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Oscar winner Laura Dern discusses the environmental documentary ‘Common Ground’

Academy Award winner Laura Dern chatted about her new environmental documentary “Common Ground,” where she serves as one of the narrators.

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

Academy Award winner Laura Dern chatted about her new environmental documentary “Common Ground,” where she serves as one of the narrators.

Dern was joined by such narrators as Jason Momoa, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, Ian Somerhalder, and Donald Glover.

The movie was directed by the husband and wife directing duo of Josh and Rebecca Tickell, and it premiered on June 8 at the Tribeca Film Festival. Josh and Rebecca co-produced the film with Eric Dillon, and co-wrote the script along with Johnny O’Hara.

Other co-producers included Corinne Bourdeau, Paul Cohen, Ryland Engelhart, Finian Makepeace, Susan Rockefeller, and John Roulac.

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.

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.

Film recognized with the 2023 Human/Nature Award

“Common Ground” was the recipient of the 2023 Human/Nature Award at the Tribeca Film Festival this month, an accolade that was established to amplify a film that best exemplifies solution-oriented environmental storytelling.

Laura Dern talks about the significance of this movie

Following a well-received screening of “Common Ground” at the SVA Theatre in New York City, Laura Dern participated in a mini-press conference at a Manhattan penthouse alongside filmmakers Josh and Rebecca Tickell, and internationally-recognized regenerative farmer Gabe Brown, who jokingly laughed that he “brought Laura Dern as his plus one.”

“I am humbly here in front of the experts, and standing with the experts, who like the soil, will save us with their wisdom, their hearts, their commitments and their faith,” Dern admitted.

Oscar winner Laura Dern in 'Common Ground'
Oscar winner Laura Dern in ‘Common Ground.’ Photo Courtesy of ‘Common Ground’

“I am privileged to be raised by a fierce activist mom, who is also an actress [Diane Ladd], and I am raising a daughter, who has that same fire at eight years old,” she added.

“I consider myself an environmentalist and I’ve done many years of work, particularly with organizations in and around protecting oceans, and protections for clean water and clean food all over the world,” she said.

Dern remarked, “If everything is all about commerce in terms of getting what we want from our government, and from the support of USDA, you have clearly established for all of us that we can change the narrative from this misnomer, which states that ‘it would be great to save the planet but it is going to cost too much’.”

“I am so grateful and moved that the film so clearly lets us know that you can actually make money while you are protecting your families, your food, and your homes, and this planet, and that is an incredible message,” she added.

Dern continued, “I remember someone suggesting that I was ‘brave’ in some work I was doing years ago that was politically based… It shouldn’t be bravery that we are trying to save our home, or that we want food that is edible on our family’s table, and it shouldn’t be brave to create community together.”

“We are one family… so I just feel honored for any opportunity to learn from all of you and to feel hopeful,” Dern said.

“This film shows us that soil can save us, we know how to do it, you know how to do it, and I am going to learn from all of you,” she acknowledged.

Laura Dern shares the lessons that the documentary taught her

When asked by this journalist if this documentary taught her anything about herself or defined her in any way (while serving as a narrator), Dern responded, “It taught me how much I need to learn. It taught me that there is an answer… and to feel as a mother, thanks to you all, and this film, and your incredible work that I can say to my children that I am hopeful about the future. That is an incredible gift.”

“It also taught me that I want to be a farmer… and I really do,” Dern said with a sweet laugh.

“Common Ground” director and screenwriter Josh Tickell also authored the book “Kiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World,” which is available on Amazon by clicking here.

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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