Announcing Year Three for Real Food Films Contest

Christina Bronsing-Lazalde
Real Food Media


Food Movement Change Makers Raj Patel & Bryant Terry, Media Innovators at Upworthy & Vimeo Join Panel of Judges and Partners to Select Top Digital Super Shorts on Sustainable Food

SAN FRANCISCO — October 23, 2015 — In the past two years, over 300 filmmakers from around the world have entered the world’s largest short films competition for films on food, farming and sustainability. Today, Real Food Media announces the launch of its third-annual Contest year with a call for submissions of super-short films on underreported issues, unique changemakers and creative solutions to foster a broad, public conversation about solving our global food system’s most intractable problems – from hunger to diet-related illnesses to environmental crises.

Details about guidelines can be found at Submissions are due by March 1st, 2016 at 9pm PST/12 midnight EST. The top ten finalist films will be announced April 1st, 2016 at Madrone Studios in San Francisco.

Contest judges include some of the nation’s most significant leaders in food, farming and film, from restaurateur Tom Colicchio to chef and author, Bryant Terry. “Each year I enjoy judging the short film competition,” says the James Beard Foundation’s Susan Ungaro, a contest judge. “These short documentaries offer of great overview of what’s important, what’s inspiring and what’s concerning in our complicated but joyous food world.”

Awards include a $5,000 Grand Prize, $2,000 for Runner-Up and special awards for Best Cinematography, Underreported Issue, Food Producer Profile, Innovative Initiative and Animation. Media partners include film festivals and online video platform, Vimeo, bringing wide distribution opportunities for films and valuable networks for filmmakers. (See below for complete list). Winning films have been shown around the world – from a festival in Istanbul to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City to Food & Wine’s online platform. In addition, the Contest works with dozens of universities on events and special programming, including with anchor partners Occidental College (Los Angeles) and Gustolab Institute for Food Studies (Rome).

“In two years, we have been blown away by the creativity and vision of filmmakers, both seasoned and new,” said Anna Lappé, national bestselling author and Real Food Media founder. “We’ve also been delighted by the reach of our free Pop-Up Film Fests, showcasing winning films. From New Zealand to Romania to across the United States, more than 200 communities have shown these powerful films, sparking conversation worldwide.”

“My first reaction when selected as a Contest finalist was a great sense of validation and honor knowing that my film was selected by judges who are luminaries in the world of food and sustainability. And then something really interesting happened after the contest; I began getting requests to screen my film at festivals across the web and the world. It’s amazing how the Contest became the catalyst to finding an audience for my work.”
– Dustin Hughes, 2015 Finalist

“The Real Food Media Contest gets to the heart of why I make films, which is to provide new perspectives on the way we eat and grow. Not only is it a great avenue to share these films, but it is also building a network of likeminded filmmakers. We’ve collaborated with other winners of the Contest and hope to do the same this year.”
– Daniel Klein, The Perennial Plate, current Contest judge and 2014 and 2015 Prize Winner

The 2015 Contest winners – including a youth spoken word about the ravages of diabetes, a meditation on humane animal slaughter and planting peace in the Congo – are part of the free Pop-Up Film Fest lineup. More information can be found at

Contest Judges:

  • Johanna Blakley, PhD, Norman Lear Center, University of Southern California
  • Philip Bloom, filmmaker
  • Dana Cowin, Editor in Chief, Food & Wine
  • Tom Colicchio, chef and owner of Craft Restaurants and executive producer of A Place at the Table
  • Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder and CEO, International Culinary Center
  • Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, co-founders, Food52
  • Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine, filmmakers, the Perennial Plate
  • Padma Lakshmi, cookbook author, actress, model, and television host
  • Jamie Oliver Food Foundation USA
  • Davia Nelson, audio storyteller, the Kitchen Sisters
  • Michel Nischan, President and CEO, Wholesome Wave
  • Eli Pariser, co-founder, Upworthy
  • Raj Patel, best-selling author and food justice activist
  • Maria Rodale, chairman and COO, Rodale Inc.
  • Brad Simpson, film producer, Color Force
  • Bryant Terry, award winning chef, author and activist
  • Susan Ungaro, President, James Beard Foundation
  • Karen Washington, farmer and activist
  • Alice Waters, owner, Chez Panisse, founder, The Edible Schoolyard Project
  • Emily Zweber, organic farmer, first AgChat Foundation executive director

Contest Media Partners:

  • Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
  • Change Food
  • Devour! The Food Film Festival, Nova Scotia
  • Disposable Film Festival
  • Eat Drink Films
  • Edible Communities
  • Food & Wine
  • Food and Farm Film Festival
  • Food Book Fair
  • Food Day
  • Food52
  • GOOD
  • James Beard Foundation
  • Lexicon of Sustainability
  • Slow Food USA
  • SXSW Eco
  • Tastemade
  • Vimeo

Contest Advisors:

  • Haven Bourque, Founder, HavenB Media
  • Wendy Cohen, Partner and principal at Picture Motion
  • Danielle Gould, Founder and CEO, Food+Tech Connect
  • Fred Haberman, Co-founder and CEO, Haberman
  • Diane Hatz, Founder and Executive Director, Change Food
  • Saru Jayaraman, Founder and Co-director, Restaurant Opportunities Center United
  • Navina Khanna, Movement Strategy Center
  • Joann Lo, Co-director, Food Chain Workers Alliance
  • Mischa Nachtigal, Co-founder, Food + Farm Film Fest
  • Sanjay Rawal, Director, Food Chains
  • Eric Slatkin, Food + Video Director
  • Naomi Starkman, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Civil Eats 

Anchor Schools:

  • Gustolab Institute Center for Food Studies: Rome, Italy
  • Occidental College: Los Angeles, CA 

Contest School Ambassadors:

  • Berkeley Food Institute
  • Chapman University
  • Chatham University
  • Cornell Performing and Media Arts & Cornell Small Farms Program
  • DCTV
  • Green Mountain College
  • Indiana University – South Bend, Center for a Sustainable Future
  • Institute for Community Research, Food Justice Youth Corps
  • Johns Hopkins, Center for a Livable Future
  • Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy, Columbia University Teachers College
  • Shenandoah University, Blue Ridge Institute for Environmental Studies
  • Sterling College
  • The New School
  • Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy
  • UC Davis
  • UC Santa Cruz: Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems
  • University of California Los Angeles, Institute for Sustainability
  • University of Vermont


The Contest is directed by leading sustainability advocate and award-winning author Anna Lappé and is part of the Real Food Films initiative of Real Food Media. Real Food Films includes an annual contest for super-short films on food, farming and sustainability; an online video library for educators and advocates; and resources for Pop-Up Film Festivals around the world.


Real Food Media is a collaborative initiative, working with partners around the country to spark conversations about our food system, catalyze creative storytelling and connect communities for action. Real Food Media produces Real Food Films, a Food MythBusters series and other special partnerships, including the Voices of the Food Chain project with Food Chain Workers Alliance.


Twitter: @realfoodfilms

Instagram: @realfoodmedia

Facebook: realfoodmediaproject