Food On Film – Assignment 3 (Blog Post 1)

Experimenting with time-lapse outside RMIT. This might have a place in our documentary film.

Hello Food On Film! ^_^

My interest in this studio stems from my love of true crime and food related documentaries. The notion of crafting documentary very much intrigues me, because like Broderick Fox suggests in his work, ‘Reimagining Documentary’ (2017), we as members of the digital age, the period of unbarred access to media creation technologies and distribution platforms, “[should] never take for granted our privilege and responsibility as media producers”, (pg. 4) to create such work.

The food issue I most want to look at is the production of food through animal agriculture, and the inhumane treatment of these animals during intensive factory farming practices. A step further, I question what drives someone to adopt a vegan diet, and thus in this quest must acknowledge the heads of power that directly profit from the torture and slaughter of livestock, and from the economic pressures placed on people who rely financially on these brutal events to continue. Intertwined, lay the concepts of environmental degradation, health, cognitive dissonance, speciesism, and the core beliefs we hold about what is right and wrong. I consider the idea that activism is possible through our everyday food choices by using our purchasing power to influence actions within slaughterhouses, abattoirs, and meat/egg/dairy factories. After all, according to ‘Cowspiracy’ (Andersen & Kuhn 2014), transitioning to a fully vegan diet would save an average of “1100 gallons of water, 45 lbs of grain, 30 sq.ft forest, 10lbs of C02 and 1 animal’s life” per daySure, I’m probably biased about this topic because I’m vegan, but maintaining my identity in this work is important to me.

This semester I’d like to walk away with a completed film that addresses the prior concerns I mentioned. I’d like to personally challenge myself to remain open-minded to other film ideas should they be more interesting to explore. From the group of people that I will work with, I would be happy to see a strong work ethic, and the same kind of curiosity and passion that I have for making a documentary.

However, some things still plague me. As much as I intend my work to be carefully researched and presented, I would still like it to be ‘beautiful’ and ‘artistic’ in nature, through abstract representations of fact, and the manipulation of framing, colour, and vibrancy. Would it be wrong for me to focus on the aesthetic qualities of my work when perhaps, I should be thinking how to best depict the difficult circumstances of disenfranchised minorities, and the pain of a story gone untold? In my endeavour to present harsh, gruesome realities, how do I make a beautiful film? This is a concern I hope to answer by the end of my time in this studio. I’m so excited! 😀

Voiceless (2015) Something I wrote almost four years ago after witnessing pigs moved to a Melbourne abattoir. I felt so disturbed by the image, that I wished I could be like the people who told me that I shouldn’t care or question it. It’s this feeling of discomfort that drives me to investigate and explore the topic through documentary.


Reference List:

Andersen, K, & Kuhn, K 2014, Cowspiracy: the sustainability secret, A.U.M. Films & Media, & First Spark Media.
Fox, B 2017, ‘Reimagining Documentary’ in, Documentary Media: History, Theory, Practice, 2nd edn, Routledge, Milton, pp. 1-26. 

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