24 Films. 25 Fridays.
Come join the fun as we explore a smorgasbord of fascinating documentary films on all things food and farming!
When: Fridays at 7 pm, beginning January 31. Films will show weekly until June 6, then the program will pick up again in the Fall.
Where: FARMS Community Kitchen is located above Rising Tide Community Market at 323 Main Street, Damariscotta, Maine.
Cost: Film Festival films are FREE!
Click on a film title to see the movie trailer.
January 31: Symphony of the Soil
Symphony of the Soil is a 104-minute documentary feature film that explores the complexity and mystery of soil. Filmed on four continents and sharing the voices of some of the world’s most esteemed soil scientists, farmers and activists, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story.
Using a captivating mix of art and science, the film shows that soil is a complex living organism, the foundation of life on earth. Yet most people are soil-blind and “treat soil like dirt.” Through the knowledge and wisdom revealed in this film, we can come to respect, even revere, this miraculous substance, and appreciate that treating the soil right can help solve some of our most pressing environmental problems.
February 7: Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat
Obesity is fast becoming the single greatest killer of Americans, causing some experts to claim that we are on the cusp of an evolutionary disaster.
Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona says, “obesity is a terror within; it’s destroying our society from within and unless we do something about it, the magnitude of the dilemma will dwarf 9/11 or any other terrorist event that you can point out.”
Obesity rates in the United States are climbing at an unprecedented rate across all ages and ethnic groups and leading to the first generation of children whose life expectancy is shorter than that of their parents. Killer at Large uncovers this epidemic, examining the causes and suggesting way to reverse this deadly trend.
February 14: The Real Dirt on Farmer John
The epic tale of a maverick Midwestern farmer. An outcast in his community, Farmer John bravely stands amidst a failing economy, vicious rumors, and violence. By melding the traditions of family farming with the power of art and free expression, this story of transformation and renewal heralds a resurrection of farming in America. The film is a haunting odyssey, capturing what it means to be different in rural America.
Director Taggart Siegel of Collective Eye made the film in a most unusual way – shooting farmer John Peterson over 25-years of their evolving friendship, and using multiple media, from 8 mm home movies shot on the farm in the 50’s and 60’s to modern video — allowing him to capture his alternately humorous, heartbreaking and spirited life with raw drama and intimacy.
With the death of his father during the late 60s, a teenaged John takes over the traditional family farm, slowly turning it into an experiment of art and agriculture, making it a haven for hippies, radicals and artists. The Real Dirt on Farmer John charts the end of this idealistic era as the farm debt crisis of the 80’s brings about the tragic collapse of the farm.
As the intricate weave of rural America unravels, vicious local rumors turn John into a scapegoat, condemning him as a Satan-worshipping drug-dealer. Threatened with murder, his home burned to the ground, John forsakes his farm and wanders through Mexico, where he is transformed by the soulfulness and pageantry of this ancient land. Mysteriously, his quest leads him back to his hostile homeland.
Defying all odds, he gradually transforms his land into a revolutionary farming community, a cultural mecca, where people work and flourish providing fresh vegetables and herbs to thousands of people every week.
The Peterson family farm has become Angelic Organics, one of the largest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms in the United States, a beacon of today’s booming organic farming movement.
February 21: Food, Inc. – You’ll Never Look at Dinner the Same Way Again
Food, Inc. is a documentary by Emmy award winner Robert Kenner. Released in 2008, Kenner uses the cinematic platform to inform viewers of what has become of the American food industry.
Kenner cleverly breaks his film into three segments. The first segment delves into the practice and implications meat production in the United States. The second segment of the film deals with the industry of grain and vegetable production. The third and final segment examines current laws and realities concerning the American public.
February 28: Good Food – Sustainable food and farming in the Pacific Northwest
Something remarkable is happening in the fields and orchards of the Pacific Northwest. After leaving the land for decades, family farmers are making a comeback. They are growing much healthier food, and more food per acre, while using less energy and water than factory farms. And most of this food is organic.
For decades Northwest agriculture was focused on a few big crops for export. But climate change and the end of cheap energy mean that each region needs to produce more of its own food and to grow it more sustainably. Good Food visits farmers, farmers’ markets, distributors, stores, restaurants and public officials who are developing a more sustainable food system for all.
March 7: Got the Facts on Milk? – Beyond the Myth of Milk
Got the Facts on Milk? is a wildly entertaining, partly animated feature documentary that questions the deep-rooted American belief in the health benefits of milk. Filmmaker Shira Lane’s dairy allergy prompted her to examine the scientific research on the subject, and, baffled by the lack of consensus, she took a road trip to the US Department of Agriculture’s Nutrition Information Center for the facts. On her month-long, 4600-mile journey to Washington, DC through the American Southwest and Bible Belt, she meets with top doctors and researchers, dietitians, dairy farmers, parents, teachers, and plenty of “ordinary Americans” who provide both comic relief and food for thought.
The film raises questions about dairy’s role in cancer, osteoporosis, weight gain, asthma, acne, early menstruation, and more; covers the preponderance of lactose intolerance in communities of color, and explains why dairy consumption is fraught with high-stakes political, economic, ethical, and environmental considerations.
Got the Facts on Milk? has won several film festival awards, including the audience award at the 2008 Rhode Island International Film Festival, and has outraged filmgoers around the world. It sparked a riot at the South Korea Green Film Festival, shocked the audiences at DocAviv Documentary Film Festival in Israel, and traumatized attendees of the EcoCinema Environmental Film Festival.
March 14: Delicious Peace Grows in a Ugandan Coffee Bean
Living in the wake of the Idi Amin reign of terror and institutional discrimination, one Ugandan coffee farmer organized a group of Christian, Muslim and Jewish neighbors to challenge historical (as well as economic and environmental) hurdles. He formed the ‘Delicious Peace Coffee Cooperative’ to enhance peaceful relationships and economic development. Partnering with a Fair Trade US distributor, the standard of living of the farmers is improving, peace is flourishing, and their messages of peace and fair wages are spreading to coffee customers in the US.
March 21: Escape Fire – The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare
Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: how can we save our badly broken healthcare system?
American healthcare costs are rising so rapidly that they could reach $4.2 trillion annually, roughly 20% of our gross domestic product, within ten years. We spend $300 billion a year on pharmaceutical drugs–almost as much as the rest of the world combined. We pay more, yet our health outcomes are worse. About 65% of Americans are overweight and almost 75% of healthcare costs are spent on preventable diseases that are the major causes of disability and death in our society.
It’s not surprising that healthcare tops many Americans’ concerns and is at the center of a political firestorm in our nation’s Capitol. But the current battle over cost and access does not ultimately address the root of the problem: we have a disease-care system, not a healthcare system.
Escape Fire examines the powerful forces maintaining the status quo, a medical industry designed for quick fixes rather than prevention, for profit-driven care rather than patient-driven care. After decades of resistance, a movement to bring innovative high-touch, low-cost methods of prevention and healing into our high-tech, costly system is finally gaining ground. Award-winning filmmakers Matthew Heineman and Susan Froemke follow dramatic human stories as well as leaders fighting to transform healthcare at the highest levels of medicine, industry, government, and even the US military. Escape Fire is about finding a way out. It’s about saving the health of a nation.
March 28: Forks Over Knives – “A film that can save your life.” -Roger Ebert
Forks Over Knives is a compelling documentary that takes a closer look at the diseases that afflict millions of people every year, from obesity and hypertension to degenerative diseases and heart conditions. Even though medical technology has advanced further than we ever previously imagined, the health of the world’s population seems to be decreasing by staggering numbers. Could there be a way to stop all of the madness and heal the population?
April 4: Anticancer – A New Way of Life
Based on the NY Times best-selling book, Anticancer: A New Way of Life, Dr. David Servan-Schreiber addresses the simple steps you can take to give your body a fighting chance. The way to do this is with prevention, and integrative oncology: supplementing medical treatments with a healthy lifestyle. Learn about which foods fight cancer; which are cancer-promoting and contaminants that should be avoided; how exercises strengthen the body’s defenses; how social and mental well-being can actually improve your health and much more.
Best selling author Dr. David Servan-Schreiber leads this informative discussion on preventing cancer, through a dietary nutrition, emotional well-being and physical lifestyle approach that supports the body’s own natural defenses, so that even pre-existing cancer cells are less likely to lead to actual cancer.
April 11: Vegucated – Three People. Six Weeks. One Challenge.
Part sociological experiment and part adventure comedy, Vegucated follows three meat- and cheese-loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. Lured by tales of weight lost and health regained, they begin to uncover the hidden sides of animal agriculture that make them wonder whether solutions offered in films like Food, Inc. go far enough. This entertaining documentary showcases the rapid and at times comedic evolution of three people who discover they can change the world one bite at a time.
April 18 and 25: The Weight of the Nation – To Win, we Have to Lose
HBO shines a bright light on America’s obesity epidemic in this 4-part, multi-platform project that looks at causes, symptoms, treatments for the problem, and offers some possible solutions to restore our health.
Part 1: Consequences (April 18). The first film in The Weight of the Nation series examines the scope of the obesity epidemic and explores the serious health consequences of being overweight or obese.
Part 2: Choices (April 18). For all the remarkable high-tech tools available to medicine, for all the billions of dollars in drug research, there’s still no highly effective medication to prevent or reverse obesity – why?
Part 3: Children in Crisis (April 25). Some experts fear this may be the first generation of American children who will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
Part 4: Challenges (April 25). The final film of the series examines the origins and severity of the obesity epidemic, examines its major driving forces and looks at opportunities for communities to fight back.
May 2: In Organic We Trust – Put the Power in the Hands of the Individual
In Organic We Trust is an eye-opening food documentary that follows Director/Producer Kip Pastor on a personal journey to answer commonly asked questions about organic food: What exactly is organic? Is it really better, or just a marketing scam?
The film digs deep with farmers, organic certifiers, scientists, and organic critics to explore the content beneath the label and the truth behind the marketing. It takes a balanced approach to clear up misconceptions about organic food while highlighting practical solutions that are transforming the way we grow and eat.
Along the way, Kip learns that what began as a grassroots movement of small-scale farmers has turned into a $30 billion industry. Small, diversified organic farms have been replaced by large corporate operations and the “certified organic” label has become a marketing tool. The film reveals that in spite of the corporatization of organic, the original grassroots philosophy is making a comeback in many innovative forms.
Realizing that organic is not the all-encompassing solution to our health and environmental problems, Kip travels all over the country to unearth inspiring stories of local family farmers dedicated to stewardship of the land, a thriving “locavore” subculture centered on farmer’s markets, chefs feeding children healthy school meals, and urban and school gardens sprouting up to bring fresh food to low-income communities.
May 9: Hungry for Change – Your Health is in Your Hands
We all want more energy, an ideal body and beautiful younger looking skin. So what is stopping us from getting this?
Hungry for Change exposes shocking secrets the diet, weight-loss and food industry don’t want you to know about; deceptive strategies designed to keep you coming back for more. Find out what’s keeping you from having the body and health you deserve and how to escape the diet trap forever.
The film features interviews with best-selling health authors and leading medical experts plus real life transformational stories with those who know what it’s like to be sick and overweight. Learn from those who have been there before and continue your health journey today.
May 16: Food Matters – Let thy Food be thy Medicine
Let thy Food be thy Medicine and thy Medicine be thy Food – Hippocrates. That is the message from the founding father of modern medicine echoed in the controversial new documentary film Food Matters from Producer-Directors James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch.
With nutritionally depleted foods, chemical additives and our tendency to rely upon pharmaceutical drugs to treat what’s wrong with our malnourished bodies, it’s no wonder that modern society is getting sicker.
Food Matters sets about uncovering the trillion dollar worldwide sickness industry and gives people some scientifically verifiable solutions for overcoming illness naturally.
In what promises to be the most contentious idea put forward, the filmmakers have interviewed several leading experts in nutrition and natural healing who claim that not only are we harming our bodies with improper nutrition, but that the right kind of foods, supplements and detoxification can be used to treat chronic illnesses as fatal as terminally diagnosed cancer.
The focus of the film is in helping us rethink the belief systems fed to us by our modern medical and health care establishments. The interviewees point out that not every problem requires costly, major medical attention and reveal many alternative therapies that can be more effective, more economical, less harmful and less invasive than conventional medical treatments.
May 23: FAT, SICK, & NEARLY DEAD – Reboot Your Life
100 pounds overweight, loaded up on steroids and suffering from a debilitating autoimmune disease, Joe Cross is at the end of his rope and the end of his hope. In the mirror he saw a 310 lb. man whose gut was bigger than a beach ball and a path laid out before him that wouldn’t end well— with one foot already in the grave, the other wasn’t far behind. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is an inspiring film that chronicles Joe’s personal mission to regain his health.
With doctors and conventional medicines unable to help long- term, Joe turns to the only option left, the body’s ability to heal itself. He trades in the junk food and hits the road with juicer and generator in tow, vowing only to drink fresh fruit and vegetable juice for the next 60 days. Across 3,000 miles Joe has one goal in mind: To get off his pills and achieve a balanced lifestyle.
While talking to more than 500 Americans about food, health and longevity, it’s at a truck stop in Arizona where Joe meets a truck driver who suffers from the same rare condition. Phil Staples is morbidly obese weighing in at 429 lbs.; a cheeseburger away from a heart attack. As Joe is recovering his health, Phil begins his own epic journey to get well.
What emerges is nothing short of amazing – an inspiring tale of healing and human connection. Part road trip, part self-help manifesto, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead defies the traditional documentary format to present an unconventional and uplifting story of two men from different worlds who each realize that the only person who can save them is themselves.
May 30: The Future of Food – Our Lives, Our Food
There is a revolution happening in the farm fields and on the dinner tables of America – a revolution that is transforming the very nature of the food we eat.
The Future of Food offers an in-depth investigation into the disturbing truth behind the unlabeled, patented, genetically engineered foods that have quietly filled U.S. grocery store shelves for the past decade.
From the prairies of Saskatchewan, Canada to the fields of Oaxaca, Mexico, this film gives a voice to farmers whose lives and livelihoods have been negatively impacted by this new technology. The health implications, government policies and push towards globalization are all part of the reason why many people are alarmed by the introduction of genetically altered crops into our food supply.
Shot on location in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, The Future of Food examines the complex web of market and political forces that are changing what we eat as huge multinational corporations seek to control the world’s food system. The film also explores alternatives to large-scale industrial agriculture, placing organic and sustainable agriculture as real solutions to the farm crisis today.
June 6: The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990, Cuba’s economy went into a tailspin. With imports of oil cut by more than half – and food by 80 percent – people were desperate. This film tells of the hardships and struggles as well as the community and creativity of the Cuban people during this difficult time.
Cubans share how they transitioned from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens. It is an unusual look into the Cuban culture during this economic crisis, which they call “The Special Period.”
The film opens with a short history of Peak Oil, a term for the time in our history when world oil production will reach its all-time peak and begin to decline forever. Cuba, the only country that has faced such a crisis – the massive reduction of fossil fuels – is an example of options and hope.