InGREEDients Film on Transfats, Garners Many Awards, Opens Many Doors
A new food documentary, InGREEDients was among the films previewed by attendees of Wise Traditions 2009 in Chicago last month. I got a chance to interview one of the producers, David Burton, and here is the scoop.
Producer of the film David Burton is a professional registered nurse. Film making is his hobby, he always loves shooting family videos, which led to making backyard films at his home in Connecticut. Local businesses began to hire him and his friends to make short film documentaries for their marketing and promotion campaigns. At this point, he realized, he could make a go of a film making career.
A mutual friend introduced him to J. Wenzel on a hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail. A successful sales management professional, J. dreamed of being a film producer someday. When he heard of David’s success as a self taught filmmaker, he realized that even without formal training, he too, could make movies.
David and his wife moved to FL, yet he and J. were still batting around ideas of what sort of film they could do together. David had noticed on their hiking adventure, that J. seemed to be avoiding hydrogenated oils. On their trip J. had complained of having brought a trailmix bar that had hydrogenated oil in it. He refused to eat it. And, when J. came to visit him in Florida, they went to a restaurant and David noticed Jay was grilling a waitress about what kind of oil they used in the kitchen. David, said, “What is it with you and the hydrogenated oil?”
Then it hit him. “We should do a movie about this, you are obviously passionate about it,” David exclaimed. They left the restaurant and started researching hydrogenated oils on the internet. They found a website, dldewey.com with tons of information about the dangers of trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils. Author and Syndicated Columnist David Lawrence Dewey first warned consumers in his column in 1996 of the dangers of partially hydrogenated oils. Over the years he has updated and added the latest research to Hydrogenated Oils–Silent Killers.
Spurred on by what they discovered, and even though J. lived in Connecticut and David lived in Florida, they plunged headlong into the film project. David said he knew the long distance partnership would work, because he admired J.’s work ethic. Dewey became the content, creative and journalistic consultant for the film.
The Guys Dig Up Over a Dozen Dirty Ingredients
As they dug for more information on Dewey’s website, they started finding out about all kinds of other terrible ingredients, they became alarmed about other chemical additives such as MSG, corn syrup, aspartame, bleached wheat flour. They also unearthed a hidden form of trans fats, by doing a patent search they found out that manufacturers of mono-diglycerides, start with partially hydrogenated oil.
Their first version of the film covered the dangers of fifteen chemical additives in our food supply. When they did a test screening with an audience, they realized that people just couldn’t handle the news of how bad our processed food has become. David described to me how the audience got fidgety, their eyes seemed to glaze over, they seemed restless and upset. He knew that they had overwhelmed them with too much bad news at one time.
He and J. went through, as David describes, “a process of discovery.” They looked at their footage again and asked each other, “What movie do we really have here?”
David and J. realized that the overarching message in their raw film footage was, “Fat isn’t bad. Quit being scared of fat. Fat phobia is the problem.”
They decided to narrow the focus of the film to hit hard on the trans fat issue. The other chemical additives landed on the cutting room floor (perhaps a sequel is still to come).
The men interviewed a number of experts, including notable lipids researcher, Mary Enig, who is on the board of the Weston A. Price Foundation. She is a pioneer in fats research and was one of the first to sound the alarm about the dangers of hydrogenated oils.
Here’s the film’s powerful trailer (I told David after seeing this that he should go into the trailer making biz!):
Connecting the Pixels Between Food and Health
Because of David’s background in nursing, the film has a 15 minute segment devoted to the scientific evidence of health consequences of trans fats. Heart disease, diabetes, obesity and how these conditions are directly correlated with eating trans fats, the movie also has a brief layman’s description of a heart attack, and explains the diabetes disease process.
The 60 minute film’s biggest fans are David’s fellow nurses, who think the movie will get a very timely health message to the general public.
Film Sparks Student Curiosity, Teachable Moments About Trans Fats
When they were shooting the film, a group of New York City students had contacted them about their class project on trans fats. David and J. were excited about the students researching the same subject that so intrigued them, and tried to arrange to shoot footage in the classroom. The school system denied them access, claiming, “you are exploiting our students for your profit.” Disappointed, the filmmakers and students came up with a plan to work around this closed door. They decided to meet during a school holiday. They met on a blustery, snowy day in a college classroom and 60 students showed up. They were able to film the students sharing about their own research into the dangers of manufactured fats, which he thinks is one of the highlights of the film.
David told me that the best thing the movie has done for him was to get him into the classroom with students. Now that the film is done, teachers in his local area are inviting him into their classrooms. He said, to think at one point I was forbidden to go into the schools, and now they are eager to have me come!” In his talks with school age children, David tries to impress upon them that diet and health are correlated. David cautions young people, “Everything you put into your mouth will affect your health later.”
He leaves them with a screening copy of the film, and the teachers show the movie after he has met with them and piqued their interest. He has gotten many cards and letters from the classes after they have seen the film. The students and teachers are so grateful to learn the truth!
Special Discount for Blog Readers!
David is offering Realfoodmedia.com blog readers and Weston A. Price fans a special deal for the holiday season, purchase one DVD for $20.00 and get a second copy for free, just go to the official InGREEDients film website. Just put WAPF in the customer ID box to get the 2 for 1 deal!
David and J. have won numerous awards already, and now a producers representative is scouting distributors for them. Meanwhile, they are selling the movie online and making screening copies available to interested groups.
Honolulu International Film Festival Gold Kahuna Award general award for excellence in film making.
Florida Choice Award from the Independent Film Festival of Tampa (IFF)
International Film Festival Official Selection Naples Film Festival Gaspirilla Film Festival (largest one in Tampa)
The Indie Award
To learn more about David and J., here are the filmmakers bios: