Like the maize from which it takes its name, the documentary "King Corn" is conquering America.
The film's message — that maybe, just maybe, the U.S. is growing too much subsidized cheap grain — obviously contains enough kernels of truth to discomfort some Big Ag folk. Its run was extended in both DC and Boston, and it's finally opening in the Bay Area next week. (Read our review.) To kick off the film's screenings in Berkeley (Landmark Shattuck) and San Francisco (Red Vic), "King Corn" filmmakers Ian Cheney, Curt Ellis, and Aaron Woolfe, will be in the area participating in several cool events.
The one on Tuesday, October 30, is sure to draw hordes. Masterminded by ag activist, budding documentarian, and Ethicurean pal Severine Von Tscharner Fleming along with the SAFE student group, the guys will chat with "Omnivore's Dilemma" author Michael Pollan, who appears in the film as a sort of corn sage. Several clips from the film, plus the trailer, will be shown preceding the discussion, which will include a Q&A.
The venue, the Hillside Club at 2286 Cedar Street in Berkeley, only holds about 200 people, and there are no reserved tickets (suggested donation is $5-$15), so Severine has devised a tricky way to help the faithful get a seat. If you bring — in addition to your patience — an index card on which you have written "a shocking fact" about the food system, it will act as a sort of Fastrak pass to get you in at 7:15. Doors for dilettantes will open at 7:30. Severine's trying to coordinate a simultaneous webcast in a room or two at UC Berkeley's journalism school; those turned away from Hillside will be given a card with info about where they can go to watch it, along with the movie's local screening times.
You'll also want to catch the full screening of the film, of course, and Culinate is giving away some free tickets. You might want to make a point of going to the first show in either San Francisco or Berkeley, as we hear one or more of the filmmakers will be on hand to introduce the film and answer questions. Those of you who live elsewhere, check the "King Corn" website for details of other venues and showtimes.
Rule on, "King Corn"!