On February 16, 2010, buried in a foot of snow, Countryside Conservancy hosted our first ever film screening. It was free admission with free food and door prizes. We held it at the grand Akron Main Library Auditorium…and 12 people came. This was a big disappointment for me. I thought we had picked a great movie, a decent time and time of year, and a beautiful venue. What happened?
As I continued on my hour long commute home, I wondered where I went wrong; not enough advertising, the weather stunk, people are busy, foods not sexy and sex sells, nobody cares about what they eat anyway, movies aren’t a good way to enlighten the masses…
All of these excuses went through my head and then I realized that we, Americans, spend a lot of time and money at the movies. In fact, according to the Motion Picture Association of America, 172 million people went to the movies in 2007 and Avatar – sci-fi thriller has already grossed $429 million in domestic ticket sales. Why couldn’t I get 72 people at our showing of What’s On Your Plate and $42 dollars in donations?
Hypothesis #1: Food is boring. We want to eat it, and some of us want to grow it, but we don’t want entertained by it. I did a search of the top 10 food movies and according the Cleveland restaurant professional and fellow blog-ster Monsieur Anton “…you should leave the theater so inspired that you want to either sprint straight to a great restaurant or to the kitchen.” He goes onto say in his blog about the top 10 best food movies that, “…no documentary has inspired me this way, I’ve excluded them from the list…”. So removing the type of movies we are showing in our “don’t buy food from strangers” film series, amongst the top ten are: Big Night, Julie & Julia, and Ratatouille.
Hypothesis #2: Food cannot compete with vampires. The majority of movie goers want to witness a man biting into the flesh of a young virgin, not the flesh of a juicy, ripe tomato (or a bowl of cereal).
Hypothesis #3: Food movies hurt the human brain; watching a film that teaches a lesson, or is enlightening to issues that face our country is just too painful. When I watch a movie I want to be entertained and escape to that portion of my brain that is blank. If I watch a movie about food, what’s on my plate, food policies, or changing my diet, I might feel guilty, obliged to change my ways, or talk to my friends and neighbors…uugghh!
- Get as many people as possible to the March 16 showing of “Eating Alaska” and to the April 27th showing of “Asparagus! stalking the American life”. Visit www.cvcountryside.or for more details, by the way.
- Interview attendees and ask three simple questions: Is food boring, can food compete with vampires, and do food movies hurt your brain? TAKE OUR POLLS!
See results in our Summer edition e-news, and stay tuned to our blog!