The Ant Farm may be one of the most famous American toys, but its origins are known only to a select few. This documentary short aims to clarify the historical record, while also attempting to explain the appeal of this classic nature toy. Invented by “Uncle” Milton Levine (who explains that due to the presence of so many ants “that there had to be an uncle”) in 1953, the Ant Farm was a resounding success and remains in manufacture to this day. The documentary also features a family of ant hunters, and Milton’s son Steven, who was put through college on the proceeds of the humble toy. Uncle Milton passed away in 2011, and the company was sold for a large sum — probably more than Milton ever imagined possible. The success was a tribute to Milton’s diligence; like the ants he loved he never seemed to stop working.
This quirky film was made while I was a student at the University of Southern California and screened in many film festivals. It was inspired by the concept that by focusing on something seemingly innocuous, can produce some intriguing insights about ourselves. Enjoy!