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Directors Josh and Rebecca Tickell discuss their ‘Common Ground’ documentary

Award-winning directors and screenwriters Josh and Rebecca Tickell chatted about their “Common Ground” documentary.

Directors Rebecca and Josh Tickell at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York
Directors Rebecca and Josh Tickell at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Photo Courtesy of Big Picture Ranch
Directors Rebecca and Josh Tickell at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Photo Courtesy of Big Picture Ranch

Award-winning directors and screenwriters Josh and Rebecca Tickell chatted about their “Common Ground” documentary.

Tribeca Film Festival

“Common Ground” had its world premiere on June 8th at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. It was directed by Josh and Rebecca Tickell (“Kiss the Ground”), both of which wrote the screenplay along with Johnny O’Hara.

Oscar winner Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”) narrated the film along with such actors Jason Momoa, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, Ian Somerhalder, and Donald Glover.

The Tickells produced the film with Eric Dillon. Additional co-producers included Corinne Bourdeau, Paul Cohen, Ryland Engelhart, Finian Makepeace, Susan Rockefeller, and John Roulac.

Laura Dern
Oscar winner Laura Dern at Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Photo Courtesy of Big Picture Ranch

Kiss the Ground, the non-profit organization was the core inspiration of the movie “Common Ground” and the previous namesake movie as well as a huge part of building this global movement through education, storytelling as well as advocacy.

Their advocacy campaign, “Regenerate America,” is helping to re-write the farm bill this year with over 120 NGOs, businesses, and farm groups and working with all the farmers in the film.

‘Common Ground’: ‘A love letter to their children’

Josh and Rebecca wrote the film “Common Ground” as a love letter to their two children and it showcases methods on how we can fix our broken food system, and it is neat to watch it told from that unique perspective. “As a mom to two young children, this is something that we have to make choices on every day that will affect the kids’ health and the kids’ futures,” Rebecca said.

Rebecca Tickell, Laura Dern, and Josh Tickell in 'Common Ground'
Rebecca Tickell, Laura Dern, and Josh Tickell in ‘Common Ground.’ Photo Courtesy of Big Picture Ranch.

Rebecca continued, “What I want the audience to walk away with from the film is not just hope, but an absolute diligence in participating in a system that is not only going to regenerate the planet but also human beings and all living creatures on that planet.”

“I want people to walk away with an understanding of what biodiversity is, and how we are all just one tiny piece of a giant living system that is part of Mother Earth. We are all connected to each other,” she said.

“I hope the movie gives you a renewed passion for the actions that we can all take to participate in the Regenerative Movement,” Rebecca added.

On the message that Josh Tickell wants people to get out of the film, he remarked, “Common Ground represents a unified set of values and ideologies. We are in a time of great division in our country. What we don’t realize is that they are actually unified when it comes to the big issues. We dig below  the big issues in equity, economics, security, health, and all of these things. Ultimately, they relate to the soil.”

“Soil is the source of our food, without it, we don’t eat, so that’s a universal issue. The film ties all of these very different issues together in one place,” Josh acknowledged.

“Soil is something that is accessible to everybody, and everyone can act on it, it doesn’t matter how rich or how poor you are, you can learn to grow soil. Once you do that, it’s universal, empowering, and it shows that we are ultimately all standing on common ground,” Josh added.

Josh and Rebecca Tickell, Gabe Brown and Laura Dern
Josh and Rebecca Tickell, Gabe Brown and Laura Dern. Photo Credit: Big Picture Ranch.

Rebecca shared that she is a mother of two young kids, and a hobby farmer, who comes from over 10 generations of farming. “As we have been on this journey, I have learned that we can reverse the course that we are on,” she said.

“The good news is that there is a way out and it’s all through how we manage our land. Coming from a farming family, I realized that this is something that we actually can control,” Rebecca said.

“We can’t control nature, but we can control our actions and the way we interact with nature. If we were to do some very simple shifts, by following the principles of regenerative agriculture, we can course correct very quickly, and turn things around,” she elaborated.

“As a result, we can create a future where our children can live but one where we thrive,” Rebecca admitted. “We don’t need to go to space to find another planet we can live on.”

Rosario Dawson
Rosario Dawson. Photo Courtesy of Big Picture Ranch

“All we have to do is modify the practices that we are currently doing right now, and we can reverse climate change. We can regenerate the planet and we can regenerate our bodies. We are not just destroying the Earth, we are destroying ourselves through the way that we grow food,” she explained.

Rebecca continued, “The actions and the choices that we make each and every day affect our ability to continue to be on this planet altogether. It also affects all the other types of species that are on this planet with us.”

“We have the responsibility to make those choices wisely,” she underscored. “It is easy to get sucked into putting your hand in a bag and eating ultra processed things or not going to sleep because some of these harder issues that we are facing may seem overwhelming.”

Jason Momoa in 'Common Ground'
Jason Momoa in ‘Common Ground.’ Photo Courtesy of ‘Common Ground’

“I want people to watch the film and realize that there is a way for us to regenerate our presence here on this earth for generations and generations to come, and to feel inspired that we can all do it,” Rebecca concluded.

Read More: “Common Ground” sheds light on biodiversity

Oscar winner Laura Dern in 'Common Ground'
Oscar winner Laura Dern in ‘Common Ground.’ Photo Courtesy of ‘Common Ground’
Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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