MOVIES | Oscar contender “Food, Inc.” has some Fergus Falls farmers upset


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that 15 films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 82nd Academy Awards® being held March 7. Eighty-nine pictures had originally qualified in the category.

One of the films to make the top 15 list is Food, Inc. directed by Robert Kenner. The movie will be presented by the Fergus Falls Center for the Arts on November 21-25. “This is great news for us,” says Rebecca Petersen, the arts center executive director. “We try to show films that have many awards and nominations.”

A controversial look at the food industry, the documentary has depicted a critical view of the Monsanto Seed Company as well as Tyson Foods and poultry farms.

“This is an agricultural based area,” says Peterson, “and some farmers are upset that we are showing it.” To address their concerns, the arts center will have a panel discussion of farmers on Sunday, November 22 to bring up topics relating to the movie. Petersen said Anna Wasescha, the founder of Twin Cities based Farm in the City; Stan Rund, who’s worked with Monsanto Seed Company; Mark Boen, an organic farmer; and turkey farmer Daryl Velo are among those scheduled to appear.

According to the Fergus Falls Daily Journal, Rund doesn’t feel Food, Inc. “accurately portrays the company.”

“It’s going to be a pretty lively discussion,” Petersen says. “It’s an awesome panel.”

Petersen said the Fergus Falls arts center film program was started eight years ago to present motion pictures in the greater Minnesota area that may not be seen outside the big cities. “We show a lot of documentaries and foreign films,” she says.

In addition to Food, Inc., the list of films to advance in the Academy’s documentary feature category, in alphabetical order by title with their production company, are:

  • The Beaches of Agnes, Agnès Varda, director (Cine-Tamaris)
  • Burma VJ, Anders Østergaard, director (Magic Hour Films)
  • The Cove, Louie Psihoyos, director (Oceanic Preservation Society)
  • Every Little Step, James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo, directors (Endgame Entertainment)
  • Facing Ali, Pete McCormack, director (Network Films Inc.)
  • Garbage Dreams, Mai Iskander, director (Iskander Films, Inc.)
  • Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders, Mark N. Hopkins, director (Red Floor Pictures LLC)
  • The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith, directors (Kovno Communications)
  • Mugabe and the White African, Andrew Thompson and Lucy Bailey, directors (Arturi Films Limited)
  • Sergio, Greg Barker, director (Passion Pictures and Silverbridge Productions)
  • Soundtrack for a Revolution, Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman, directors (Freedom Song Productions)
  • Under Our Skin, Andy Abrahams Wilson, director (Open Eye Pictures)
  • Valentino the Last Emperor, Matt Tyrnauer, director (Acolyte Films)
  • Which Way Home, Rebecca Cammisa, director (Mr. Mudd)

The Documentary Branch Screening Committee viewed all the eligible documentaries for the preliminary round of voting. Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles on the shortlist. The 82nd Academy Award® nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m., Pacific Time, according to the Academy.

Food, Inc. will be presented by the Fergus Falls Arts Center at the Fergus Theatre, 124 W. Lincoln Ave.:

Sat. Nov. 21 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Sun. Nov. 22 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. with panel at 5:30 p.m.

Panel Members:

Anna Wasescha (Provost at Minnesota State)

Harold Stanislawski (Economic Improvement Commission)

Mark Boen (Bluebird Gardens, owner, farmer)

Gary Brever (Ploughshare Farm, owner, farmer)

Stan Rund (In the seed business for 24 years)

Bruce Brenden (President of West Ottertail County Farm Bureau, farmer)

Daryl Velo (Turkey Farmer)

Art Johnson (Retired pastor)


Gary Henrickson (Dean of Academic Affairs, Minnesota State)

Also shown at:

Mon. Nov. 23 at 2 p.m.

Tue. Nov. 24 at 7 p.m.

Wed. Nov. 25 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for students.

(Source: Fergus Falls Center for the Arts)