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Victoria Film Festival 2011 Interview - "Food Security" director Nick Versteeg

Food Security - At VFF '11!
by Jason Whyte

"Food Security will be the most discussed topic in the coming years when food prices will rise and a majority of the people want to know where their food come from and what’s in it." Director Nick Versteeg on "Food Security: Simple and Safe: it's in Your Hands" which screens at this year's Victoria Film Festival.

Is this your first film at the Victoria Film Festival? Tell me about your festival experience, and if you plan to attend Victoria for the film’s screenings.

Yes, this is the first time we launch a new documentary at the Victoria Film Festival. I will be there to introduce the film and be available for questions after the screening.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background, and what led you to the industry.

I have been in the industry for the past thirty years. I have created documentaries for A&E, Discovery Channel and worked ten years with the Food Network in Canada and the US.

Since moving from Vancouver to Vancouver Island I have been creating documentaries and short programs on our world of food, "Island on The Edge" "The Edible school Garden" with a goal to bring these directly to our audience at town-hall meetings, followed by discussions after.

How did this whole project come together?

It started when showing our last documentary Island on the Edge at 33 town-hall meetings on Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and even into the US. Many questions came up during the discussions after the showing of the movie. The new show is trying to answer most of those questions, and also to create a dialogue on what we all can do to change agriculture and to encourage people to look at agriculture as a profession.

Please tell me about the technical side of the film; your relation to the film’s cinematographer, what the film was shot on and why it was decided to be photographed this way.

The documentary is shot in HD. Because the film is heavy on interviews we decided to create a lighter beautiful shot story around this.

Out of the entire production, what was the most difficult aspect of making this film? Also, what was the most pleasurable moment?

To stay focussed and to think about the viewer. How would he or she react to a subject that many people might find not very exciting but all of us should learn about. The most pleasurable moment was filming at a school in Malawi where we built an edible school garden with the children there,. The tools they used where bricks made of clay and water, and the fence around the garden made of straw and bamboo, which was held together with pieces of thin cut rubber from old bicycle tires.

Who would you say your biggest inspirations are in the film world? Did you have any direct inspirations from filmmakers for this film in particular?

I always have been impressed by the way that the cinematography is done in Steven Spielberg’s films. How he creates transitions like in "The Color Purple" and "Schindler’s List". Music is also very important. I would say going back a long time but Ennio Moricone and the music in “ A Rivers Runs Through It” always inspires me.

How has the film been received at other festivals or screenings? Do you have any interesting stories about how this film has screened before? What do you think you will expect at the film’s screenings at Victoria?

This is the world premiere so I leave this up to the viewer. I expect a lot of questions!

If you weren’t making movies, what other line or work do you feel you’d be in?

I would be working full time at our hobby farm.

How important do you think the critical/media response is to film these days, be it a large production, independent film or festival title?

The media can make or break your film. I put my trust into an educated audience who
will let you know if they liked the story.

If your film could play in any movie theatre in the world, which one would you choose?

It would not be a theatre! It would be a showing to all MP’s in Ottawa, and all MLA’s in every province to make them aware of how important agriculture is to our country.

If you could offer a nickel’s worth of free advice to someone who wanted to make movies, what nuggets of wisdom would you offer?

Stay true to your profession, treat your audience and the subjects with respect. Tell your stories with passion.

What do you love the most about film and the filmmaking business?

Telling stories, meeting people who care about what they do and show the beauty and sometimes the hardship that surrounds us.

What would you do or say to someone who is talking or being disruptive during a

Maybe you should watch this movie at home!

A question that is easy for some but not for others and always gets a different response: what is your favourite film of all time?

There are so many great movies but to stick with the food theme “Like Water for Chocolate"; gorgeously filmed, you can smell the food and it shows that people can express their passion through food.

"Food Security" is Victoria Film Festival's Canadian Opening Gala, screening Saturday, February 5th, 7pm at the Odeon.

This is one of the official selections in this year’s Victoria Film Festival lineup. For more information on films screening at this year’s fest, showtimes, updates and other general info, point your browser to

Be sure to follow instant happenings of VFF ’11 on my Twitter account @jasonwhyte, including mini-reviews of films, comments on festival action and even a Tweetphoto or two. #vicfilmfestival is the official hashtag.

Jason Whyte,

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originally posted: 02/05/11 20:47:45
last updated: 02/05/11 20:48:58
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