Category Archives: Movies

FRESH Screens in Vancouver

The documentary FRESH celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people who are working to re-invent our food system. Not just a demonstration of what is wrong with the current system, FRESH takes a look at how several people are forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, offering a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.

The screening takes place Wednesday, June 10th at 7:30pm at UBC Robson Square (800 Robson Street) in Vancouver. Each ticket is $10 and includes the screening and a discussion panel following the show. Purchase tickets online.

Who Owns Your Water?

Yeah, you read that title right, “Who owns our water?” If you think that’s like asking “Who owns our air” you’re onto something. Pretty crazy isn’t it? But the weirdest part is, people running big corporations already own some people’s water and are looking to own yours. Then they can sell it to the highest bidder. And, if that isn’t you, you may well be out o’ luck.

My switch to local tap water, even on the go, came just before I discovered two documentaries on global and local water issues. Blue Gold and Flow deal with the issue differently, but have the same underlying message — we need to know what’s happening with the water in our world.

Note to self: if it can happen in Paris, it can happen here and then some.

Not only do the folks behind Flow want you to know what’s happening with water consumption and privatization, they encourage viewers to take action. Whether it’s signing an Article 31 online petition to update the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ensuring access to clean water as a fundamental human right, or connecting with one of the many organizations focused on water issues, the necessary tools to become informed are provided.

I suspect like most people, I had a vague sense that water privatization doesn’t seem like a good idea. Now I know why.

Enjoy the Luxury of Local, Drinkable Water

Fresh, drinkable water as a diminishing resource is a global issue, but it’s also a local concern. More local than you may realize and more in jeopardy than you may be comfortable knowing. I didn’t have any more than a vague idea until recently.

I came across a couple of documentaries about water issues shortly after being taken to task for carrying around a case of bottled water in my trunk.

The first movie is Blue Gold, based on a book of that name by Tony Clarke and Maude Barlow, outspoken activists on the issues of water privatization. It’s a serious eye opener about how much water we have on the planet (97% is salt, 3% is fresh, and the bulk of the “fresh” is actually polluted), what’s happening with it, and how we all will be affected if something doesn’t change.

Forget Hollywood, this documentary has political corruption, class clashes, violence, bloodshed…and plenty of suspense and drama. Think the threat of other countries taking our fresh water is science fiction? I recommend watching the movie and getting a little more informed about what we will be up against in the not-very-distant future.

  • Did you know that the large, multinational, drink producing companies (they are household names) are sucking out ground water around the world at an astonishing rate — for free — and seriously affecting water tables and local farming?
  • Did you know there are (barely enforced) standards for bottled water contents, but none for soft drinks made from the same water?
  • Did you know that soft drinks cost significantly less than bottled water in many developing countries?
  • Do you know the abysmal track record of water privatization companies worldwide where costs have tripled for reduced service and the poor can’t pay so they don’t get clean water?
  • Ever tried to live without clean water?

Having seen the movie, I’m even more happy I switched from bottled to local tap water, and I’ll be keeping an eye out in the media for any rumblings about privatizing or selling our incredible natural resource, the one we take so for granted every day and frequently complain about.

Now, what to do with that Dasani bottle in the fridge that came with last week’s bundled picnic lunch? I certainly don’t want to drink it…

Taking Back the…Inner City Garden?

First it was VIFF, then it was Projecting Change, and now Vancouver does it yet again with DOXA, an independent film festival stocked full of interesting, topical and timely documentaries.

DOXA runs May 22 – 31, 2009 at various venues, check online for a full list of films and show times.

A number of films caught my eye, but the must-see is The Garden, the story of inner city LA citizens who came together, became farmers, and in so doing, built a community. (Friday, May 29th, 9:00 p.m.)

Which of course is then threatened by greed and political corruption. Hmmm, why does this theme keep coming up? If this were a regular Hollywood film, we’d all be saying, “Come on, get an original plot, wouldya?!” Sadly, it’s a documentary. Here we go again…

Note: The DOXA online purchase option tacks on $2.50/tix which I think is a rip-off. Here’s the list of where you can buy them in person:

Bibliophile Bookshop, 2010 Commercial Drive – CASH ONLY
Videomatica, 1855 West 4th Avenue – CASH ONLY
Biz Books, 302 West Cordova Street

Food Fight the Movie

I caught Food Fight at the Projecting Change film festival this weekend and have to say I was a little disappointed.

The film contained some great background info on the politics of food production in the US and was a who’s who of high profile food advocates like Michael Pollan and Alice Waters. But somehow I was ultimately left feeling not quite satisfied.

More time was spent interviewing apparently famous chefs (I wouldn’t know) running high end restaurants, and less on the actual fight we have on our hands to get a hold of fresh, local food. I agree chefs are great advocates of the movement, but it felt a little as though if you don’t dine at high end restaurants, you’re out of luck.

I would have liked to know more about the regulations that ensure the continued plight of farmers, what we can do to influence change, and how eating local can help farmers in the “food fight.” (The film Tableland does a good job of adding some perspective on that issue.)

All in all Food Fight contained some great insight into the food industry machine that keeps our shelves stocked with a wide variety of tasteless, un-nutritional food and limits our access to alternatives. I just left a little hungry for more substance.

Ecologically Intelligent Design

A new term for me, “ecologically intelligent design” is an exciting concept, to say the least. It proposes that all manufactured products can be designed so that everything involved in their production, including the products themselves at the end of their life, can be recycled. A “cradle to cradle” concept, if you will (read = no “grave”).

Sounds too good to be true? It’s not.

Waste=Food is a documentary featured at this year’s Projecting Change Film Festival in Vancouver which explores the ecologically intelligent design concept. Through interviews with its leading proponents, American architect William McDonough and German ecological chemist Michael Braungart, as well as case studies of the design concept in action, Waste=Food shows viewers that through careful planning, products can be produced that truly cycle through the Technosphere and Biosphere, never landing in a grave.

After viewing the film, participants will have a chance to hear from Mike Sommer, a consultant working with companies interested in “going green” and wanting to explore the economic benefits of making the change.

Waste=Food is playing on Sunday, April 4 at 5pm at Fifth Avenue Theatres (2110 Burrard Street, Vancouver). Purchase tickets online for $10 each (includes speaker).

Food Fight: a Story of Culinary Revolt

More and more people are waking up to discover that our current commercial food supply model is just not working. Our food choices are dwindling and the quality of what is offered is adequate, at best. But, what can we do about it?

Food Fight: a story of culinary revolt, a multiple award-winning documentary showing at this year’s Projecting Change Film Festival (Vancouver), takes a look at alternatives to the current commercial food supply. By exploring the economic, health, and quality issues surrounding the current corporate-focused model, Food Fight offers insight into who is really producing our food and how it adversely affects communities and individuals.

Sure to be a fascinating look at a current issue, Food Fight maintains that every one of us has a choice of where we purchase our food and can have a profound effect on how food is produced in the future. In short, the real-world solution is that communities must take back responsibility for their own food supply.

As a bonus, each film at the Projecting Change Film Festival offers a speaker’s component. The speakers for Food Fight will be representatives from Farm Folk City Folk and UBC Farms.

Food Fight: a story of culinary revolt shows on Friday, April 3 at 7pm at Fifth Avenue Theatres (2110 Burrard Street, Vancouver). Order tickets online; $10 each for film and speaker.

Living Lightly Showcases Be the Change

On Tuesday, March 31st the Living Lightly Project will be screening Be the Change at the Vancouver Public Library. The documentary by filmmaker David Chernushenko explores why some people choose to live more sustainably and what it might take to get more of us on board with the concept.

The Living Lightly Project has a refreshing philosophy on what can sometimes be a very political topic.

    “Living Lightly is a pursuit, a philosophy or maybe even a quest. It is a social movement with a very individual approach, and as such can be very public and communal, or very private and personal…

    “Living Lightly is not about guilt, sacrifice or preaching to others. Living Lightly is about choosing to embrace a way of life that is exciting, challenging, rewarding, humbling, and as full of mistakes and dilemmas as it is full of achievements and certainty.”

I like that approach. We don’t have to beat people over the head or blather on about how hard it is to live more consciously. It can actually be fun and challenging. A bit of an adventure even.

Check out the Living Lightly Project

Check out the Living Lightly Project

Grounded in Goodness

There’s just always been something grounding and grounded about, well, getting a little closer to the ground. Like talking to the people who plant, care for and harvest the food you’re eating. I think it tastes all the more delicious for the TLC that goes into it. Finally, I have some backing for my theory.

In Tableland, the independent film about burgeoning local food economies, one of the vintners talks about how the process of caring for the grapes makes them more flavourful. He explains how removing the leaves around the clusters, which is painstakingly done by hand, ensures good venting and prevents damp and fungi growth on the vines. In so doing, the grapes are exposed to more sunlight, which makes them higher in tannins and sweeter.

See, what grandma always said is true. Food tastes better when there’s a little tender, loving care sprinkled in.