Documenting Southern Foodways in Film – 2017
These films were completed as part of Southern Foodways Alliance Pihakis Film Fellow Ava Lowrey’s Spring 2017 Documenting Southern Foodways Course, Southern Studies 598.
Part of It, A Film by Victoria De Leone
Victoria De Leone’s description of her film:
Joseph Hosey has spent almost all of his life in and around the woods. The Jones County native spent his early childhood picking dewberries and plums with his brothers, and climbing any tree he could wrap his arms around. That adventurous spirit and keen interest in the workings of nature has been translated into a succession of passion projects, from herpatology to bass fishing to forestry and, finally, to foraging. Joseph now spends most of his spare time identifying, learning about and harvesting native species that grow in South Mississippi. He calls this food source “beyond organic”, and has become a spokesperson both for Jones County’s complicated history and it’s bounty of native edibles.
I found Joseph through his role as a spokesperson. I thought I would be making a film about foraging — the plants and animals that make up a foraged diet. Upon meeting Joseph, however, my conception of the project shifted. Through numerous trips down to Jones County to get to know Joseph, and foraging trips in his native woods, I found myself making a film about the sense of place one can only find in one’s home place, and what it means to see the land as a character, not just an object.
Part Of It is the first film that I’ve produced and edited on my own. Working on this project, and Ava Lowrey’s class as a whole, allowed me to become comfortable with juggling all the equipment that is required to make a film. Through trial and error I also learned to think like a documentarian, allowing my filming to be flexible and impulsive in what I’m shooting and letting what I capture tell the story, instead of walking in with a story in mind.
Food for Thought, A Film by Rebecca Lauck Cleary
Rebecca Lauck Cleary’s description of her film:
This semester I worked on Food for Thought, a film about the Good Food for Oxford Schools program. Their mission is to leverage farm-to-school principles to bring local produce in the cafeterias while simultaneously educating students and their families on the importance of eating well. Education includes classroom lessons linking seeds to plants to meals at the elementary level, and the creation of food-themed clubs for students at the middle and high schools. Work with families includes healthy and delicious cooking classes, shared meals, and experiential learning in grocery stores, at farmers markets, and at area farms.
Sharing the story of Good Food for Oxford Schools is important to me because I want everyone to see the value of the program. Due to the severity of our state’s obesity epidemic, getting children to learn from a young age about healthy eating is critical. I think Good Food for Oxford Schools does a genuinely important job, and I want to showcase their efforts. Eleanor Green, the program director, is my main interview subject, and I also went to a cooking class at the high school as well as the Sprout Scouts after-school program, where I learned the challenges of filming a rowdy group of elementary students on a windy day in the garden.
My role as a filmmaker developed this spring as I learned to stop being afraid of the equipment. I was extremely nervous at the beginning, but as the weeks progressed, I started to relax and enjoy the process. It’s exhilarating for me to show a narrative through the camera lens instead of only words on paper.