Xavier professor's film "Sanctity of Sanctuary" wins for Best Regional Film in the Cincinnati Film Festival

Sanctity of Sanctuary is about a man's passion for rehabilitating abandoned strip-mined land | September 15, 2013

Professor Blis DeVault's award-winning film, "Sanctity of Sanctuary: Paul Strauss and the Equinox Farm," was awarded yet another win as the Best Regional Film in the Cincinnati Film Festival. The film was selected on Sept. 15 from categories including regional documentary films and narrative films, according to the film's Facebook page.

DeVault's film previously won two bronze awards in the 2013 Telly Awards. The film won in the “Social Issue” and “Cultural” categories and was one of nearly 11,000 entries from all 50 states and numerous countries. The film also won for Best Environmental Film at the Byron Bay International Film Festival in Australia in March.

The film was screened at the Cincinnati Film Festival on Sept. 9 and Sept. 12.

“The response to this film has been amazing,” said DeVault, who is also assistant professor of communication arts and director of the TV studio at Xavier.

The 82-minute film shares the life of herbalist Paul Strauss of Meigs County, Ohio. For more than 40 years, he has been rehabilitating land left bare by strip mines and more recently helped create the United Plant Savers Sanctuary to preserve endangered medicinal plants. He is visited by herbalists from all over the world and holds classes on his organic farm.

DeVault’s feature documentary speaks to one man’s passion for nature and his call to live a sustainable life. It questions the use of fossil fuels and how their extraction has devastated the land. The film encourages viewers to rethink their own energy use practices, asking all of us to become part of the energy solution.

The film is described on its Facebook page as “An Appalachian love affair between a man, his farm, and his desire to make the world a better place. This is a story about how one man can and has truly made a difference on this planet.”

When the film won the Telly Award, executive director Linda Day said, “This accomplishment illustrates creativity, skill and dedication to craft and serves as a testament to great film and video production."

To find out more about the film, visit www.sanctityofsanctuary.com. Also follow the film on Facebook at Sanctity of Sanctuary: Paul Strauss and the Equinox Farm.