As a hot young filmmaker, Daryl Wein has made a name by tackling sexy subjects.
“Breaking Upwards” explored non-monogamy, based loosely on his experiences with his writing partner/wife, Zoe Lister-Jones.
“Sex Positive” followed a gay S&M sex worker who promoted safe sex at the height of the AIDS epidemic.
“Lola Versus” showcased a single woman’s journey to find herself, after breaking up with her fiance.
Wein’s latest film is about a decidedly non-sexy subject: genetically modified organisms.
But it’s as important as anything the Staples graduate has ever done.
After eating up Jim Honeycutt’s high school film and video classes, Wein honed his cinematic chops at NYU’s Tisch School, and in USC’s film and TV programs. Yet it took 7 years for “Consumed” to come to fruition.
When Wein and Lister-Jones first stumbled on the subject of GMOs, they were engrossed. From farmers battling biotech corporations to everyday Americans eating new and novel foods unknowingly, they realized they’d found a deeply interesting and complex web of intriguing ideas, just waiting to be woven into a narrative film.
Wein was stunned to learn that — unlike over 60 countries around the world — the US does not label GMO products. It’s pervasive — yet consumers have no idea (or choice) in whether or not we each such food.
Remembering great thrillers of the 1970s, the pair wanted to revisit a time when filmmakers were not afraid to blend real-world politics with story structure and character development. They wanted to create an entertaining movie — but one that raised questions about a subject that (far too quietly) impacts us all.
They made “Consumed” through their own production company, Mister Lister Films. “There was no studio or big producer behind us,” Wein says. “We had only ourselves to trust.”
They assembled an “incredible” cast of actors, then shot in rural Illinois. “After years of research, we came face to face with farmers on the frontlines of this battle,” Wein says.
Wein and his cinematographer hope the film looks “as polished, beautiful and authentic” as possible, to accentuate the beauty of rural America.
Though GMOs don’t stimulate most Americans the way marriage, non-monogamy or S&M do, Wein sees a through line between “Consumed” and his previous works. He tries to shed light on untold stories. And, he says, “I’ve always been interested in ideological debate, whether it’s personal, political or the intersection of the two.”
The Westport native calls “Consumed” a “dramatic thriller.” He presents complicated information, while maintaining strong story and character development. He synthesizes multiple story points with complex political subject matter.
Erin Brockovich has thrown her support behind the film. Senator Richard Blumenthal screened it for members of Congress. Wein and Lister-Jones are touring the country, showing it to food and environmental safety leaders.
Now Westporters can see it too.
Starting today, the film is available at www.ConsumedTheMovie.com. It’s also available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vimeo and select TV video-on-demand platforms.
Tonight (Tuesday, March 22, 7:30 p.m.), there’s a special showing at Fairfield’s Bullard Square Theater. Click here for details.
You’ll enjoy it, for sure. You learn a lot too.
Just don’t eat the popcorn.
Click below for the “Consumed” trailer: