Bite-Sized Films, Big Ideas: Our Real Food Media Contest

So much of the media we see today about food is massaged by the hands of high-paid PR professionals who sweat over the arrangement of sesame seeds on hamburger buns—not over trying to capture the real stories of our food.

So much of the media we see today about food is massaged by the hands of high-paid PR professionals who sweat over the arrangement of sesame seeds on hamburger buns—not over trying to capture the real stories of our food.

We're launching the Real Food Media Contest to change all that: to solicit captivating short films about food and farming made by real people about real stories. This first-ever national film contest will ask aspiring movie-makers—from film school students to production house start-ups—to tackle big questions about our food.

The 30-second to four-minute-long films can be created in a range of genres: We're seeking documentary-style movies on themes like food heroes making a difference in communities around the country. Advocacy movies speaking out against antibiotic abuse on factory farms or marketing junk to kids. We're looking for experimental films to bring to life the idea of “the hands that feed us.” And more.

This is where you come in. We need talented filmmakers, creators, and food activists to produce compelling content for the contest. What do you get? The chance to earn big cash prizes, distribution opportunities, and good kharma. (Hey, we might even throw in a meal at your favorite sustainable foods eatery).


Look, I don't need to tell you how powerful films are. We all have that movie that moved us to think differently, to stand up for something we believe in, to imagine walking in someone else’s shoes however uncomfortable be. But despite a plethora of documentaries about food, TV shows about celebrity chefs, most of us are left hungry for creative stories about real food.

Try your hand at the contest, knowing that you'll be getting your work in front of some of the leading innovators at the cross-section of food and media, from Food Network star Padma Lakshmi to journalist Michael Pollan and Sundance Institute head Keri Putnam. The deadline is February 3, 2014.

You might even find a new way to tell that story of the burger, sesame seeds on the bun at all—not because you're trying to sell us on it, but because you're telling but you'd be doing it not because you're a hired hack, but because that's what you're passionate about.

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

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RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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