Filmmaker Jeremy Seifert has returned to teach the world about food again, but this time he is not talking about dumpster diving. (Dive! 2010) This time Seifert is taking us on his journey as he learns about GMOs in his new documentary GMO OMG.
Like his previous film, Seifert has a lot of good investigative and eye-opening information in this documentary. He and his team travel the within America, Haiti, France, and Norway to discover what GMOs really are and what damage these products are to the Earth and to its population. Seifert visits a well-rounded group of people on both sides of the issue, from farmers who are using Roundup Ready seeds, to the world’s largest seed bank located deep inside a mountain near the Arctic circle. As in many documentaries that tackle big business, the big corporations won’t talk to him or even have their representatives talk to him. The closest Seifert gets to talking to the big boys is when he gets an interview (and a free hat) from a big seed salesman.
GMO OMG has great graphics, animation, music and tells a good story. However for me there was something lacking that was much more present in Dive! and that is Seifert’s sense of humor. I know that Seifert is looking into dark health and environmental risks, but the overall tone of the film is just grim. Even when he does show the audience glimmers of hope, they are not enough to counter the doomsday tone of the overall documentary. And while I understand that Seifert is trying to educate himself in the film as well as his wife and three young children; at times he comes off as a dad who would rather his kids be over informed instead of having a childhood. Various times throughout, he has his two young sons hold GMO signs in front of places or corporations where GMOs are found. Those shots felt really heavy-handed, and as if he were using them to get the emotional reaction from the audience. As much as Seifert explains GMOs to his children, it feel presumptuous to think that his two sons (four and six years old) really understand why they are holding that sign.
The information in GMO OMG is important, but I think Seifert could have left out what comes across as border-line conspiracy at times. After watching this documentary, I definitely feel better informed, but I also feel like I’ve been a bit emotionally manipulated. But like Dive!, I am still happy that I watched GMO OMG, because I always feel like I learn from Jeremy Seifert. He has the ability to make large topics very digestible even if he doesn’t always have the ability to make me feel hopeful.