Summertime is synonymous with good food and great movies. In honor of The Year of Alabama Food, Birmingham Botanical Gardens will provide movie-goers with great food for thought.
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is presenting a summer documentary series that focuses on our love affair with food – the good, the bad and the ugly. The series begins June 24 and continues during select Sundays throughout the summer, concluding Aug. 19. Admission is free; each film begins at 2 p.m. in the Linn-Henley Lecture Hall. No registration is required. After some showings, experts will host a community discussion about the film’s content.
June 24: The series will begin with a screening of the fourth installment in HBO’s renowned series, The Weight of the Nation. The film, Challenges, takes a look at the rise of obesity and highlights the challenges faced by those who are struggling with being overweight. A Q&A session will be held after the film and will be moderated by Ashley Obiaka, obesity prevention program manager at United Way of Central Alabama.
July 8: Fresh celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across the nation are who reinventing the food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of our agriculture into an industrial model and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, they offer a practical vision for the future of food and our planet.
July 15: Dive! is inspired by our country’s habit of sending discarded food to landfills. The multi-award-winning documentary follows filmmaker Jeremy Seifert and friends as they prowl back-alley dumpsters and gated garbage receptacles of supermarkets in Los Angeles. In the process, they salvage thousands of dollars’ worth of good, edible food. The result is an inspiring call to action presented with entertaining guerilla journalism.
July 22: Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? is a profound, alternative look at the global bee crisis from Taggart Siegel, director of The Real Dirt on Farmer John. Taking us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive, this uplifting film chronicles the struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world – including Michael Pollan, Gunther Hauk and Vandana Shiva. Together they present problems and provide solutions in renewing a culture in balance with nature.
July 29: Farmageddon tells the story of small, family farms that were providing healthy foods to their communities and were forced to stop, sometimes through violence by agents of misguided government bureaucracies. Those families are now seeking a resolution.
August 12: Urban Roots is a documentary that actor Leonardo DiCaprio describes as “an inspiring film about the emergence of urban farming in Detroit. It shows what’s possible after the collapse of the industrial era and how we begin building a sustainable future for all.”
August 19: The series concludes with Dirt: The Movie, an insightful film that tells the story of the glorious and unappreciated material beneath our feet. Inspired by William Bryant Logan’s acclaimed book Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, the film takes a humorous look into the history and current state of the living organic matter that we come from and to which we will later return.
For more information about the documentary film series, visit bbgardens.org/filmseries.
Photo courtesy of HBO Documentary Films.
Blake Ells is the public relations coordinator at Birmingham Botanical Gardens and is currently a featured entertainment blogger at al.com. He reviews Birmingham restaurants, with friends and good humor, at the Birmingham Lunch Club blog.
The views expressed here are those of the author.