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

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