Announcing the 2016 Real Food Films Winners

May 2, 2016


Christina Bronsing-Lazalde
Director of Programs + Partnerships
Real Food Media

Real Food Media Announces Winners of 2016 Food and Farming Short Film Competition 

Award-Winning Films That Stir Hearts, Minds, and Action for a Better Food System

SAN FRANCISCO — May 2, 2016 — A stunning diversity of food and farming stories win top honors in the third annual Real Food Films Contest, the food movement’s first and only competition for short films about sustainable food and farming. Founded by author and advocate Anna Lappé, the Real Food Films Contest received 160 submissions from 20 countries this year. Films were required to be four minutes or under and feature original voices that lift up underreported stories at the heart of the food movement. Film styles ranged from documentaries to advocacy films to spoken word poetry shorts. Real Food Films’ prestigious panel of judges—including Padma Lakshmi, author Raj Patel, James Beard Foundation’s Susan Ungaro, and chef Tom Colicchio—selected the prizes from the top ten finalists.

The 2016 Grand Prize winner is Home Flavored a haunting story of how soda companies impact the lives of Latino families in the United States. Contest judge, Raj Patel, described the film as a “powerful fusion of slam poetry, documentary, essay, argument and anthropology. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the screen, and couldn’t wait to hear the next line… It’s the kind of filmmaking that’ll get food issues to a far wider audience.”

Directed by Jamie DeWolf from Oakland, California, Home Flavored features spoken word poet Monica Mendoza and was produced with The Bigger Picture, a collaboration between Youth Speaks and the University of California San Francisco Center for Vulnerable Populations designed to combat the epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes by empowering youth to change the conversation.

Real Food Films media partners — the James Beard Foundation, Slow Food USA, Vimeo among others — will promote the 10 finalist films online and at in-person events around the country. All the films are free to watch online or at more than 50 Pop-Up Film Fests to be hosted around the country. The entire Real Food Films library, of more than 70 captivating short films, is viewable at 

Additional Prizes include:

First Runner Up + Best Cinematography: Naturali Tea | Jeremy Seifert, Aaron Stair
Fujieda, Japan
After water, tea is the number one consumed beverage in the world. An organic Japanese tea farmer with over three decades of experience shows that soil health is essential for the environment and the future of tea.

Lens On Hunger Award: Everybody Eats | Justinian Dispenza, Tanner Presswood
Boone, North Carolina
Addressing hunger with dignity, pay-as-you-can cafes are popping up across the world. This film tells the story of one innovative, and delicious, alternative to conventional hunger relief efforts and reveals the resiliency and compassion of community at the same time.

People’s Choice Award + Best Student Film: Beyond the Seal | Leah Varjacques and Katherine Nagasawa
El Oro Province, Ecuador
Beyond the Seal peels back our understanding on the most eaten fruit in the United States–the banana–uncovering its toxic production and the people behind a movement to change the industry.

Best Underreported Issue: Saving Sap | Ian Maclellan, Eloise Reed, Dylan Ladds
Loudon, New Hampshire
A story of how climate change touches food, Saving Sap tells the tale of maple syrup tapping in New England and efforts to adapt to a warming world.

Best Food Producer Profile: Farmed with Love | Wang Yu, Li Yang
Shanghai, China
Fed up with food safety problems in China, a mother in Shanghai returns to the farm to help rebuild her trust in the local food system through organic farming.

Best Innovative Initiative: The Kelly Street Garden | Alison Hall Kibbe, Rebecca Scheckman, Sasha Phyars-Burgess, Seyi Adebanjo, Tiana Thomas, Rosalba Lopez Ramirez
South Bronx, New York City
Can a group of dedicated residents rebuild trust and community connections? The Kelly Street Garden in New York City’s South Bronx shows what’s possible when individuals dig deep and commit to transforming neighborhoods through art, wellness – and fresh, healthy food.

Best Animation: Save the Bees | Marta Topolska, Mark Mos
United States
Bees are responsible for one in three bites of food we eat. They are key to healthy ecosystems, plants and agriculture. This short animation tells the story behind dwindling bee populations, and asks us to take action.


Real Food Films sparks conversation about food, farming, and sustainability around the world through an international film competition and engaging public events. Real Food Films is an initiative of the Real Food Media, harnessing media and storytelling to educate, inspire and grow the movement for sustainable food and farming via this online film Contest, grassroots events, a web-based action center and strategic partnerships. Follow us on Twitter @realfoodfilms, Instagram @realfoodmedia and like us on Facebook at Real Food Media.