James Kozar

My name is James Kozar and I am a commercial video director with a focus on documentary storytelling in both my work and personal projects.

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Ray & The Agave is a 10 minute short documentary filmed entirely on location at the Garfield Park Conservatory in 2019. The film follows the once-in-a-lifetime bloom of the Agave americana from the perspective of its caretaker, Ray Jorgensen. While the spectacular bloom was widely celebrated by Chicagoans, it also signaled the end of its life cycle, and Ray knew their time together would be coming to an end.

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Ray & the Agave

At the Garfield Park Conservatory on Chicago's westside, a rare agave blooms, and the man who has cared for the plant for decades must come to terms with its imminent death and his own grief and loss.

The famed Agave americana lived in the Desert House collection for an estimated 60-80 years before suddenly blooming in 2019. Anticipation built throughout that year as it grew to unprecedented heights, fostering curiosity, fascination, and inspiration and creating an opportunity for people to connect with a plant that grew to a remarkable size outside of its native habitat. The Agave brought communities together in a shared appreciation of the power and mystery of nature, all within the confines of one of the oldest and most renowned conservatories in the country, right here in Chicago.

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Ray & The Agave was filmed exclusively at Garfield Park Conservatory and follows the story of Chicago resident and Park District employee Ray Jorgensen as a plant under his care begins a sudden and spectacular bloom.
 

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This film documents one of the many spectacles of nature that have happened at the Garfield Park Conservatory over its 100+ year history. Learn more about this iconic Chicago Park District location and plan your free visit at garfieldconservatory.org.

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To see more of James Kozar's work, check out his company Apparatus Cinema.