Monday, March 29, 2010

Reel Food Film Festival

Last week I attended the Reel Food Film Festival, which was put on by some great organizations committed to real food and environmentally responsible living. Included in this list were: USC Canada (Unitarian Service Committee of Canada) The Good Food Box, Just Food and COG (Canadian Organic Growers). *I know I missed one here, if anyone remembers it, please let me know! Three films were screened; two shorts and a feature: The Story of Food, Indigenous Plant Diva and Dirt: The Movie.

The Story of Food was a cute film made in the same vein as The Story of Stuff, or The Story of Bottled Water, both created by environmental activist Annie Leonard. This film, created by USC Canada, did a good job of providing basic information about the food system, promoting real food versus factory farming, although I didn't find it to be as compelling as the featurd film of the evening. Perhaps that is what happens when you watch a lot of these types of films -- you start to crave more and more detailed information as you continue to learn. It was animated in a lively and approachable way, however, and I would recommend it to people who are looking for a quick crash course in the industrialization of food and what it does to us, and to our planet. See for yourself:

Indigenous Plant Diva introduced us to Cease Wyss or "TUyTanat", which is her indigenous name, meaning "woman who travels by canoe to gather medicines for all people". The film educates us about plants and their healing properties and how they can be found all around us, even in the most urban areas of Vancouver. The director, Kamala Todd, offers an artistic glimpse into Cease's life, her history, and her knowledge of ancient native traditions connected to plantlife. A beautiful and educational film:

Last but certainly not least, we settled in for the feature film -- Dirt: The Movie. Narrated with authority by Jamie Lee Curtis, this film proves that regardless of the name you assign to it -- dirt, soil, earth, mud -- dirt is essential to our survival. This film was extremely well done and offered facts and opinions from many experts on the topic. Dirt met wine when the film featured Gary Vaynerchuk from Wine Library TV providing information on terroir and how the soil in which the vines grow (in conjunction with climate, rainfall etc.) dictates the aromas and tastes we experience in wines. In his trademark passionate style, Gary even eats the dirt on camera to show the correlation between the taste of the dirt and the flavours in the wine. This film was chock full of fascinating information and inspiring people, but I found two women featured in the film to inspire me the most: Physicist/Environmental Activist Vandana Shiva and Nobel Laureate and Founder of the Green Belt Movement Wangari Maathai. If only to hear what these women have to say, would be one great reason to see this film. For this reason and many others, I definitely recommend you see it! At one point in the film, Wangari Maathai shares her hummingbird story, which is very uplifting and inspiring, and proves that one person can indeed make a difference. Did I mention Alice Waters is also in it? Also for those who need a good laugh, there are some amazingly cute animations of dirt microorganisms throughout the film that certainly made us chuckle. For now, you can enjoy the trailer:

In the end I enjoyed this evening of food-related film, and the cherry on top was the free sample of Cocoa Camino dark chocolate --yum! Congrats to all of the organizations involved for such a great turnout! I look forward to future events.

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