Updated: May 27, 2020
Ross with iPad Slate
It’s not a perfect world and may never be. Perhaps nature is not meant to be perfect. Plants as well as animals adapt to their ever-changing environment in order to survive. And humans are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and make things better such as the process of farming. It’s one thing to try ways to suppress the insects and weeds that overcome our crops. But there comes a time when there’s too much experimentation and too little knowledge about possible side effects that GMOs or genetically modified organisms have on the humans, animals, insects and plants on Planet Earth.
My diet has changed over the years after taking an allergy test when I turned 30. All of a sudden, I was allergic to my favorite foods including corn. Corn was my favorite vegetable and fun to eat as a kid. There’s special little forks you stick into the ear of the corn and you can eat it like a typewriter. DING! Am I allergic to corn or just GMO corn? Is it just me or are more and more kids getting allergies?
Over the years, various doctors have found additional conditions that made me take a closer look at the food I consume. Before 2012, I didn’t really know what a GMO was. Is there pesticide in all of our crops?
There seems to be a lot of information being kept from the public and not shared in the mainstream news. You hear small stories about a million bees dying in this town or that town. WTF? You don’t hear too much in depth talk about what makes up the food we eat. Pesticide is in our meat too? Cows and pigs are corn fed with GMO seeds? Do these animals get sick from GMOs? Could humans get sick from GMOs? When the FDA lets the biotech corporation, Monsanto, regulate it’s own seeds, the corporation has no one to report to but themselves. Of course, they’ll pass their own safety inspections.
With what seems to be an increasing amount of diseases taking over America, I decided to make a little short film called “You Are What You Eat” to make people think about the food they eat on a daily basis. With a little humor and a dash of science fiction I hope this film will make people think about where they go food shopping. To go organic or not? I find myself reading labels now for ingredients, looking out for high fructose corn syrup, etc. Will people literally turn into corn? Well, I don’t think people will turn into corn. Will we start growing tumors like the rats in those little known experiments? Shouldn’t our food be labeled as genetically modified? Monsanto’s only fear is losing their money making machine.
Tala gets Make-Up
So, on Sunday August 4th, 2013, a skeleton cast and crew of six people including stills photographer, Julie Bergonz AKA The Sin City Shooter, set out to film “You Are What You Eat.”
Anthony & Tala GMO sign
The shoot involved some colorful make-up, a special wig and a dash of movie magic! While make-up artist Amanda Martinez applied yellow make-up to actress, Tala Marie, Director of Photography, Russell Thomas, and I went outside to film actor Anthony Avery driving and arriving home. I did my ‘Hitchcock’ by walking my dog, Charlie, as the ‘picture car’ pulled up behind us. I was wearing a surgical mask and when the next door neighbors pulled up to their driveway they asked, “Are you okay? Are you sick?”
Russell, Anthony and I then went to grab some shots guerilla-style in front of a grocery store. We filmed Anthony exiting the store and heading to his car. An old man saw us holding a camera and replied, “Take my picture.” By the time we returned to my parents’ house, the main location, Tala had transformed into Amy AKA corn-woman! Before the shoot, I had picked out a few possible wigs at some wig shops. Tala met me at one of the shops. As soon as she placed this yellow beehive-like wig on her head I knew that was the one. It was an awesome feeling seeing a character you thought up come to life in both yellow skin topped off by this crazy yellow beehive wig. A corny comedy was brewing.
Amy and Stan action
The story takes place some time in the near future when air quality is weak and people believe GMO foods are making them sick. (Perhaps it’s not too fictional.) Stan, played by Anthony, returns from the grocery store. When Amy discovers Stan bought GMO corn she’s immediately upset. “You bought genetically modified corn?”
We blocked the action and went to work. We used an iPad app to slate takes. The film was shot with a Canon 7-D DSLR in 24 frames for a film-look. It was a one-day shoot with two locations. Since the film had a positive message about being aware of what you eat, we had Chipotle bowls and burritos for lunch. Chipotle is one of the few food companies keeping GMOs out of their food. If you are what you eat, practice what you preach. Even the corn used as a prop was purchased at Whole Foods.
With the upcoming March Against Monsanto on October 12, 2013, I thought this blog would be timely for both the march and the film as I’m starting to share it with the world. Marches are taking place all over the world. You can check the link above for march locations. For more entertaining research check out the following list of films:
Seeds of Death http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUd9rRSLY4A (film link)
Also check out my Pinterest Board for more videos on GMOs.
Amanda, Ross, Tala, Anthony, Russell