Tag Archives: Gina Hall

Farmageddon Review

 

Gina Hall is a Los Angeles-based writer. Follow her on Facebook. [Bio Cont’d Below…] 

Did you have a good 4th of July? Did you spend it eating organic corn-on-the-cob and knocking back a glass of raw milk? No? Me neither. In America, we tend to celebrate our freedom eating the most inorganic materials agribusiness has to offer. You can commemorate our freedom and our forefathers with fireworks, flags and Cool Whip or you can support a film that shows another fight for freedom happening with less fanfare but with a huge impact

our lives, liberties and pursuit of good food.

Farmageddon isn’t a pastoral Michael Bay film as the title suggests, but it is explosive and may provide welcome respite from this week’s Transformers Bay bonanza. It’s a documentary by mother Kristin Canty, who found her way into filmmaking by sheer outrage. Canty follows several farmers and distributors on the frontlines in a war against raw milk.

 

Raw Milk? Yeah, the stuff people have been drinking for over 8,000 years ever since someone pulled on a cow udder and found it produced something tasty. Louis Pasteur originally intended the pasteurization process for keeping wine and beer from souring – the French commitment to their alcohol is amazing. The process was extended to milk, and for a long time pasteurized milk was sold side by side with the raw. However, as the industrial food system took hold, the pasteurization process became necessary, as the industrial milk would often make people ill. Pasteurization became the FDA’s failsafe even though the benefits of raw milk, which has more healthy bacteria, has been claimed to improve allergies and digestion.
Are you rolling the dice with raw milk and its by products like yogurt and cheese? Sure. Raw milk can contain bacteria that can make you sick, or kill you. So can spinach, hamburger and fried Twinkies. But raw milk seems to bring out the nasty side of our government, by which I mean raids, guns and million dollar surveillance operations. The film is a collection of eye witness interviews, expert testimony and actual footage showing our U.S. government spending your tax dollars to stalk small farmers, raid their farms, confiscate their equipment and sue them in court. Rarely with a warrant or cause.

 

Canty’s film is elegant in its simplicity it shows you the evidence and allows you to ask most of the questions  – like why do we punish small co-ops for producing healthy foods and subsidize the industrial complex that’s contributing to obesity. Is it really safer to pasteurize dairy products or is it something we’ve just grown accustomed to even though it may be detrimental to our health? And wouldn’t Pasteur, a Frenchmen, be rolling in his grave to know Americans were pasteurizing cheese?
In the film, perennial food documentary favorite Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin asks “why do they have such a problem with freedom?”  It rhetorical, of course, because we all know the answer is money. Canty tries for straight answers from the FDA and the  Department of Agriculture but what no one seems willing to fess up to is the revolving door between politics and agribusiness.  Canty’s film is a small victory in a larger battle fighting for the freedom to choose better food. It’s a war that can use all the patriots it can get.

 

For more information visit farmageddonmovie.com

 

 

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Produced By Conference 2011 At Disney Studios – Digital Is The New Green

By Gina Hall

Gina Hall
 is a Los Angeles-based writer. Follow her on Facebook.

[Bio Cont’d Below…]

 

The third year of the Produced By Conference brought more than 2,200 people to the Disney lot in Burbank on June 4th and 5th. There was no shortage of star-powered panels and discussions on “green content” but the focus ultimately centered on emerging digital technology. The hope is that digital technology can usher in a more sustainable era to the industry by reducing our print and production materials and changing the distribution model from one that requires delivery of a print to one that is beamed into the theater or home.

Highlights of the conference included the Bleeding Green: Content with a Cause panel, which featured a conversation on developing documentary material with a green agenda. Panelists included Lesly Chilcott, producer of Waiting For ‘Superman’ and An Inconvenient Truth, and Fisher Stevens, producer of The Cove.

Again, the focus centered on how digital media has become the biggest asset to the “green filmmaker” in all areas; financing, raising awareness, filming and distribution. Twitter, Facebook and blogs have become the go-to method for finding an audience and online channels plus Netflix a preferred distribution outlet. The glut of eco-content has become an issue, but the overwhelming sentiment was one of optimism in getting these issues out to a broader audience.

Raising Your Tentpole proved to be another popular panel, apparently many aspiring to bypass the slow ascent to success and jump straight into developing and producing franchise faire. Panelists incl

uded Gale Anne Hurd, Bonnie Arnold and Kevin Feige, among others, as they discussed the ups and downs of creating content through the studio machine.

 

Perhaps more useful to the indie producer was the panel Plugged In: The Socially Networked Producer where Elias Plishner, Sony Senior VP of Digital Marketing who headed up the Social Network campaign, told the audience that it’s never too early to start engaging fans of your project through social media channels to build “pre-awareness.” Not surprisingly, the panel discussed how actors are cast based on their Twitter following as it is assumed that that will become part of the marketing package.

 

Meanwhile, in the conversation panel with Harvey Weinstein and Mark Gordon, the view on internet distribution and Video on Demand (VOD) was lukewarm. Both Weinstein and Gordon expressed that while it is the future, the current business model should continue to focus on the theatrical release.

 

A major announcement from the conference came from the CEO of Scenios, Mark Davis, who unveiled that their production management software will now be available entirely in “the cloud.” This type of platform will allow production teams to collaborate from pre-production through production and then into post and will include a collection of apps that manages items like the script, budget, locations, shoot schedule, call sheets, dailies and rough cuts.

With this movement toward cloud computing, digital distribution, and online marketing, the move toward the industry consuming less is yet to be seen. In the near future, the industry’s net consumption of paper screenplays, plastic DVD cases and oil to shuttle prints to theaters may go down, but electronics require a massive amount of conflict metals and create toxic eWaste (and let’s not get started on production offices and sets slow to phase out plastic water bottles and disposable Starbucks cups). 

Whatever the future may bring, it’s coming quickly and next year’s conference can’t come fast enough.

Gina Hall writes for publications such as Greening Hollywood, as a guest blogger, Culver City News, AskMissA.com and TheScoopLA. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Cinematic Arts and has worked in the entertainment industry on documentaries and features, as a development executive and as a writer. She works with environmental organization Global Green USA whose efforts are primarily focused on fighting global climate change through policies, advocacy and education. 

 

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Environmentalists Honored For Extraordinary Efforts

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By Gina Hall
[Gina is a USC Film School Graduate. She works with Global Green USA and is a guest blogger for the Green Blog Network.]
Environmental nonprofit Global Green USA celebrated its 15th annual Millennium Awards at a star-studded fundraising gala at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica on Saturday. Celebrity guests and presenters included Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Bacon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Guest, Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr and Adrian Grenier. 
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One of the evening’s high-profile honorees was actor Mark Ruffalo, recently nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Kids are Alright. Actress Laura Dern presented Ruffalo with his honor for his work to eliminate the controversial hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a., “hydrofracking,” a chemical process that fractures shale in order to retrieve oil and natural gas. The process, as seen in the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland, has been shown to contaminate water supplies to the point of becoming flammable. Ruffalo has testified before Congress, arguing for a ban on the practice and has started his own foundation, Water Defense, to educate the public on the dangers of hydrofracking.

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Ed Begley, Jr. was also among the honorees, for his work to inspire others to create a more sustainable world. Featured on the reality program, Living with Ed, the actor and Studio City resident has become associated with the ultimate in green living – even going as far as generating power for his home via stationary bicycle.  Other honorees included the Los Angeles Business Council for their work to encourage the use of solar power in the city, and Wendy Schmidt, founder of the Schmidt Family Foundation and the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X Prize. 
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“Thanks to our sponsors, including Sprint, 360 Vodka and dozens more, Global Green raised over $470,000 to support our local and national initiatives,” noted Global Green’s Communications Director Ruben Aronin. 

“We are so excited to celebrate the impressive achievements of our 2011 Millennium Awards Honorees,” said Global Green President and CEO Matt Petersen. “It’s particularly auspicious to celebrate these leaders as World Environment Day approaches and we mark the one-year countdown to the Rio Earth Summit in 2012, when our global leaders will gather to make commitments to make our world more sustainable. Global Green will be marshaling its supporters to call for local and community-based approaches to solving climate change, including creating greener cities, schools and affordable housing for families.”

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