Whole Foods Market is giving its annual Do Something Reel Film Festival the digital treatment and taking it online.
Now in its third year, the festival showcases films and documentaries about food and environmental issues.
Starting on April 22 (Earth Day), users will be able to stream a different film each month from DoSomethingReel.com. Films will be available for a limited time and will cost between $3 and $5 for a single viewing.
The first film in the festival is called The Apple Pushers. Narrated by Academy Award nominee Edward Norton, the film follows five immigrant street-cart vendors who offer produce in New York City neighborhoods that usually don’t have access to fresh fruit and vegetables.
Whole Foods will be screening the film at the Alamo Draft House in Austin, Texas, and in theaters in Boston, Detroit, Pittsburgh and San Francisco. At the Austin screening, a live panel will take pace with members from the film and food communities.
The panel will be streamed online to users for free, using NowLive’s streaming technology.
A film festival might seem to be an odd venture for a grocery store, but for Whole Foods it aligns with its greater mission of connecting and educating consumers about food. Marci Frumkin, executive marketing coordinator for Whole Foods’ southern Pacific region told us that as a company, Whole Foods is committed to getting the word out about food and encouraging filmmakers to tell stories about sustainability.
Why go online? Frumkin says it’s important for Whole Foods to reach a broader audience — even if members of that audience aren’t necessarily Whole Foods customers.
Although The Apple Pushers will only be available to stream between April 22 and April 30, the other films in the festival will be available for an entire month.
Descriptions of the other films:
- Watershed — Directed by Mark Decena, executive produced by Robert Redford and produced by his son, James Redford, the film follows Rocky Mountain National Park fly fishing guide, Jeff Ehlert, and six others living and working in the Colorado River basin. The film illustrates the river’s struggle to support 30 million people across the western U.S. and Mexico as the peace-keeping agreement known as the Colorado River Pact is reaching its limits. (May)
- Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? — A profound, alternative look at the bee crisis from Taggart Siegel, award-winning director of “The Real Dirt on Farmer John”. On a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive, the film weaves together a story of the heartfelt struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world and uncovers the long-term causes that could create one of our most urgent food crises. (June)
- Ian Cheney Retrospective: King Corn and Truck Farm — Each of Cheney’s films spotlights an important environmental or food issue, from mobile gardens to the subsidized crops fueling our fast-food nation. Cheney was last year’s Whole Foods Market and AFI-Silverdocs grant recipient for “Works in Progress.” (July)
- Lunch Line — Co-directed by Ernie Park and Michael Graziano, the documentary reveals the history and complexity of the National School Lunch Program as it follows six kids from one of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago as they set out to fix school lunches — and end up at the White House. (August)
Proceeds from the festival will help fund two $25,000 AFI Silverdocs grants for filmmakers in the green genre.
Films will be streamable on phones, tablets and regular web browsers. Frumkin says Whole Foods might consider adopting a more robust digital strategy — including apps — depending on how things progress.
As for the future — the goal is to bring new films to audiences each month indefinitely.
For filmmakers who seek to tell stories in the green genre, this festival is a great opportunity to reach broader audiences.
What do you think of grocery stores getting into the digital film festival game? Is this the future of sustainable storytelling? Let us know in the comments.
Via Mashable: http://www.mashable.com