Coming to VOD tomorrow, Tuesday, January 7: EATING ALABAMA
Andrew Beck Grace’s exploration of food and farming had its world premiere at SXSW in 2012. It went on to screen at Full Frame, New Orleans, Sidewalk, Oxford, SF Doc Fest, and the Southern Circuit Tour, among others. FilmBuff now releases the doc on iTunes, Movies on Demand, Amazon, Google, Sony PlayStation, Xbox, Cinemanow, and Vudu.
A sort of food-focused spin on NO IMPACT MAN, Grace’s film documents a year-long attempt by the Alabama-based filmmaker and his wife Rashmi to eat only locally-sourced food – at least for about half the film. Motivated by his familial connection to farming – his grandfather, who pops up in the film more than once, left agriculture decades ago, but shared with him nostalgic tales of a simpler age connected to the land – Grace longs for a way of life he quickly comes to realize essentially no longer exists – at least not in any kind of sustainable manner, as an initial search for groceries results in a nearly 800-mile trek. Still, a combination of local small-scale farmers, home gardening, and creative menu planning gets Andrew and Rashmi through the year, at which point the film somewhat awkwardly changes course to consider just why his nostalgia-fueled dream is so unsustainable in an age of industrial farming and hyper-litigious companies like Monsanto. Grace’s generally likeable if structurally bifurcated film joins a growing body of food and farming focused docs, but is notable – for better and for worse – in its adoption of a personal essay approach, with near-constant narration that grounds it even as it feels a bit too hokey.