Cultural Events

Newtown Native's Latest To Premiere At New Haven Documentary Film Festival

Published: May 28, 2017 at 12:00 am


NEW HAVEN - The first documentary film ever produced about the nationally renowned landscape architect Beatrix Farrand, by Newtown native and six-time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Karyl K. Evans, will premiere locally at the New Haven Documentary Film Festival, or NHdocs. The screening is planned for Monday, June 5, at 6:30 pm, at The Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall Street.

Evans's most recent documentary explores the life and career of landscape architect Farrand, who is considered the most important female landscape architect in the first part of the 20th Century.

The Life and Gardens of Beatrix Farrand is about a woman born into privilege, but determined to make a name for herself in the male-dominated profession of landscape architecture. Against all odds, Farrand (1872-1959), who was the niece of famed American author Edith Wharton, went on to design some of the country's most important landscapes, including Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, DC; the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden at the New York Botanical Garden; the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Bar Harbor, Maine; and the East Garden at the White House.

As one of the founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Farrand is credited with helping to open the landscape architecture profession to women. She was also the first woman to be hired as the landscape consultant to Yale University and worked in that capacity from 1922 to 1945. During that time, she designed plans across the campus, from the Marsh Botanical Gardens to landscape plans for Yale Medical School.

The film also highlights three exquisite gardens designed by Farrand in Connecticut, including Hill-Stead in Farmington, Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, and Promisek in Bridgewater, all of which have been recently renovated.

With rare archival images and illuminating interviews with Farrand scholars, Evans's 40-minute documentary gives a fascinating overview of Farrand's 50-year career, which included more than 200 commissions. The film includes more than 60 Farrand-related sites, along with interviews with landscape architect Diana Balmori, landscape historian Judith Tankard, and New Haven-based landscape architect Shavaun Towers.

Admission is free to the screening on Monday, June 5, and is open to the public.

A Q&A with Ms Evans will follow the screening, according to the festival's website.

In 2016, Karyl Evans won the National Academy of Television Arts and Science's Outstanding Director Emmy Award for her work as the director of Letter from Italy, 1944: A New American Oratorio, commissioned by the GMChorale and narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep.

Ms Evans, owner of Karyl Evans Productions LLC in North Haven, has produced many historical documentaries over the past 30 years about Connecticut history. Her productions include The New Haven Green: Heart of a City, narrated by Paul Giamatti, as well as a series of documentaries for public television including History of African-Americans in Connecticut and History of Connecticut Cities.

Ms Evans was a full-time professor at Southern Connecticut State University for two years. She is currently a fellow at Yale University, and is one of the organizers of the New Haven Documentary Film Festival at Yale.

To learn more about Karyl K. Evans and The Life and Gardens of Beatrix Farrand, visit

Visit website for more details about NHDocs, which runs this year June 1-11.


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