SIFF Week 4- Finding North

Country: USA

Year: 2012

Genre: Documentary, Social Issues, Hunger

Directors:  Kristi Jacobson, Lori Silverbush

Music: T Bone Burnett and The Civil Wars

This touching yet troubling documentary takes on the complex issue of hunger in America. Co-directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush meet with the working poor from coast to coast, including extended families and single parents facing the problem of food insecurity, which affects as many as 50 million people. Actor Jeff Bridges, who co-founded the End Hunger Network, believes it’s a problem that people are ashamed of acknowledging and has only gotten worse since the 1980s. Rose, a charismatic fifth grader from rural Colorado, says she gets so hungry that she feels nauseated. Fortunately, her church steps in to provide a weekly meal, but that’s one night out of seven. Tremonica, a Mississippi second grader, skips meals or eats junk food, which doesn’t bode well for her future. Ree, a Mississippi mother, has to drive 45 minutes just to buy vegetables, since stores in her remote location only carry canned goods. Sadly, poverty and obesity go hand in hand when processed foods cost less than fresh produce, due largely to farm subsidies to agribusiness. Jacobson and Silverbush also look at developmental disabilities, public assistance, and school lunches, while taking time to single out individuals making a positive impact in ways both big and small. (via

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this movie. It was a touching and shocking documentary about the hunger epidemic in our own back yard. I think it would be a good companion piece for the HBO documentary, “Weight of the Nation.” as well.  It was stated that one in four families go to food banks throughout the country.

I also loved the soundtrack by T. Bone Burnett and The Civil Wars, and plan on picking up one of their CD’s.  It was also great to see Jeff Bridges interviewed.

My only complaint and this was talked about during the Q&A is that they were planning on changing the title of the film. It’s still playing in movie festivals, and I’m wondering if they’re going to keep their word. The director thought the title was too “out there” for the topic that it was covering.

Grade: B



SIFF WEEK 3- The Revisonaries

Country: USA

Year 2012

Genre: Documentary, Politcal, Social, News

Director: Scott Thurman

Writers:Jawad Metni, Scott Thurman

Synopsis: The theory of evolution and a re-write of American history are caught in the crosshairs when an unabashed Creationist seeks re-election as chairman of America’s most influential Board of Education.

So, I had huge some buzz on some of the political blogs I follow about this movie. The geek and I decided to catch a matinee of it during SIFF.   This is a very current and relevant topic so I was interested in seeing how the director would brooch the subject matter.

The documentary follows the Texas fifteen person Board of Education, the organization that is responsible for putting together textbooks on a national level. In the movie’s case, the main subjects were evolution and history. Did you know that members of the Texas BOE don’t even have to be teachers in their field?? What the hell?

One of the most interesting characters in the film belonged to Don McLeod. Think of Ned Falnders from The Simpsons in real life. Now, think of him running the Texas BOE. He is a likeable character despite the fact that he doesn’t believe in evolution. Some of the funniest exchanges in the movie were discussions with him and fellow professor from a Texas university discussing the theory of evolution. In one scene, you see the look of “You have got to be kidding me right?” look come over the professor’s face when Mcleod states that dinosaurs and Jesus existed at the same time.

The film also explored the revision of history books. There is an interesting exchange about how they wanted to take out the music of “hip hop” and replace it with “country” music, among a certain member wanting to completely erase a chapter on 9/11.

I really loved this documentary. As a special treat, the director and one of the lead people(the science professor) in the film were at the screening. I think it’s an important film no matter what your view of evolution is, but i because it is about eduction and textbooks what the future generation will be taught about science and history.

Grade: A+++