By Lucy Beni, Contributing writer
Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz’s “SEED: The Untold Story” is a film worth watching. It is extremely informative on this surprisingly important topic: seeds. This documentary moves fluidly through its diverse collection of seed experts, ranging from caricature-like individuals who just simply love seeds that much to farmers who are merely trying to protect their generation-long farming techniques.
The movie opens with one of these caricatures of a person, pulling the viewer in through humor before the film gets serious. This man is the self-proclaimed modern day Noah, from the biblical story Noah’s Arc. However, instead of animals this man is saving the world’s diverse range of seeds. We see later in the film that this type of thing is called a seed bank and is also done by others without the humorous biblical influence. Towards the end of the film, we see a global seed vault in what looks to be the middle of nowhere in Norway. This is exactly what our modern day Noah is doing but here it is the backup of all seeds for the entire world.
As the film continues the viewer gradually understands the importance of these very few seed banks and our ever-decreasing seed diversity in the food industry. Through an assortment of artistic approaches between sessions with the seed specialists, the film describes the back-end of this issue. Different mediums are used for each of these back-end explanations, keeping the viewer thoroughly visually stimulated. A paper Claymation type approach is used to explain the evolution of corn in the United States, and then various styles of animation are used throughout the film to explain hybrid seeds and many other seed phenomena. There are of course included beautiful time-lapses of seeds transforming into plants, to satisfy that expectation in any film that has anything to do with nature these days.
It is not only the array of creative approaches that makes this film worth watching, it is also the great educational value. Many do not realize how much large corporations are tampering with our food, starting at the seed itself. This film opens our eyes to the negative effects this tampering, such as the creation of GMO seeds, has on not only our food and the land, but also on the farmers. Through interviews with New Mexican family farmers, who are simply trying to protect their land, their ordinary seeds, and their profession, and through these informative animations we learn the many effects the commercialization of seeds in the United States has had. Enormous corporations, namely Monsanto, have monopolized the seed industry. They have tricked farmers on a global scale to buy their “new and improved” GMO seeds that somewhat secretly do not reproduce themselves and thus these farmers are forever reliant upon and in their debt. While simultaneously these GMO seeds replace all other types of seeds in the fields, hence creating the importance of the seed banks.
If you would like to learn who controls the food we eat and what it is in fact that you are eating, you should watch “SEED: The Untold Story.” The capitalization of the film’s title only implies even more so the importance of the topic at hand.