Academy Award-nominated director discusses film in Funger Hall

This post was written by Hatchet Staff Writer Michelle Brown

Filmmaker Robert Kenner, the director and producer of “Food Inc.” – an Academy Award nominated documentary – warned a packed house in Funger Hall of the “high cost of low-cost food,” and the negative aspects of the American food industry at an event Wednesday night.

“Food Inc.” has met critical acclaim from audiences around the world, and about two-thirds of the audience Wednesday night in Funger said they had already seen the film.

“I’m a filmmaker, I’m not a social activist,” said Kenner, who screened clips of the film and spoke about the politics and economics of the American food industry, illustrating the process of how food gets from the farm to supermarkets across the country.

Robert Kenner discusses his Academy Award nominated documentary "Food Inc." at an event Wednesday night in Funger Hall. Zachary Krahmer/Hatchet Photographer

“I want people to think about what they are eating, and I believe they have a right to know about the food [they are eating],” said Kenner, who cited the dangers of diabetes and heart disease from the poor food choices Americans make, adding that the younger generations of Americans will not live as long as their parents’ generation because of the food they eat.

The movie – which features interviews from activists, farmers, and top authors and investigators on the front of the crusade to better the American food industry – also features a segment with Walmart executives, who contacted Kenner about being in the film. Aside from Walmart, other large food companies made themselves inaccessible, Kenner said.

Kenner spoke of the disproportionate ratio of fast-food chains to supermarkets, especially in inner-city and rural areas, but added that the power of the consumer, is a force in today’s markets, and will definitely play a huge role in the future of the way we buy our food.

“People want to talk about this,” said Kenner, whose publicity for the film, especially an appearance on Oprah, has raised great awareness for the issue.

The second segment of the evening was a question and answer session, facilitated by Meghan Chapple-Brown, the director of the Office of Sustainability.

Senior Dhara Shah said the presentation encouraged her to see the film. She said that Kenner’s role as a filmmaker rather than an activist made the presentation more enlightening and less forcing the audience to share his views.

“People can vote three times a day – for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Kenner concluded, as he called the audience to seek change in their own communities. “We will be able to change this system, with the power of this movement.”

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