Lights! Camera! Action!
This month we're excited to kick off the online Do Something Reel™ Film Festival, a collection of provocative, character-driven films that focus on food, environmental issues and everyday people with a vision of making a world of difference.
For the first time these documentaries will be available to purchase and stream online for a limited time on the festival’s website.
Do Something Reel is a celebration of people who understand that small ideas can create big change. The festival is great opportunity to connect with the food and environmental issues these films address and to recognize the power of your dollar and your choices.
Hopefully you'll be inspired to do something real in your own way.
The festival opens on Earth Day (April 22), with a live screening of The Apple Pushers, followed by a live panel discussion in Austin. Theaters in Boston, Detroit, Pittsburgh and San Francisco will host simultaneous screenings and will stream the panel discussion.
(Do you live in one of these cities? Get screening details and purchase tickets online or contact your local store for more information.) The panel discussion will also be streamed to online viewers for free . The Apple Pushers can be viewed online April 22-30. After the initial kickoff, a new film will be launched online on the first of each month. Prices vary by film, with proceeds helping to fund two $25,000 AFI Silverdocs grants for filmmakers in the green genre.
There is one viewing per purchase. The films slated through August are:
The Apple Pushers – Narrated by Academy Award nominee Edward Norton, the film follows five immigrant streetcart vendors who are offering fruits and vegetables in New York City neighborhoods where fresh produce isn’t widely available. The film chronicles these vendors’ participation in a unique urban experiment called The NYC Green Cart Initiative and sheds new light on the nation’s food crisis and skyrocketing obesity rates.
See a preview here. (Available April 22-30)
Watershed – Directed by Mark Decena, executive produced by Robert Redford and produced by his son, James Redford, the film follows Rocky Mountain National Park fly fishing guide Jeff Ehlert and six others living and working in the Colorado River basin.
The film illustrates the river’s struggle to support thirty million people across the western US and Mexico as the peacekeeping agreement known as the Colorado River Pact is reaching its limits. (Available May 1)
Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? – A profound, alternative look at the bee crisis from Taggart Siegel, award-winning director of The Real Dirt on Farmer John. On a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive, the film weaves together a story of the heartfelt struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world and uncovers the long-term causes that could create one of our most urgent food crises. (Available June 1)
Ian Cheney Retrospective: The Greening of Southie and Truck Farm – Each of the films Cheney has created or co-created spotlights an important environmental or food issue, from mobile gardens to the subsidized crops fueling our fast-food nation. Cheney was last year’s Whole Foods Market and AFI-Silverdocs grant recipient for his new work-in-progress, Bluespace. (Available July 1)
Lunch Line – Co-directed by Ernie Park and Michael Graziano, this film offers a fresh perspective on the politics of food and child nutrition through an examination of the surprising past, uncertain present and possible future of the National School Lunch Program. The film reframes the school lunch debate through archival footage, expert interviews and the uplifting story of six kids from one of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago who set out to fix school lunches — and end up at the White House. (Available August 1)
Additional video, behind-the-scenes talks with filmmakers and other materials are available at no cost.
Have any of these films or other consciousness-raising documentaries already served as a wake-up call for you to make a difference in your corner of the world? We’d love to hear about it.