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Canada | Color | 5.1 Surround
©2018 LizMars Productions Inc. 

Midian Farm

A transformative piece of family and Canadian history

If it had happened in America, Midian Farm would be a Hollywood script. Instead, its legacy is memorialized through a compelling personal Canadian documentary. From 1971 – 1977, Midian Farm was a back-to-the-land social experiment created by a community of urban baby boomers from Toronto. Led by Grainger and Diane Cowie, the father and mother of filmmaker Liz Marshall, during a period of social and political re-imagining, the farm’s utopian vision eventually collapsed. Piercing through time more than four decades later, Liz puts to rest a transformative piece of family and Canadian history.

This film is a very personal act of excavation and reclamation, culminating in a reunion bringing together many of the filmmaker's original, extended, Family.


The story of Midian Farm is like a capsule containing many timeless stories and lessons, and now it is on the record as Canadian history.


Midian Farm reminds us that the road to utopia still means grappling with the alien technology of being human.


Interviewing not only her parents but looking at her own childhood through the lens of photographs, home movies and unspoken stories.


A touching and wistful look back


Marshall's Midian Farm evokes the past in the best way possible: by honoring its principles, in an attempt to understand what didn't work and what was achieved.



Written, Directed, Filmed by Liz Marshall

Produced by Liz Marshall and Roderick Deogrades

Edited by Roderick Deogrades and Mike Munn

Original Music by Ken Whiteley

Re-Recording Mixer Michelle Irving

Supervising Re-Recording Mixer Daniel Pellerin

Sound Editor Ryan Wibowo

Original Music Recording Engineered by Nicolas Tjelios

Music Clearance Amy Fritz

Additional Cinematography John Price, Justin Lovell

Assistant Editor Ellen DesRues

Production Coordinator Nathalie Klinck

Location Sound Recordists Peter Sawade, Mike Filippov, Chris Miller

Poster Design Karin Culliton


“For perhaps we are like stone; our own history and the history of the world embedded in us,
we hold a sorrow deep within and cannot weep until that history is sung.”
– Susan Griffin, A Chorus of Stones

In the late 1960s my father and mother were at the centre of a Toronto-based communitarian
movement some called Family. During an intense period of social and political re-imagining they engaged through a leftist Christian philosophy, being of service to others and sharing resources. In 1971 the community purchased Midian Farm as a back-to-the-land social experiment, and I lived there until I was five. The end of my parents’ marriage and the subsequent fall of the farm left a resounding residue, a hangover from hope for all, and a deeply etched memory in my subconscious.

I would like to thank my parents Diane Marshall and Grainger Cowie for their love and support
of me in the making of this first personal film, and for their brave willingness to unearth and participate in this project. Without the involvement of my aunts and uncles and the Midian Farm community this story with its multiple voices and dimensions would not be known. I am deeply grateful for their trust in me, for the use of their archives, and the opportunity to reconnect more than four decades later.

We Acknowledge
the support of the Canada Council for the Arts