Fresh – Movie, Manifesto, Disappointment

by updated 2010/12/08

Fresh The Movie IconReally, how can I be disappointed when I have not even seen the movie?  Well, recently I received an email suggesting I watch this movie documentary called “Fresh”.  I made a mental note to check our online movie rental account to see if they carried it, then promptly forgot about it.  Then last week, this comment on a post about ethical milk also suggested that I watch Fresh.  I read that it was originally a PBS show, but I certainly missed it if it was.  Anyway, this time I did some research, found the official Fresh website, and became very confused.  Now becoming confused is a great talent I come by easily, but this is just a movie.  I am normally able to easily figure out how to watch a movie.  So if any of you can clear up my confusion, I would appreciate the direction.

In any case, it appears that the makers of the documentary Fresh want as few people as possible to watch it.  The first several places I looked on their website offered a variety of ways to buy the movie.  Prices ranged from $1,000.00 down to $30.00, depending on how many people you wanted to have watch it with you.  I may be wrong, but it seems like the idea is to show this movie to groups of people, maybe using it as a fundraiser or something?  Maybe it’s the Tupperware or Amway version of a movie documentary?  Now my attempt at humor may be a bit unfair, but really all I wanted to do was: Watch. The. Movie.  Maybe rent it from Blockbuster on our monthly account or as a new release for $5.00.  But wait, it is not even a “new release”, it came out almost 2 years ago. I should be able to rent it for $1.99!

But no, I could not find it available anywhere other than for $30.00 on the Fresh website.  Then I saw a link on the site titled: “Fresh is Going Theatrical!”  Great I thought, I will see it at my local multiplex.  I clicked the link and again, noooo….  “Theatrical” to the makers of Fresh seems to mean a “community event screening”.  There are just 14 of these screenings listed in various Canadian and U.S. cities between now and April of 2011.

Finally, I found the “Fresh Manifesto“.  That answered a few of my questions although it left my biggest unanswered.  If you have made a documentary that seeks to “alter the way our food system works” why wouldn’t you want as many people as possible to view it?  I decided to do a little experiment.  On a recent food shopping outing, I asked as many random people as possible if they had ever heard of the two year old documentary titled “Fresh”.  Well maybe the people were not so random since I was shopping both in a co-op and at a large health food store in a very progressive university town.  I figured my odds of finding someone with knowledge of the movie were probably better than if I had been shopping in a Walmart or  Win-Dixie, right?  Well not really.  I asked at least 30 people and not one had ever heard of “Fresh”.

I did watch the trailer and certainly am interested in watching the full movie, but I guess I won’t be able to unless I decide to pay $30.00 for that privilege. Not. Maybe the marketing geniuses behind the “Fresh Movement” will eventually decide that their movie should be seen by more than small groups of elite consumers, (most of who probably already subscribe to the tenets of Fresh).

If we are to really ever have any hope of changing the way consumers make their food choices, all information, books, movies, etc. need to be made as widely and inexpensively available as possible.  The approach of the makers of Fresh does not, in my humble, (and maybe misguided?) opinion, serve us well.

Will Sig
1 Blessings

My best guess is that they are trying to recover their costs. But, instead of guessing = and before commenting in a way that casts aspersions on the filmmakers’ lived values = why not write to them and ask why it is not more easily and cheaply available? No reason to withhold your sense of the impression their rental structure creates….but almost always, it seems to me criticism based on incomplete information should be taken first to the “object” of the criticism….and, when possible, starting out as an inquiry.

Many documentaries that have appeared on PBS are not funded by PBS in any way…..the makers simply fought and persuaded their way onto the network. It’s completely possible these filmmakers spent their life savings and went into debt to make “Fresh”. I have no idea…..but none of us do, other than knowing that documentaries promoting positive change, or unmasking important hidden truths, very frequently have that kind of history.

I DO hope you will get to see it! For that matter, I hope the producers will make it available for online viewing = for free!

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2 Will

Well, I don’t think it needs to be free. The film makers deserve to get back their costs and more. But I wonder if their distribution method makes any more money than making it more widely available? I doubt it. I don’t think they are limiting the distribution and viewing for money reasons. But I do wonder why they are limiting it. It seems like the more people that see it, the more chance the message of Fresh has a chance to create change. And I would think that the more people that see it, the quicker the film makers will earn back their investment.

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3 Anna

Will its simple – looks like someone is suppressing the film, and never know could be the works of FDA or drug companies, because if we stay healthy there will be no economy driven by sick people, and drug industry will not be making any money. We are what we eat! Just my two cents. Anna :)
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