Friday, May 14, 2010

"King Corn" and "Big River"

For our followers in the Washington DC metro area, there will be exclusive screenings of two thought-provoking and entertaining documentaries exploring the environmental, health, economic and social implications of corn-based agriculture. The films will be shown on the evening of Friday, June 11 (7:00 PM) at the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, Alexandria, VA (directions here). The screenings include the 2007 film, "King Corn," and the area premier of the follow-up film, "Big River." Here are the descriptions of the films provided by the producers (with links to the film websites, where you can find more information and view movie trailers). We hope to see you there!

King Corn” (
The Peabody Award-winning King Corn is a 2007 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 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 Iowa 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. Run-time 50 minutes.

Big River” (
Following up on their Peabody winning documentary, the King Corn boys are back. For Big River (2009), 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. This will be the DC area premier of Big River (Run-time: 27 minutes).

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