Films on Genetics

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Cracking Your Genetic Code

Documentary Nova 2011. What will it mean when most of us can afford to have the information in our DNA–all three billion chemical letters of it–read, stored and available for analysis? In “Cracking Your Genetic Code,” Nova reveals that we stand on the verge of a revolution. Meet cancer patients returned to robust health and a cystic fibrosis sufferer breathing easily because scientists have been able to pinpoint and neutralize the genetic abnormalities underlying their conditions. What are the moral dilemmas raised by the new technology? Will it help or hurt us to know our genetic destiny? What if such information falls into the hands of insurance companies, employers and prospective mates? One thing is certain: the new era of personalized, gene-based medicine is relevant to everyone. Soon, all of us may be deciding whether to join the ranks of the DNA generation.

The Human Family Tree

Documentary National Geographic 2009 TV-PG 1hr 32m. Charting human history from its ancient roots in Africa to its startling evolution over time, geneticist Spencer Wells and his fellow scientists with National Geographic’s Genographic Project uncover fascinating truths about the commonalities of man. The program focuses on a diverse group of New Yorkers, using samples swabbed from the inside of their cheeks, as a starting point for analyzing their origins.

Ghost in Your Genes

Documentary Nova 2007. An examination of the gatekeeper role played by the epigenome, which can shape everything from whether people develop diseases to whether they are fat or slim by turning on and off specific genes. Also: how a person’s habits—good and bad—may affect future generations.


Genetic Chile

Documentary 2010 NR 57m. This illuminating documentary sizes up the state of genetically modified foods by zooming in on the prized New Mexico chili pepper, a poster child for both genetic engineering advocates and opponents of the practice.

The Future of Food

Documentary 2004 NR 90 minutes. Before compiling your next grocery list, you might want to watch filmmaker Deborah Koons Garcia’s eye-opening documentary, which sheds light on a shadowy relationship between agriculture, big business and government. By examining the effects of biotechnology on the nation’s smallest farmers, the film reveals the unappetizing truth about genetically modified foods: You could unknowingly be serving them for dinner. Anyone following the legal policies of Monsanto – the massive company with the “Imagine” tagline – or the plight of the North American farmer will need to watch this movie, even if they already believe they know everything they need to. But the rest of us need to watch ‘The Future of Food’ as well, since a sustainable food supply should be at least of some importance. Consider some points in the movie: * the insecticide and herbicide companies have bought out the majority of seed companies * these companies are genetically modifying the seeds and patenting them * today just a few companies own the rights to the majority of farm-grown products * large corporations (i.e., Monsanto) are winning lawsuits against much smaller farmers because genetically modified seed that is patented has blown onto their farms. The film conveys somewhat one-sidedly and briefly the history of food, but focuses mainly on the court cases and the how the individual farmers were affected by them. So is the movie good. Absolutely. Comprehensively covers a complex subject in an understandable and engaging way. We’ve been showing this film in neighborhood centers for a couple of years now, and people sitting on hard uncomfortable folding chairs are transfixed by what they’re seeing. No one walks out. I have seen quite a few documentaries on the subject..this is the best. Everyone should see this, gain some perspective on what is going on with food and the future of the entire world really. Nothing you wouldn’t expect… Corporate greed, money, and ignorance, but a nice non-bias POV. Add this to your que now, and wake up and take a stand against these crooked companies poisoning you and your family. See Full Review

Food, Inc.

Documentary 2008 PG 93 minutes. Drawing on two books Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, director Robert Kenner’s provocative, Oscar-nominated documentary explores the food industry’s detrimental effects on our health and environment. For the already well informed Food, Inc. breaks into no new information. Though a well done and thoroughly researched documentary, they don’t take us too far into the behind-the-scenes food industry so the potential for great impact is sorely missing. It served however as a great reminder to buy local and organic whenever possible, and again puts into light the great disservice we as a nation are doing to the animal kingdom when we continue to purchase meat from meat factories instead of farms or independent butchers. Not an essential documentary for the already knowledgeable, but perhaps an eye opener for the previously unaware.

Bad Seed: The Truth About Our Food

Documentary 2005 NR 63 minutes. Twenty-year-old filmmaker Adam Curry traveled across the United States, Britain and Canada to make this documentary, which explores the statistic that 60 percent of the food Americans eat has been genetically altered or engineered. The jury is out on whether these products could harm the population, and Curry demands answers — talking to nutritionists, physicians, scientists, farmers and other experts in an effort to uncover the truth.

Deconstructing Supper

Documentary 2002 NR 47m. On a personal quest to understand our food choices, acclaimed chef John Bishop travels around the world exploring where genetically modified crops come from, whether they may be harmful and what alternative options currently exist. Through interviews with farmers, scientists and activists, this thought-provoking documentary offers substantial insight into the nuts and bolts of global food.

Fed Up!

Documentary 2002 NR 57m. Nominated for an Environmental Media Award, this eye-opening documentary explores the United States’ food production system from the organic farming of the Green Movement to the genetically engineered food of the Biotech Revolution. Through fascinating archival footage and interviews with farmers, scientists, government officials and activists, Fed Up! provides a detailed and sometimes disturbing overview of contemporary food production.

Food Fight

Documentary 2008 NR 71 minutes. Discover the disturbing problems inherent in today’s food system with this insightful documentary, which profiles chef Alice Waters’s efforts to promote local, organic and sustainable agriculture as a delicious alternative to mass-produced fare.

The World According to Monsanto
(Le Monde Selon Monsanto)

Documentary 2008. Directed by Marie-Monique Robin. Originally released in French, the film is based on Robin’s three-year long investigation into the US agricultural giant Monsantocorporation’s practices around the world. The World According to Monsanto is also a book written by Marie-Monique Robin winner of the Rachel Carson Prize (a Norwegian prize for female environmentalists). See Full Review

Vanishing of the Bees

Documentary 2009 NR 87 minutes. This documentary details the economic, political and ecological consequences of a dwindling world honeybee population. It’s a phenomenon with a name — Colony Collapse Disorder — The cause and effect relationship of Bayer’s systemic chemicals used in France, and subsequently banned (with the bees returning within a year) as well as the studies done in the U.S. (proving the chemicals build up in the honey/pollen of the hives) and why so few studies have actually been done (the companies profiting from the chemical sales are responsible for doing the studies – a policy of the EPA.) The monoculture discussion was very clearly an explanation of why the farmers must use these chemicals – because with monoculture a single pest is able to become a massive problem when the entire farm is a food source. This is also why they recommend eating organic (no pesticides), using your local farmer’s market (no monoculture) or even setting up your own garden (full control over what’s put on your crops.) This was not “leftist propaganda.” It was an explanation of the problem, the primary and most likely cause – based on facts, science, and experience; and a series of potential solutions. See Full Review


Documentary 2009 NR 1hr 24m. What is bee colony collapse disorder and how does it impact America’s food supply? This documentary explores how the deaths of millions of bees threaten the livelihoods of many beekeepers and the nation’s crops.

Queen of the Sun
What Are the Bees Telling Us?

Documentary 2010 NR 1hr 21m. This film documents the surprising importance of the lowly honeybee, describing how bees’ pollinating activities play a crucial role in the food chain and how recent catastrophic “colony collapses” could interrupt global food production.

Life Running Out of Control
(Leben ausser Kontrolle)

Documentary 2004 NR 1hr 34m. Since the mid-1980s, the science of genetics has exploded, offering hope for medical researchers and biologists seeking to feed people, as well as deep concerns for proponents of organic foods and activists worried about human gene manipulation. This documentary explores the powerful ways in which biotechnology affects our lives, from the sale of genetically altered salmon to the obtaining of consent for unwitting donors of human tissue.

Fed Up!

Documentary 2002 NR 57m. Nominated for an Environmental Media Award, this eye-opening documentary explores the United States’ food production system from the organic farming of the Green Movement to the genetically engineered food of the Biotech Revolution. Through fascinating archival footage and interviews with farmers, scientists, government officials and activists, Fed Up! provides a detailed and sometimes disturbing overview of contemporary food production.

King Corn

Documentary 2007 NR 90 minutes. In Aaron Woolf’s thought-provoking documentary, friends Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis move back to America’s Corn Belt to plant an acre of the nation’s most-grown and most-subsidized grain and follow their crop into the U.S. food supply.

The Beautiful Truth

Documentary 2008 NR 1hr 31m. This documentary follows the journey of Garrett Kroschel, an animal-loving teenager raised in Alaska who, after reading a book by Dr. Max Gerson, is inspired to investigate its premise that diet can cure cancer and other diseases. Garrett travels across the country, visiting with physicians, scientists and cancer survivors to discuss Gerson Therapy — and Gerson’s claim that the medical industry has suppressed natural cancer cures for years.

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