How many substantial issues can be raised in 3 minutes and a half? The consequences that food preferences have on the environment, the loss of the relationship with the Earth, the often unsustainable methods of food production, the contrast between search for pleasure and responsible choices. Don’t be misled, the fundaments of living do not need much time to hit the mark, and food- source of life itself -is no exception.
Food is an animated short film that not only talks about food, but makes food talking about itself. Using the stop-motion technique to animate a group of “edible characters” busy to answer some invisible interviewer’s questions, the young director Siqi Song put on her tale. There is the hedonist cheeseburger caring about nothing but its pleasure; strawberries complaining about the lack of time and space to grow food; cookies choosing to be vegetarian; sausages thinking that eating well and taking care of others are two sides of the same coin.
According to Siqi herself, these uncommon storytellers are the main reason for the first important award that Food has received so far: Best Environmental Film at Interfilm Short Film Festival Berlin 2014. We’ve asked her some questions to examine in depth aims and background of the film.
1. Through your short film you deliver a message to the audience: what is it in few words?
My message is: start to think about the food you eat. Food is a very important aspect of life. Who can live without food? But with the development of modern society, people are getting too busy to think about the food we eat. Where did the food come from? How did it end up in my plate? Without asking these questions, fast food start to take over the food market. I think the vast development of industrial farming and some new diseases are results of this phenomenon.
2. Your website reveals an astonishing, hard word behind the scenes of Food: as a director and even as a cook. While we’re inviting our readers to have a look themselves, would you tell us about your peculiar technique?
Actually, animating food is not that different from regular stop-motion animation. But I had to make the “puppets” and animate them as fast as I can without interruptions because the temperature of the shooting stage was very high and food would go bad really soon. Also, I can’t make any changes when I animate. For example, if I shoot 200 frames and find the animation was not good, I had to re-make the “puppets” and re-shoot the whole scene. A good trick was to put two bags of ice besides me to keep the puppets cool when I was setting up the scene and lights.
3. The easygoing style of your film has a pleasant contrast with the serious, important issues you deal with. What is the reason of your choice?
Frankly, I didn’t’ plan to make a fun video. My original idea was to interview people with different opinions about food, and edit their voices all together to create these discussions about food and life choices. But after I started to seek for interviewees and talked with them, I was inspired by their strong views and thoughts that I didn’t think of before. Then I decided to make the film in a different, more interesting way other than a regular documentary.
4. Do you think fun can help to communicate substantial, complex and even thorny topics?
I do think fun can help to communicate substantial, complex topics. I’ve watched lots of documentaries about food or food industry and I noticed that most of them show the footage of slaughter houses and animals getting killed, which makes the audience very uncomfortable. I know these are very serious topics. On the other hand, I like food, I think of food as a pleasure of my life. I have always been fond of films or stories with humors and sarcasm, the ones that can perfectly combine comedy and tragedy. So I’m exploring how to make films that make the audience think while bringing them pleasure.
Is this the right path? In order to watch and decide yourself, you can find the link to the integral version of the film on the page that Green Film Network dedicates to the winners of the 30th Interfilm Short Film Festival.
Enjoy the movie!