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ONE BIG HOME follows one carpenter's journey to understand the trend toward giant houses. When he feels complicit in wrecking the place he calls home, Thomas Bena takes off his tool belt and picks up a camera.



"Tells a fascinating story of conflicting visions of economic development on Martha's Vineyard, and by extension, the entire country...In doing so it focuses on the broader questions of how we ought to live our lives as human beings and consumers...The film shows that residents of any community can organize and educate one another, work with local planning boards and elected officials, and help to shift their neighborhoods and cities away from ill-planned growth and its environmental impacts and toward a far more sustainable future."
Michael E. Kraft, Professor Emeritus, Political Science and Public and Environmental Affairs, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, co-author, Toward Sustainable Communities: Transition and Transformations in Environmental Policy

"This is a perceptive and moving account of the tension between individual property rights and community values, the importance of a sense of place and the hard work necessary to achieve political change. Never simplistic and always nuanced, the film raises important issues for all of the US as the conspicuous consumption of the superrich impacts all our lives. Vital viewing for those concerned with zoning, affordable housing and the changing character of residential America."
John Rennie Short, Professor of Public Policy, University of Maryland, Author, The Unequal City: Urban Resurgence, Displacement and the Making of Inequality in Global Cities

"Engaging and provocative...Provides a contemporary example of how the values of individual consumption are pitted against the values of preserving community well-being and, ultimately, social and environmental sustainability. This film raises important and challenging questions about the contested nature and boundaries of community, the exercise of political agency, and the complexity of the multiple dilemmas associated with growth, development and the 'tragedy of the commons.'"
Dr. Kai Schafft, Associate Professor, Education and Rural Sociology, Director, Center on Rural Education and Communities, Penn State University

"When it comes to houses, size matters...Reveals the deep divisions caused by the clash between current residents and new ones who have the money to build their dream homes. For students and others, it demonstrates how citizen participation on limiting residential development can help preserve community character, raising key questions on the balance of private property rights with land use regulation."
Terry Szold, Adjunct Professor of Land Use Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Principal, Community Planning Solutions

"Really stands out in the current climate and will give...cinemagoers something refreshingly different to engage with...Intelligent and thoughtful."
Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film

"Offer[s] viewers insights from multiple perspectives and an inside look at how one community decided together in determining its future."
Kimberley Mok, TreeHugger

"When will a small community fight to protect its character? Provides an engrossing case from Martha's Vineyard where the residents of Chilmark observe and debate the construction of giant homes. Students, activists, and community leaders will be inspired to consider their role in their own communities as well as both what Americans consume and what Americans value."
Brian Miller, Associate Professor of Sociology, Wheaton College

"A must see for architects, planners and activists. It is fascinating - documenting one man's quest over a decade, working with his community to restrict gargantuan homes on Martha's Vineyard."
Keith Moskow, FAIA, Moskow Linn Architects

"An indictment of our culture of over-consumption, ONE BIG HOME tells a story of rural gentrification...With lessons for architects, urban planners, and community organizers, the documentary describes the struggle for the preservation of community character and a way of life that is grounded, simple, and both socially and environmentally sustainable."
Shannon Van Zandt, Professor of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, Professor of Residential Land Development, Texas A&M University

"A thought-provoking documentary that requires introspection upon seeing it."
Melissa Michaels, L'Etage Magazine

"The documentary's success is that it includes the viewpoints of multiple parties — avoiding a one-sided bias...Bena's film becomes not so much an indictment of mega-mansions, but a rallying cry to local communities to have a voice in the conversation."
Michael d'Estries, Mother Nature Network

"An absorbing account of a community's effort to deal successfully with the issue of protecting character and environment while supporting the local economy."
Town Topics Newspaper

"Aside from spotlighting the essentialness of local government, the film draws compelling connections between property ownership and oft-unexamined ideals of liberty...As the film's title suggests, the biggest home is one all humans share — and it can only satisfy unstoppable appetites for so long."
Alexander Castro, Newport Mercury

"ONE BIG HOME is not just a film about trophy homes on Martha's Vineyard, it is about the power of community activism, it is about grassroots change, it is a rallying cry for communities all over the country with similar plights."
Mount Desert Islander

"Exposes the scale of the issue...The film makes fascinating watching for anyone interested in site-appropriate and socially sensitive home design and the importance of appropriate planning laws. It could serve as a timely warning to many concerned communities."
Sanctuary: Modern Green Homes Magazine

"As the time elapses, we watch Bena evolve...Real significant change was enacted after Bena became passionate about his outcome...That was the key. Negativity. Complaining...He was not going to make a significant impact unless he changed the scope of his passion from fighting against to fighting for something."
Billy Manas, Elephant Journal

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Man vs. Mansion
A Community Determines Its Own Destiny