Made on MVY: Thomas Bena’s One Big Home


Join the discussion. See the film that screened at both the National Gallery of Art and the National Building Museum. Entirely shot on Martha’s Vineyard, it has been traveling around the world for almost three years.

Often used to galvanize support for new “big house bylaws,” the film was recently part of a three-day run in Provincetown, where citizens are working to update their zoning laws. In the next few months it will also screen in Western Australia, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.

In his first feature-length documentary, Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival founder Thomas Bena makes the case that limiting house size can actually protect the sense of place in any given community: “Setting reasonable limits has no real downside. The jobs remain and property values are maintained.”

In the film, Bena records the process of working with the Chilmark community to create a new bylaw that restricts house size. The DVD also includes a “four years later” interview with residential architect Peter Breese, whom Bena debates throughout the film.

“One Big Home” is available for purchase at Cronig’s Market, Healthy Additions, Bunch of Grapes, Mermaid Farm, and North Tabor Farm. The film is available on iTunes and