For the most part in the cinematic world, the presentation of hard-hitting and impactful truths about pressing global issues has been restricted to the world of documentary filmmaking. Films such as Food Inc., Inside Job, Thrive, and Cowspiracy are a few which immediately come to mind when listing off documentaries that have and continue to make their mark on the planet.
But why does sharing content of this nature seem to be restricted to documentarians? Given how impactful a medium film is, would it not make more sense for more Hollywood-style feature films to embrace it as well? Thankfully, we seem to be moving in that direction, and I am happy to share with you all a mainstream feature film that is paving the way.
The film is titled Consumed, and it follows the story of a mother’s investigation into her son’s mysterious illness, a search that quickly leads her to the world of genetically modified foods. GMOs are a recurring theme here at Collective Evolution, as over 175 articles have been written by our team to date, all designed to shed light on this pressing global matter.
As the film eloquently reminds us, currently GMOs are found in over 80% of processed foods in the United States. Their dangers are so well-recognized in other parts of the world that Russia has even banned all GMO food products in an effort to protect its citizens. It’s time for North America to follow suit, and the success of this film will hopefully bring us even closer to a world where, at the very least, labelling is mandatory.
Check out the trailer for Consumed, starring Zoe Lister-Jones, Victor Garber, Danny Glover, and Beth Grant:
We at CE were given the opportunity to interview the star of the film, Zoe Lister-Jones, to ask her some questions relating to both the film and genetic modification more broadly. In addition to starring in the movie, Zoe also helped to write and produce it. Here is the interview:
What initially inspired you and your team to want to put together a film that shed some light on the truths behind GMOs?
Zoe: Well we began learning about GMOs a little over seven years ago, and were fascinated by the subject. The fact that GMOs were so pervasive, in 80% of processed foods in this country, and so few people were talking about them, immediately peaked our interest. In our initial research, we were confronted with so much conflicting information, and what we learned to be misinformation, that we felt an obligation to try and make sense of a very confounding issue, and one that was impacting us all.
Was any of the script inspired by a true story or any first-hand experience with the subject matter shared?
Zoe: The script is very much based in real world issues but there is no one story it is based on. It is very much a composite of stories we encountered in our years of research.
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As part of the creative process towards bringing this film to life, were you in contact with any GMO industry reps that were willing to speak on some of the truths? Or was it primarily based in private research?
Zoe: As you may be aware, the GMO Industry has very standard talking points that unfortunately fail to address the concerns associated with GMOs. I wish there was a representative within the GMO Industry that would be brave enough to speak to those concerns, but that hasn’t been the case as of yet. We were fortunate enough to speak to many leaders in the food and environmental safety movement, who vetted the script to make sure that we were credible in our representation of this world.
As one of the writers and producers of this film, was it challenging and/or fear inducing to put together this content knowing that it would expose a controversial issue?
Zoe: I don’t think either Daryl or I realized quite how divisive this issue was when we first embarked on the project. I think once we got further along, it became overwhelmingly clear just how controversial it was, and how intense the blowback could be. We were careful in making the film to not paint it as too black and white for that reason. So that the audience can walk away asking questions more than having answers.
Subject matter like this tends to be primarily found in documentary filmmaking. Do you feel that it is important for more traditional feature films to embrace thought-provoking subject matter that impacts us all? If so, why?
Zoe: I do. I think documentaries are incredibly important but their audiences can be limited. For us, we really wanted to spark a conversation among the broadest audience possible. Generally speaking, I think narratives these days tend to shy away from socially relevant issues, so we wanted to harken back to political thrillers of yore that really put the issues at the forefront.
Although the film certainly offered many, what is the one key takeaway that you are hoping viewers take from watching this film?
I think the biggest issue in this country at the moment is labeling. The safety questions around GMOs are nearly impenetrable because of FDA regulatory loopholes, but we as consumers have an opportunity to at least demand transparency from food manufacturers so we have a choice in what we feed ourselves and our families. 64 countries around the world label GMOs, but the United States does not. So the biggest question for viewers to walk away with is… Why?
Having watched the film, I personally believe that it does a wonderful job of tackling a major global issue while effectively maintaining the entertainment value one would expect from a major Hollywood motion picture. No matter how familiar you are with the GMO debate, I encourage you to watch and support the film. Standing behind content such as this establishes a wonderful foundation for more films to successfully follow suit.
To purchase your copy of the film, arrange your own screening, or access even more information, click on the following image:
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