My husband, Jeffrey Lurie, and I have been helping fund documentaries that address global issues, such as Sergio, based on Samantha Powers’ book Chasing the Flame, and Inside Job, which won the Oscar for best documentary last year. It’s clear that these kinds of films advocating for social change or illuminating a particular subject can make a difference and help educate a growing population eager to learn and take a stand.
Approximately two years ago, I first heard about a documentary called Hungry in America. One of the film’s producers, Julie Goldman, with whom I’d worked in the past, had mentioned in passing that she was involved with a project that was looking at the issue of hunger in this country. Inside Job, which was about to premiere at Cannes Film Festival, and told the story of the global financial crisis, should have prepared me for the notion that hunger was prevalent here in the United States. But it didn’t and I was shocked to hear that a First World country had such an ignominious reality prevalent across all 50 states. I decided I needed to learn more about the systemic causes of hunger; Understand why there was no access to nutritious, affordable foods; why was hunger linked to the obesity crisis our nation was and is increasingly fighting; what was the meaning of words like “Food Insecurity,” “Food Deserts”… terms I had never heard mentioned before.
I immediately asked Julie if the filmmakers were looking for other executive producers, if they need funds and what could we do. I met with Lori Silverbush and Kristi Jacobson, the insatiable and ever persistent directors, heard about some of the stories they were pursuing — even here in Philadelphia — and quickly determined this was a project that Screen Pass pictures absolutely had to support.
Flash forward two years.
The film, currently called Finding North, but likely to get a new title now that Magnolia Pictures is going to distribute it next year, first premiered at Sundance Film Festival this past January 2012. Last night, it played in Philadelphia at The Center for Hunger-Free Communities’ first annual national conference, under Drexel University’s School of Public Health.
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