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(article, Kim Carlson)
[%adInjectionSettings noInject=true] Pop some corn; it’s movie time. Here are three shorts and a full-length feature for your viewing pleasure. h3. Floods on farms [[html. <embed class='left' style="width:400px; height:326px;" id="VideoPlayback" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=5538523400503764394&hl=en" flashvars="" > </embed> ]] This short film is about organic farmers in Minnesota and Wisconsin whose crops were wiped out during floods in August. (Remarkably, some of these same farmers are facing even more dire problems this month.) [[html. <!-- Bit of extra space --> <p class='cleft'><br /></p> ]] h3. Prison food conference [[html. <!-- 486 x 412 --> <embed class='left' src="http://services.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federatedf8/271557392" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashVars="videoId=1182700684&playerId=271557392&viewerSecureGatewayURL=https://services.brightcove.com/services/amfgateway&servicesURL=http://services.brightcove.com/services&cdnURL=http://admin.brightcove.com&domain=embed&autoStart=false" base="http://admin.brightcove.com" name="flashObj" width="400" height="326" seamlesstabbing="false" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" swLiveConnect="true" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1ProdVersion=ShockwaveFlash"></embed> ]] This one, from Slate, is about a conference of people who buy foods for prisons. [[html. <!-- Bit of extra space --> <p class='cleft'><br /></p> ]] h3. Robert Reynolds [[html. <!-- 425 x 350 --> <object class='left' width="400" height="326"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/KHw7RDDZoA"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/K_Hw7RDDZoA" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="400" height="326"></embed></object> ]] And finally, here's one by the charming and indefatigable Robert Reynolds, a chef here in Portland, Oregon, who has a way with eggs. [[html. <p class='cleft'><br /></p> ]] I don’t know about you, but the entire farm film made me feel ever more grateful for and eager to support farmers. And the scene at the end of the prison-food film where a woman says, “Prison systems’ nutritional requirements are a lot higher than our schools' \[requirements\],” made me cringe. Chef Reynolds? He just made me smile. h3. Feature attraction But the movie that we’re perhaps most excited about right now, the royalty of our movie list as it were, is "King Corn," which will be released in theaters beginning October 12. [%image spitting float=right width=400 caption=(Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis just can't love the corn they've grown, in "King Corn.")] "King Corn" is part road-trip film, part documentary, part horror flick — and all wake-up call. Two friends, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, graduate from college and decide to move to Iowa — where they both have roots a few generations back — to plant corn. Why corn? Anyone who’s read The Omnivore's Dilemma knows that corn makes up the bulk of the modern American diet. And that's not sweet corn I'm talking about. It's cheap corn. Cheap corn makes it possible to confine cattle in feed lots, where they're fattened up in record time. There’s no time wasted grazing; the modern steer just stands around and eats corn all day. As one scientist in the movie says, the muscle tissue from these animals looks more like fat than muscle. And America’s favorite meat, hamburger? “Hamburger meat really isn’t meat,” he says. “It’s fat disguised as meat.” (Besides the issue of why the meat on these cows is not so good for us, the film also touches on the depressing lives of these cows, who spend their last three to four months standing shoulder to shoulder in cow waste waiting to be fed more corn.) High-fructose corn syrup, which is used to sweeten everything from fruit juice and sodas to catsup and Jack Daniels Honey Mustard, is another big source of corn in our collective diet. Americans eat and drink so much of the stuff that it’s begun to contribute to the health problems we're all so familiar with, such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Part of the trailer for "King Corn" is an exhaustive catalog of the foods we eat that contain corn. Take a look for yourself: h3. "King Corn" trailer [[html. <object width="425" height="339"><param name="movie" value="http://www.movieweb.com/v/V07I67afjxzEIN"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.movieweb.com/v/V07I67afjxzEIN" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="339"></embed></object> ]] But besides all that, the film is also a testament to the power of what happens when two regular guys begin to ask questions about something so basic — and yet often so mysterious — as the food we eat. We hope you’ll join us over the next few weeks as "King Corn" co-producer Curt Ellis — that's Curt diving down the mountain of corn in the trailer — blogs on Culinate about the film's openings around the U.S. Check the "King Corn" schedule for theater details. I, for one, can't wait to hear what Curt's got to say about the stuff we're made of.