FOOD, INC. - Why It’s Important To Watch This Movie

June 23, 2009 · Posted in Inspiring People , Trends & Style · Comment

Last weekend I watched FOOD, INC. - the movie that takes a critical look at the US food industry. Filmmaker Robert Kenner happened to be at the screening at Hollywood’s Laemmle Theatre on Sunset and answered questions from the audience. And there were many questions. Most people wanted to know, after seeing the movie, what they can do to a) change their eating habits to consuming healthier food and to b) help raise awareness and press for better legislation.

Robert Kenner's documentary FOOD, INC.

Robert Kenner's documentary FOOD, INC.

Hungry for Change

Let me be frank, the movie is (in parts) not easy on the eye and that’s exactly why it is so powerful . It made me, as a viewer, “hungry for change”! (Note: I shopped at the local farmer’s market last Sunday and will continue to do so from now on.) So what’s the movie about? And what makes it so powerful? Here’s the filmmakers own description from the official movie website :

“In FOOD, INC., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli-the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising-and often shocking truths-about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.”

10 Things You Can Do

10 Things You and I Can Do

Robert Kenner could answer all of the questions the audience at the Laemmle Theatre were asking that night. Of course, the road to a healthier food system won’t be an easy travel, but what Kenner pointed out is that contrary to common belief - we, as consumers, have the power to change the system. If we demand healthier, better food on our dining table, the industry must deliver. “We do make the choice 3 times a day”, Kenner said at the Los Angeles screening. “We choose what we eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” And in order to make it easier for you and me to help change our food system, Kenner’s team came up with a fantastic website that includes many practical tips on how we can all participate on our journey to healthier food. In addition, healthy food mavericks can join TakePart , a movement that has started around the movie which is aiming at educating people about healthier food choices. And if you really want it broken down to 10 easy tips on how you can get involved, Kenner has those on the happy healthy menu as well.

Why German Actors Are Not Successful in Hollywood…And What We Can Learn From It

June 17, 2009 · Posted in Inspiring People · 5 Comments

I just watched a very insightful interview with Hollywood Acting Coach Bernard Hiller on the German news site . Andreas Renner from “Renner’s Hollywood” and his production house StarfishLA sat down with Bernard Hiller , who has trained superstars like George Clooney , Brad Pitt , and Cameron Diaz , and talked about the secret of becoming a successful Hollywood actor.

Successful Actors Never Stop Learning

Well, the truth is probably not too much of a secret but rather a very practical advice: Hiller said that successful Hollywood actors have one thing in common and that is they never stop learning . Seasoned actors like Dustin Hoffman or Al Pacino still work with an acting coach which is why they are so excellent - and why German actors are not.

Germans Think Too Negative

Hiller said the reason why German actors don’t make it in Hollywood (with a few exceptions e.g. Diane Kruger) is not because of their German accent or because of the fact they’re German but because of their negative attitude.  The acting coach remarked that successful actors in Hollywood have a passion for their craft and possess endless energy to follow their goal no matter what. If an actor isn’t ready to face and overcome obstacles that will be put in his or her way then, Hiller said, they don’t even need to come out to Hollywood. They should just stay where they are.

A True Star Acts Like a Star

Finally, Hiller said that people like Brad Pitt or George Clooney are real stars because they are stars in real life. They give to people in need; they remain down-to-earth and nice which makes them likable not only by their audience but also by directors, producers and other industry professionals they’re working with. No one wants to work with a narcissistic jerk on set.

Success Can Be Learned

What’s great about Bernard Hiller’s comments is that everyone can learn from them, whether you’re an actor, a German actor or a working professional in another industry. A negative attitude probably won’t get anyone very far. And if we don’t believe in us and our product, then who will? Finally, if you’re a genuinely nice person that’s fun to be around with - then the world will be your playground and doors will open for you. Pssst….just don’t do it like the Germans in Hollywood ;)  - do it like Brad Pitt or George Clooney. And never stop learning…

June 8, 2009 · Posted in Online Media ·

The news release by the International Media Dialogue Hamburg that took place on 8 June 2009 did not paint a rosy picture about Germany’s media industry. Here is what it read:

“No Future for Paid Content? Media Industry under Pressure” - the motto of the International Media Dialogue Hamburg taking place on 8 June 2009 is a combination between punk and management jargon. The issue itself, however, is serious: people increasingly obtain their information from the Internet, and they do not want to pay for the content that they find. And what is more, the advertising revenue generated by broadcasters and publishers are rather modest. The big business is made by search engines such as Google . And thus it is not surprising that Mathias Döpfner, Chief Executive Officer of the publishing house Axel Springer - they also publish the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper - is holding the key note at this year’s congress. He only recently brought the topic of an intellectual property right fee for media content provided on the Internet up for discussion. Among the other participants are media manager Bernd Buchholz ( Gruner + Jahr ), Scott McDonald (Condé Nast, New York) and editors-in-chief Giovanni di Lorenzo (”Zeit”), Matthias Müller von Blumencron ( “Spiegel” ) and Ulrich Reitz (”WAZ”) as well as Dagmar Wöhrl , State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Economics. For the first time, Mayor Ole von Beust will say more than just a few welcoming words. He will contribute the introductory statement to the discussion focusing on the issue: “Does the media industry need a stimulus similar to the “scrapping premium”?”.

freieHONNEFER: Feared by Traditional Media

German Media Giants: Fear for Losing their Voice to Others

I bet there was a lot of talk today about how to overcome the crisis. The big bosses of German traditional media live in fear these days. With good reason? Without doubt, one thing to be concerned about are intellectual property issues on the Internet. I wouldn’t want another blogger take one of my blog posts and paste it word for word into their blog. And I’m sure we all agree on the fact that that’s just not right. However, what the established media giants fear more than anything else is losing their voice to other news sources that are smaller, generally more critical, and less fearful of the political establishment. All those blogs and Internet newspapers that are now slowly finding their way into the German media market (and mind me, Germany is far behind the US with regards to the online news revolution) attract readers - readers that the established giants would like to have, but can’t get (yet).

The Future Lies in a Change of Attitude

Yes, the leaders of Germany’s “old” media companies need to worry about readers flocking to the Internet to find information there instead of reading a good old printed newspaper or watching the evening news on TV. And yes, advertising revenues are crumbling.  BUT, excuse me, if all these German media giants keep on viewing new media and the Internet in general as a threat and not as an opportunity, then how should they not be living in fear. So long as conservative thinking and skepticism in the executive offices is not replaced by forward-thinking optimism, Germany’s old school publishing houses will never be able to brush the dust off and seek partnerships and potential cooperations with all those new enterprises that are about to conquer the market. The future lies in a towards online news sources, blogs and so-called Internet entrepreneurs. If Germany’s top media executives find a way to open their heart to the young and the restless on the German media market (and start inviting them to such events like a Media Dialogue), only then will they be able to actually a) have a dialogue and b) overcome their fear for their own downfall.

Or how do you see this, my dear readers? Are the traditional media really doomed? Or is there a chance for traditional and new media to successfully come together and prosper?





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