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The New Food Docs Are Coming!

March 12th, 2011 · 3 Comments · Posted in food news

Silver Spring farmer Charlie Koiner in "Corner Plot"

The D.C. Environmental Film Festival always presents a mind-boggling area of great documentaries. Here’s a schedule of up-coming screenings directly related to food and agriculture.

March 17

7:00 p.m.

Maret School

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, Wine

Welcome by Kathy Sweeney-Hammond, Academic Affairs Director, Maret School. Introduced by Andrea Meditch, Chair of Development Committee, Maret School.

Portrait of a WineMaker: John WIlliams of Frog’s Leap (USA, 2010, 15 min.) Washington, D.C. Premiere John Williams opens his farm in Rutherford, California, where winemaking is intimately linked to soil. The deep connection between healthy soils, healthy plants, a wide variety of nutrients and the intensity of flavor is explored in this intimate portrait film, along with the different methods used in organic and more traditional winemaking. Written, produced and directed by Deborah Koons Garcia.

Corner Plot (USA, 2010, 10 min.) Amid the tangle of commuter traffic, shopping malls and office buildings that define life inside the Capital Beltway rests a one-acre piece of farmland under the care of 89-year-old Charlie Koiner. With the help of his only daughter, Charlie continues to work his land, share his produce and enjoy the farm life he’s always known. Corner Plot explores one man’s steadfast authenticity in a changing world. Directed by Ian Cook and Andre Dahlman.

Out to pasture: The Future of Farming? (USA, 2010, 35 min.) Washington, D.C. Premiere Almost all of the animals we eat in this country are raised in so-called “confinement” operations – indoor facilities that house thousands of chickens, cows or hogs. Considering that humans have raised domesticated animals for thousands of years, this style of production is a new experiment. There are rising concerns about the impact of industrial farming on our health, the environment, local communities and the welfare of the animals. This is the story of farmers who raise animals outdoors, in diversified operations. Some would call them backward, but these farmers believe they are on the cutting edge of animal agriculture. The film focuses on industrial animal food operations and several alternative animal-farming systems, looking at chicken farms in the Eastern Shore of Maryland, dairy farms in northern Pennsylvania and hog farms in central North Carolina. Directed by Allen Moore. Produced by the Center for a Livable Future and the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Discussion with filmmaker Allen Moore and his student film crew follows screening.

FREE. No reservations required.

Maret School, 3000 Cathedral Ave., NW (Metro: Woodley Park-Zoo/ Adams Morgan, Connecticut Ave. exit. Red line) (Metrobuses: 96, X3, L1, L2, L4)


March 24

6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Carnegie Institution for Science

Food Choices and Sources

6:30 p.m.

Truck Farm (USA, 2010, 47 min.) Washington, D.C. Premiere Filmmakers Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis brilliantly devised a mobile garden they call a truck farm and, since their initial planting, the movable Brooklyn farm has been very busy. The film uses the story of this mobile farm to expand to a much larger story about urban agriculture, determined young farmers and the challenge of growing food when there is no land available. Written by Ian Cheney and Simon Beins. Directed by Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis.

Discussion with filmmaker Simon Beins follows screening.

7:30 p.m.

PlanEat (United Kingdom, 2010, 74 min.) Washington, D.C. Premiere Tells the story of the scientists, farmers and chefs tackling one of the greatest problems of our age, the West’s love affair with meat and dairy. Through an extraordinary personal and mouthwatering culinary journey, we discover why it’s bad for our health, the environment, and our planet’s future. The film features the ground-breaking work of Cornell Professor Emeritus T. Colin Campbell in China exploring the link between diet and disease, Caldwell Esselstyn Jr.’s use of diet to treat heart disease patients and Professor Gidon Eshel’s investigations into how to feed an ever-burgeoning population in the midst of global warming. With the help of some innovative chefs and farmers, we are shown how the problems we face today can be solved, without simply resorting to a diet of lentils and lettuce leaves. Directed by Shelley Lee Davies and Or Shlomi. Produced by Christopher Hird.

Discussion with filmmaker Shelley Lee Davies and Colin Campbell, author of “The China Study” and Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry, Cornell University, follows screening.

FREE. No reservations required.

Carnegie Institution for Science, Elihu Root Auditorium, 1530 P St., NW (Metro: Dupont Circle, 19th St. exit. Red line) (Metrobuses: S1, S2, S4, S9, G2)


March 17

12:00 noon

National Portrait Gallery

HENRY A. WALLACE: AN UNCOMMON MAN (USA, 2011, 57 min.) World Premiere A brilliant farmer, scientist, writer and public servant whose views on race, poverty and peace put him far ahead of his time is profiled in this portrait film. Born into a family of prominent Iowa farmers, Henry Wallace founded the world’s first hybrid seed company, Pioneer, that catalyzed the 20th-century’s “Green Revolution” in agriculture. Wallace also served as Agriculture Secretary and Vice President under President Franklin D. Roosevelt during some of the most difficult times in American history: the Great Depression and World War II. Few people know that Wallace was the overwhelming choice of delegates to the 1944 Democratic National Convention to once again be FDR’s Vice President. But party bosses, encouraged by Southern conservatives, made sure that didn’t happen. Directed by Joan D. Murray. Produced by Sandy Cannon-Brown.

Introduced by David C. Ward, Historian, National Portrait Gallery.

FREE. No reservations required.

National Portrait Gallery, Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium, Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, Eighth & F Sts., NW
(Metro: Gallery Place/ Chinatown, 9th & G Sts. exit. Yellow, Green and Red lines)
(Metrobuses: 42, Circulator)

March 24

6:30 p.m.


Presented by the Japan Information and Culture Center

School days with a pig (Japan, 2008, 106 min.) Washington, D.C. Premiere A new elementary school teacher who wants his students to learn “the real connection between life and food” has a proposal for his sixth-grade class: they will adopt a piglet and care for it over the course of a year, but at the end of the year, the pig will be eaten. The students eagerly accept the challenge. After all, the end of the year is a long way away and the wriggling piglet is right there in the classroom. They name it “P-Chan,” build a special enclosure on the playground and take turns with the chores of brushing and feeding it. But the more attached they grow to P-Chan, the more difficult the question of the pig’s fate becomes. Based on a true story that became a subject of national controversy in Japan, School Days With a Pig is a thoughtful and warmhearted engagement with the adult issues of consumption, quality of life and personal responsibility as seen through the eyes of children. (—Seattle International Film Festival) In Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Tetsu Maeda. Produced by Toshihiro Isomi.

Introduced by the Director, Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan.

FREE. No reservations required.

Goethe-Institut Washington, 812 Seventh St., NW (Metro: Gallery Place/ Chinatown, 7th & H Sts. exit. Yellow, Orange and Green lines) (Metrobuses: 80, P6, X2, 42, G8, Circulator, 70)


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  • MrsWheelbarrow

    Great round up. Thank you for putting so many tasty options on our calendar. I had the opportunity to view Corner Plot last year – a moving, charming, delicious piece of local history that made me yearn to get closer, ever closer, to my own food production.

  • Scott McLendon

    Ed- How and when can those of us on the west coast see these films?

  • Ed Bruske

    No idea, Scott. These are live screenings, not on the web. You might try looking at the websites for the individual films to see what they offer. In other words, Google them.