In the past two years, over 300 filmmakers from around the world have entered the Real Food Media Contest — the world’s largest competition for short films on food, farming and sustainability. This fall, Real Food Media launched its third-annual Contest year with a call for submissions of super-short films on underreported issues, unique changemakers and creative solutions to foster a broad, public conversation about solving our global food system’s most intractable problems — from hunger to diet-related illnesses to environmental crises.
Contest judges include some of the nation’s leaders in food, farming and film, from restaurateurs Tom Colicchio and Alice Waters to chef and author, Bryant Terry.
“Each year I enjoy judging the short film competition,” says the James Beard Foundation’s Susan Ungaro. “These short documentaries offer of great overview of what’s important, what’s inspiring and what’s concerning in our complicated but joyous food world.”
Awards include a $5,000 Grand Prize, $2,000 for Runner-Up and special awards in the categories of Best Cinematography, Underreported Issue, Food Producer Profile, Innovative Initiative and Animation. Media partners include film festivals and online video platform Vimeo, which will bring wide distribution opportunities for films and valuable networks for filmmakers. Winning films have been shown around the world – from international festivals to Food & Wine’s online platform – and the Contest works with dozens of universities on events and special programming, including with anchor partners Occidental College (Los Angeles) and Gustolab Institute for Food Studies (Rome).
“In two years, we have been blown away by the creativity and vision of filmmakers, both seasoned and new,” said Anna Lappé, national bestselling author, Real Food Media founder and director of the Contest. “We’ve also been delighted by the reach of our free Pop-Up Film Fests, showcasing winning films. From New Zealand to Romania to across the United States, more than 200 communities have shown these powerful films, sparking conversation worldwide.”
2014’s Grand Prize winner was Homeward, directed by Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine, about a community of transplanted Mexican farmers who create a thriving cooperative with organic oregano.
“The Real Food Media Contest gets to the heart of why I make films, which is to provide new perspectives on the way we eat and grow,” said Klein, 2014 Grand Prize winner and current Contest judge*.* Not only is it a great avenue to share these films, but it is also building a network of likeminded filmmakers. We’ve collaborated with other winners of the Contest and hope to do the same this year.”
A range of global innovation competitions have arisen around the need to fix our broken food system. Earlier this year, the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition's (BCFN) Young Earth Solutions! (YES!) program ran its fourth innovation contest to encourage young researchers and university students under the age of 35 to develop innovative solutions to problems within the global food system — the winning idea was for an economically viable, eco-friendly gardening system for the Mbororo women in Cameroon. Also this year, the 2015 Biomimicry Global Design Challenge (BGDC) attracted hundreds of ideas inspired by nature from nearly 2000 designers, architects, biologists, engineers, students, nature-lovers, and food enthusiasts from over 70 countries to rethink our food system; the winning idea featured a biomimetic drainage system that keeps nutrients in the soil.