Steve Bransford and Cooper Sanchez
Indie Grits 2018
A portrait of an eccentric Southern gardener.
The subject of Steve Bransford and Cooper Sanchez’s film, Ryan Gainey, was a well-known local figure in Atlanta and other parts of the American South, and achieved a small measure of wider renown via appearances on PBS gardening specials. Filmed over several years, this portrait captures the garden designer as he reckons with damage to his Decatur home, well-known for its expansive garden, and sets up a more modest environment in Lexington GA. Interviews with Rainey and friends reveal a sometimes friendly, sometimes cantankerous eccentric, born to a poor South Carolina family, ostracized for being gay at school, but who came into his own as a garden designer to the rich in 1970s Atlanta. Gainey comes off as performative at times, and the film has a rough feel, never quite finding a compelling central thread, resulting in an acceptable but not particularly memorable profile.