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Whole Foods Market is taking its annual Do Something Reel Film Festival online this year so more people will have the opportunity to view the films.
The film festival is an ongoing collection of provocative films about food and environmental issues that can be purchased online at www.dosomethingreel.com and streamed for a limited time.
"Taking this year's Do Something Reel Film Festival online provides an opportunity for audiences everywhere to connect with the films and their thought-provoking issues," said Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. "Such connection and exploration can be the starting place for real change; it helps us all think about how our everyday decisions and purchasing power can make a difference."
Beginning in April, Whole Foods will stream a different film each month with proceeds helping to fund the 2012 Whole Foods Market/AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Festival filmmaker grants.
The festival opens April 22, with a live screening of "The Apple Pushers," followed by a panel discussion with the film's writer and director, Mary Mazzio; executive producer, Laurie Tisch; and celebrity chef, food policy advocate and founder of Wholesome Wave, Michel Nischan. Debi Mazar, "Entourage" and Cooking Channel's "Extra Virgin" star, will host the discussion.
The event will take place at Alamo Drafthouse's Slaughter Lane Theater in Whole Foods’ hometown of Austin. Additionally, theaters in Boston, Detroit, Pittsburgh and San Francisco will host simultaneous screenings and will stream the panel discussion. The panel discussion will also be live streamed for free to online viewers. "The Apple Pushers" can be viewed online from April 22-30.
"The Apple Pushers," narrated by Academy Award nominee Edward Norton, and underwritten by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, follows five immigrant street-cart vendors who are offering fruits and vegetables in New York neighborhoods where fresh produce isn't widely available. The vendors, who take part in a unique urban experiment called The NYC Green Cart Initiative, personify what it means to be an American entrepreneur, and their stories shed new light on the nation's food crisis and skyrocketing obesity rates.
"The film chronicles first-generation immigrant micro-entrepreneurs who are infusing low income communities with fresh fruits and vegetables," said Mazzio. "Whole Foods Market's emphasis on providing access to healthy and nutritious foods makes them an ideal partner in helping us to expand the message of the film."
Each month the festival will showcase a different film online that will be available for purchase (prices will vary by film; one viewing per purchase). The films slated through August are:
- "Watershed" (May): 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 U.S. and Mexico as the peace-keeping agreement known as the Colorado River Pact is reaching its limits. (May)
- "Queen of the Sun (June): 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 heart-felt 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.
- Ian Cheney Retrospective (July): "King Corn" 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."
- "Lunch Line" (August): 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.
For the second time, the festival's proceeds will help fund two $25,000 AFI Silverdocs grants for filmmakers in the green genre. Applications are available at www.dosomethingreel.com from March 21 to May 4.
Whole Foods’ technology partner NowLive, a production and streaming solution for professional live and on-demand events such as red carpets, cast chats, concerts and original productions will power the live chat as well as the film releases online. The purchase process takes seconds, and featured films can be accessed through most web browsers, SmartTVs, phones and tablets.
Additional video, behind-the-scenes talks with filmmakers, suggested questions for home viewings and other materials will be available at no cost at www.dosomethingreel.com.
The festival is presented in association with Applegate Organic & Natural Meats, Earthbound Farm Organic and Siggi's Cultured Dairy Products. For additional information, a complete schedule of events, and details about the grant program, please visit www.dosomethingreel.com.