||KING CORN (60' & 90')
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King Corn is a feature
documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the
subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. In King
Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from
college on the east coast, move to the US heartland to
learn where their food comes from. With the help of
friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and
powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of
America?s most productive, most-subsidized grain on one
acre of soil. But when they try to follow their pile of
corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling
questions about how we eat?and how we farm.
Almost everything Americans eat contains corn: high
fructose corn syrup, corn-fed meat, and corn-based
processed foods are the staples of the modern diet. Ready
for an adventure and alarmed by signs of their
generation?s bulging waistlines, college friends Ian
Cheney and Curt Ellis know where to go to investigate.
Eighty years ago, Ian and Curt?s great-grandfathers lived
just a few miles apart, in the same rural county in
northern Iowa. Now their great-grandsons are returning
with a mission: they will plant an acre of corn, follow
their harvest into the world, and attempt to understand
what they?and all of us?are really made of.
In Colorado, ranchers says their cattle should be eating
grass. But with a surplus of corn, it costs less to raise
cattle in confinement than to let them roam free: ?The
mass production of corn drives the mass production of
protein in confinement.? Animal nutritionists confirm that
corn makes cows sick and beef fatty, but it also lets
consumers eat a $1 hamburger.
Their investigation of America?s most ubiquitous
ingredient, high fructose corn syrup, turns serious when
they follow soda to its consumption in Brooklyn, NY. Here,
Type II diabetes is ravaging the community, and America?s
addiction to corny sweets is to blame. The breadth of the
problem is now clear: the American food system is built on
the abundance of corn, an abundance perpetuated by a
subsidy system that pays farmers to maximize production.
For more information see: http://www.kingcorn.net
BIG RIVER (27')
AGRIBUSINESS... IT?S IN THE WATER.
Following up on their Peabody winning documentary, the
King Corn boys are back. For Big River, best friends Ian
Cheney and Curt Ellis have returned to Iowa with a new
mission: to investigate the environmental impact their
acre of corn has sent to the people and places downstream.
In a journey that spans from the heartland to the Gulf of
Mexico, Ian and Curt trade their combine for a canoe?and
set out to see the big world their little acre of corn has
touched. On their trip, flashbacks to the pesticides they
sprayed, the fertilizers they injected, and the soil they
plowed now lead to new questions, explored by new experts
in new places. Half of Iowa?s topsoil, they learn, has
been washed out to sea. Fertilizer runoff has spawned a
hypoxic ?dead zone? in the Gulf. And back at their acre,
the herbicides they used are blamed for a cancer cluster
that reaches all too close to home- the wives of the
farmers they befriended during the King Corn shoot.