moments, the hard work, and the magic of feeling it all coming together. This year has been an incredible time of community building around the project, and I cannot thank you enough for being some of the pillars of that community. The film has become so much more than I could have ever made it alone. THANK YOU! 




Here’s were we’re at now: Farmsteaders’ amazing editor Kelly worked hard and made magic happen - as of last week she got the film to an initial rough cut stage (!!!). This is a huge step, and it is so incredible to see it becoming tangible! In July and August, we’re finishing up the last shoots that will help weave it all together. I mentioned in the last update that some surprises in the storyline came up that moved the production timeline back. Wow, was that a tough call to make. But heeding the advice of some of my deeply respected mentors; always follow the story. It also means the film is going to be longer than I’d originally intended, so I’m currently working hard at applying for grants to help offset those extra post-production costs. I’ll be submitting for three grants this week.. wish me luck? 

And probably the most important news from Farmsteaders - The Nolans adopted two new hound dog puppies! Welcome to the farm Dan and Ann. I'm sure I'll fill another harddrive with footage of you before summer's over. 

Harlan gets an early birthday surprise. Photo by Nick

Harlan gets an early birthday surprise. Photo by Nick


As another way to say thank you for all of your support, here are a couple of sneak peaks at some roughed-out scenes! Kid moments that make my heart happy:

Nick gives Lilah a gift and Celeste and Harlan get ready for the day

I'll leave you with this recent photo that Nick sent me of the farm full of summer's goodness.

The kids fishing! Photo by Nick

The kids fishing! Photo by Nick


 With gratitude and love, 



April 05, 2016

Things have been moving full steam ahead with Farmsteaders! Since the last time I wrote, I visited the farm and filmed for another two full weeks. So much happened! It was amazing, and unexpectedly expanded the storyline for the better. After readjusting the post-production schedule to work with the new content, we're hoping to have a Farmsteaders rough cut in early summer, and release in late summer. 

Chad A. Stevens and Shaena Mallett at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in 2016.

Chad A. Stevens and Shaena Mallett at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in 2016.

A couple of weeks ago, I handed off the harddrive (with four years of footage!) to the wonderful co-editor, Kelly Creedon, and the same day got on a plane to attend the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Missoula, Montana. I went as a cinematographer on the film Overburden (if you haven't seen it, check it out - an important story of resources and family in coal country, not too far from where Farmsteaders takes place), and I attended much of their DocShop program - a variety of workshops for filmmakers to gain knowledge, insight and new tools for making great documentary films. It was a great week and I left with a huge amount of new inspiration and food-for-thought as we work to finish Farmsteaders.


Also, I would like to take a moment to brag about our co-editor, Kelly, and to send her another HUGE congratulations on winning second place in the Documentary Journalism category of POY! Go Kelly!

There is till a long way to go in post-production, but the progress is so exciting. 

Giddy up!

With love, 

Shaena and the Farmsteaders team


October 8, 2015

The team grows!

Our new team member, Kelly Creedon. 

Our new team member, Kelly Creedon. 


It may be harvest season, but things are growing big time in Farmsteaders land. I am SO excited to announce that the wonderful and talented Kelly Creedon is joining the Farmsteaders team as an editor! She’s creative, compassionate, and an excellent human and filmmaker. I can’t wait to collaborate!

Last week, I spent a few days on the farm filming. The Nolans just bought 20 new heifers, doubling their herd! The leaves are starting to turn, and the kids are growing like weeds. It was a great shoot and my heart is full. Now time to get back to editing! 


Lilah Mae Nolan, farm kid extraordinaire

Lilah Mae Nolan, farm kid extraordinaire


Sending my gratitude and warm wishes to you all, 



September 18, 2015

Moving and grooving. Kickstarter gifts are sent!

Harvest time. The first chill is in the air. This time of year is so bittersweet. It makes my heart hurt a little to think of summer ending, but it also gives me a wave of new energy. The film and I are in go mode, and it's full speed ahead. 

The first big update: Kickstarter gifts have all been sent!** If you haven't received your thank-you gift yet, get ahold of me asap and we'll track it down. The gifts were all sent from the very tiny, small town post office of Tidioute, Pennsylvania - it's so small, they do everything manually (no computer!) and only have one employee. That one employee, Bonnie, was amazing and had a great sense of humor; she was so fast and helpful sending out the 150+ envelopes and packages. Thank you, Bonnie!

Some big thank yous are in order: 

To my incredible family for their time, help, and power tools on some of the gifts. 

To my partner, Chad A. Stevens, who filmed and edited the Kickstarter video. 

To Ryan Troy Ford for donating his time and radical illustration skills to design the custom temporary tattoos. 

To Mike Costello of Printed Appalachia who donated his beautiful "Hope Sustains the Farmer" prints. 

To the great folks at Fifth Season Gardening who donated heirloom seeds from Sow True Seed Company

To the incredible kindness of the folks at New England Cheesemaking Company for donating cheesemaking kits. 

To my wonderful sisters who donated organic, made in the USA tea towels from their company Ortolan Organic

To Angie Grace, our incredible investor (and now co-producer!) whose generous donation pushed the Kickstarter into meeting the funding goal, and then some. Check out her sweet, intricate line of coloring books here!

And to all of you amazing donors. I am shouting it from the rooftops; Thank you! Thank you!Each and every one of you has helped make this possible, and I am forever grateful.

**With the exception of cheese, which will be sent in just a couple of weeks when the weather cools down enough to ship it in prime condition. Another exception is the several folks who haven't sent me their addresses. If this applies to you, send me your address please!

And now some film updates!

There are so many wheels turning, things in motion, and growth. Editing is moving along at full steam! I'm currently working my tail off to get the rough cut ready for an assistant/finishing editor to step in and collaborate with fresh eyes. 


My partner, Chad, and I are traveling across the country on a DIY film tour. He's screening his finished documentary, Overburden, at colleges across the country. I've turned our tiny camper into a mobile editing office and am editing on the go. The goal is to have the Farmsteaders rough cut in a good place for work-in-progress screenings later this year. You can follow along on the trip here (I promise, it's more fun photos from breaks than from the majority of the day, which is me sitting at a computer (that's the real real, but kind of boring, right?)).


Things have been taking longer than I'd hoped to get into full production mode, but that's how life goes with creative projects it seems. This is the part where I'm reminded, every day, that it's a marathon and not a sprint. But, we're chugging along, one foot in front of the other. Years ago, I taped this fortune onto my computer and it feels more true now than ever - "What is to give light must endure the burning." The film is still on track to be finished in the late winter and premiere in the spring and that my friends, is just so exciting. I'll check in again soon and in the meantime, godspeed and happy trails. 

In gratitude, 


July 22, 2015

WE DID IT! Thanks to 198 amazing Kickstarter backers, Farmsteaders is becoming a reality. We met our goal and then some!! 

This month has been a whirlwind. When I clicked "launch" a month ago, I could have never expected how incredibly supported I would feel by the time the campaign ended. It's incredible. 

THANK YOU!!! Thank you to each and every one of you. Without you, none of this would be possible. Thank you for your words of encouragement, for sharing the project and spreading the word, for your donations, and most of all, thank you for believing in Farmsteaders

I am so humbled and lifted by your support. Thank you for being a part of this journey! 

Please keep following along as the film comes to life these next 6 months. You can follow through our websitefacebookinstagram, and twitter. I'll be posting updates and sneak peaks along the way! 

From the bottom of my heart, thank you all so much. 

With gratitude and heart,