by Lorraine LoBianco (Guest Writer)
Ingredients, a new film that is making the rounds of the festival circuit these days, is not about angst-ridden twenty-somethings, or conspiracy theories, or getting revenge on terrorists. But it is about a very real danger and the heroes who fight against it.
To quote the filmmakers, “American food is in a state of crisis. Obesity and diabetes are on the rise, food costs are skyrocketing, family farms are in decline and our agricultural environment is in jeopardy. A feature-length documentary film, Ingredients explores a thriving local food movement as our world becomes a more flavorless, disconnected and dangerous place to eat. […] With questions of food safety, accessibility, cost, and health at the forefront, we learn that seasonal food grown close to home provides consumers with a sense of security as they develop relationships with the people who grow and prepare their food. Ingredients empowers and sparks the joy of discovery for living and eating well in a world in need of balance.”
Ingredients was filmed and produced by Brian Kimmel and written, edited and directed by documentarian Robert Bates. Bates, the creator/director of The Kitchen Sessions with Charlie Trotter (for which he won the James Beard Award for Best National Television Program), made the Ingredients because “While much has been filmed regarding serious problems in our American industrial food system, little has been done to recognize the substantial efforts of those dedicated to an alternative food supply. With Ingredients I have attempted to witness and reflect the work of individuals who are tirelessly devoted to producing food with the intention of feeding people, and not just turning the wheel of commerce. I have done this work in the interest of improving the health of our children and our environment, which are both at critical junctures. My aim is that the pleasures of eating local are echoed in the experience of watching the film, and that it inspires a greater desire to know the people who produce our food.”
The film, which is narrated by actress Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress Bebe Neuwirth, takes the audience on a trip across the United States “from the urban food deserts of Harlem to the diversified farms of the Hudson River and Willamette Valleys and to the kitchens of celebrated chefs Alice Waters, Peter Hoffman and Greg Higgins. Ingredients is a journey that reveals the people behind the movement to bring good food back to the table and health back to our communities.”
The reaction to the film has been overwhelmingly positive. Waters, of Chez Panisse fame has said “Through beautiful imagery and thoughtful interviews, Ingredients reminds us that the most delicious food is prepared with seasonal, ripe, fresh ingredients and raised by people who care for the land.” Sam Kass, chef to President and Mrs. Obama, thanked the filmmakers for tackling “some of the most critical issues we face. Ingredients could not have come at a better time.”
Ingredients is currently airing at film festivals and special screenings across the country including:
October 11: The Anthology Film Archives, 32, Second Avenue, New York, NY (at 1:15pm)
October 15-25 (screening date to be determined) The Hawaii International Film Festival, Honolulu, Hawaii (www.hiff.org).
October 24: The Yosemite Film Festival, Yosemite National Park, California, whose mission is to “bring all genres of progressive, eye-opening, independent cinema to Yosemite and to foster an appreciation and understanding toward the preservation and majesty of our natural world.” The film will receive the Silver Sierra Award for Documentary Filmmaking that night.
November 5-8: The Ojai-Ventura Film Festival, Ojai, California.
For those wishing to air the film as part of a fund-raiser or community event, Ingredients can be licensed from the filmmakers for a sliding scale fee tailored to the nature of the event. It is also available for purchase on DVD through the official website: www.ingredientsfilm.com , which includes future exhibition and broadcast dates, discussion guides, and information about the upcoming release of the Ingredients cookbook; a companion piece to the documentary. Filled with lush photography, the book will feature seasonal recipes whose every ingredient is traced “from seed to table to demonstrate the power of knowing where our food comes from.”
(Note: the documentary is co-sponsored by a meat company, however, the themes of a vegetable-based diet and human and community health are essential themes in this film)
Lorraine LoBianco has spent most of her life in Southern California where she has worked in the television industry as Director of Programming at Fox Movie Channel and more recently in Florida as Director of Program Planning and Acquisitions at ION Television. Currently, she is a monthly contributing writer to Turner Classic Movies Interactive and is interested in moving to Northern California for writing, editing and/or television jobs. http://www.linkedin.com/in/lml2008