2012 Sundance Docs in Focus: FINDING NORTH

My rundown of the 2012 Sundance US Documentary Competition continues with: FINDING NORTH, Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush’s compelling exploration of poverty and food insecurity in the US.

Sundance Program Description:

America has lost its way in taking care of its own. The shocking fact is that one in six Americans doesn’t get enough to eat on a regular basis. Even more disturbing is the fact that this new face of hunger is largely invisible. There are no breadlines in the streets, but increasing numbers of soup kitchens and food banks are feeding people who—though employed full-time—can’t make ends meet.

FINDING NORTH unveils the human stories behind the statistics: a rancher juggling two jobs and a small-town policeman rely on food pantries to survive between paychecks; a single working mom can’t afford consistent meals for her children; a short-order cook must travel more than an hour to purchase fruits and vegetables.

As it unravels the real societal costs and applies transparency to the causes of this hunger crisis in the richest country in the world, Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush’s bracing film explores ways that we as a nation can correct this alarming and unnecessary state of affairs.

Some Background:
Jacobson is an alumna of Sundance – her debut AMERICAN STANDOFF, produced by the legendary Barbara Kopple, premiered in 2002. Her later film, TOOTS (2006) made its debut at Tribeca. Silverbush has spent time in Park City as well – her debut, ON THE OUTS (2004), claimed jury and audience prizes at Slamdance after making its world premiere at Toronto. Producers working with the duo are Julie Goldman, who also serves as executive producer on fellow 2012 Sundance doc AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY and Tribeca Film Institute Director of Documentary Programming Ryan Harrington. On the executive producer side, they have the support of Participant Media’s Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann (Sundance alums WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN” and AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, as well as Oscar nominee FOOD, INC and many others), Vox3 Films’s Christina Weiss Lurie and Jeffrey Lurie (Oscar winner INSIDE JOB, Sundance winner SERGIO), and celebrated chef Tom Colicchio (TOP CHEF, Craft and Colicchio & Sons restaurants).

Why You Should Watch:
From conversations with Harrington over the past few years, I’d been eagerly awaiting seeing Jacobson and Silverbush’s film, which does a remarkable job of humanizing an incredibly serious issue that most people probably too hastily put out of their minds. The reality behind food insecurity – people’s inability to access food regularly whether through economic constraints or lack of availability – is staggering. The film presents a sobering, comprehensive exploration of the crisis the US faces, and hopefully will help garner the kind of widespread attention needed to affect real change on both an individual and governmental level.

More Info:
Participant’s Take Part page for the film may be found here, while its Facebook page is here. Jacobson and Silverbush discuss their doc in a “Meet the Artists” interview for Sundance here and with Indiewire here. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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