Saturday, September 18, 2010

Florida Cracker makes a documentary

Filmmaker Haley Downs was born in DeLand. Her dad was a Cracker and her mom an Alabama southern belle. When she was 17, she fled her Cracker heritage and sought life in the city. Her travels took her to Miami and then New York. But after a series of personal tragedies, she returned to her Cracker roots and discovered the key to her survival. She has produced a documentary about the journey, Swamp Cabbage: A Hot and Sweaty Documentary.

From the film synopsis: "Swamp Cabbage began in May 1999 when Hayley Downs and Julie Kahn, both Floridians interested in Slow Food and dismayed by the paving of Florida, decided to document Hayley’s father’s wild game feast. As they traced the sources of the game to the wild boar, alligator and rattlesnake hunters, they realized the potential of the project not only to amplify the voice of an under explored and often stereotyped region, but also to address broader contemporary issues of conservation and community.

"Swamp Cabbage is an exploration of our complex relationship to the natural world though Hayley’s unlikely return to her Cracker roots and her discovery of the importance of authentic culture, food and where we lay our head. One-part diary film, one-part cooking show and one-part environmental adventure, Swamp Cabbage  looks and feels like a fast-paced, quirky, irreverent, lyrical, wild ride filled with dark humor, tension, and unexpected truths from an under explored and often stereotyped region."

The filmmakers expect the documentary to be released in 2011. They can be reached by e-mail at

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