Oct. 15--The Gig Harbor Film Festival kicks off Thursday with its opening gala and a timely film for Washington state.
"GMO OMG" explores the controversy over genetically modified organisms -- specifically those used in food for human consumption. The subject is in the news because Initiative 522, which seeks to label food containing GMO products, will be on the November ballot.
The measure has attracted the most money in state history ($17.2 million) to defeat an initiative.
The 93-minute documentary was made by Jeremy Seifert, who showed his documentary on dumpster diving for free food, "DIVE!, Living Off America's Waste," at the festival in 2009.
"GMO OMG" chronicles Seifert's quest for food that is not genetically modified. He gets into the offices of agricultural giant Monsanto, where he is ejected Michael Moore-style. Monsanto is one of the top donors to the No on I-522 campaign.
"DIVE!" was shot on a $200 budget. Seifert's budget and technical know-how have increased for "GMO." Seifert makes no attempt to hide that he's an activist, and the film comes down squarely against GMOs. He claims 85 percent of all processed foods contain GMOs.
Seifert acknowledges that there is no scientific proof that GMOs are harmful, but his take is that consumers have a right to know what they are eating.
Festival executive director Marty Thacker says the film will be presented without commentary or a question-and-answer session because of the upcoming election.
"We're going to let the audience make up their own mind," she said.
The festival kicks off in earnest Oct. 18 and features 70 independent films. More than 20 filmmakers will participate in Q&A and panel discussions. Several of the films are military themed, Thacker said.
After the film screening at the Galaxy Uptown Theatre, the festivities continue at an afterparty at Canterwood Golf & Country Club. Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry and Purple Heart recipient Sue Downes will be honored at the event. Both were seriously wounded and lost limbs while serving in Afghanistan. Downes appears in one of the films showing at the festival, "SERVICE: When Women Come Marching Home."
The festival continues through Oct. 20 at the Galaxy Uptown Theatre.
GIG HARBOR FILM FESTIVAL OPENING NIGHT GALA
When: 5 p.m. Thursday
Where: Galaxy Uptown Theatre (4649 Point Fosdick Drive NW, Gig Harbor) and Canterwood Golf & Country Club (12606 54th Ave. NW, Gig Harbor)
Information: 253-851-3456, gigharborfilmfestival.org; gmofilm.com
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