Food On Film – Assignment 3 (Blog Post 12)

The aim of our documentary film was to show people that activists are not always who we expect them to be. In thinking this way, you too have the potential to be an activist for animal rights, or a health advocate, or a vocal environmentalist. I respect protests and marches about veganism because this kind of activity is what made me open my eyes and mind to it in the first place. When the vegan protests outside Flinders St Station happened, I was excited. My enthusiasm was not shared by the people who saw this protest and thought that all those involved were deserving of death threats, and other things of that sort. Giving a voice to Jan, someone who partook in this protest, is the same as amplifying the voices of those who people choose to ridicule without further consideration. My approach to everything I hear is now ‘listen first’ and then ‘judge’ based on scientific facts and gut feelings. Do not merely accept what the biased media presents to you. My documentary encourages this thinking. Place yourselves in the opposing side’s shoes and that is empathy. 

To outline the successful elements of my film is a difficult process for me because I still have the mindset of never being proud of what I create. I think we struck gold with interviewing Jan because she is so comfortable speaking on camera. After talking with my peers in class, some of whom were not as lucky, I realise this is an advantage of our film. I think our interview audio is pretty good too!

Next time, I would use more suitable equipment – a lapel mic and a camera we are comfortable using. It’s also been interesting for me to relinquish total control and let Zhen have full access to our edit while I do not. While this meant I didn’t spend hours and hours of my days editing non-stop, and learning to accept things as they were, it also meant that I did not have as much influence over creative decisions as I would have preferred. There’s only so many times I can make suggestions in the edit room before I become a total nagger. That’s the test of team work. However, next time I would much prefer to keep the copy of the edit myself. In hindsight, we should have also considered the huge role that social media plays in activism in this modern age. It’s so obvious now that I think about it, because vegan documentaries usually feature a website link to encourage further independent research.

I’ve always considered veganism a topic that’s far more philosophical than just about food. But diet plays such an important role in this understanding, that I have learnt to consider the practicalities of adopting the lifestyle as well. In my perfect world, everybody is vegan by choice. The animals currently being bred for food, research or entertainment are homed in sanctuaries. The new animal populations roam wild or otherwise in harmony with human existence. It’s incredibly naive, but I have always felt that I am compromising by expecting the people around me to consider veganism. But it really is expecting too much. I met Jan and upon hearing her stories, and her struggles in feeling alienated from people who are not vegan, I realise that in my lifetime I will not be able to limit my meaningful interactions to solely people who share my perspectives — or at the very least, are willing to listen. That’s something I should have learnt a long time ago.

I loved the Food On Film studio so much because I got to make new friends and put my technical competency to the test. I was able to surpass the limits my social anxiety places on my ability to interact with others, and actually interviewed a stranger for longer than forty minutes (which I hadn’t done before). I’m glad I chose this studio, and give my thanks to Kim, my classmates, and Zhen & Helena for making it such a memorable one.

mele host (2019). Vegan Militants Block Melbourne Streets. Seven + Nine News. [online] YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axMTrm0isOs&t=1s [Accessed 25 May. 2019].

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