Sunshine Coast-based documentarist Liz Marshall’s prize-winning 2020 film, Meat the Future, has received a huge boost, with renowned conservationist Jane Goodall and musician and activist Moby joining the production of a repackaged version of the film, soon to be released worldwide.
Marshall told Coast Reporter that Moby, the American singer-songwriter and animal-rights advocate who has sold more than 20 million records, approached her about a year ago after hearing about the documentary.
Marshall sent him a link. “He got back right away and said, ‘I love this film. How can I help?’” Marshall said. “One thing led to the next and he officially became an executive producer on the film.” In addition to providing four songs for the repackaged documentary, Marshall said Moby “opened the door” to Jane Goodall.
“She ended up being the narrator, which of course, opens up the film to a much wider demographic,” said Marshall. “[Goodall is] an elder in the world and has that iconic voice and presence and is respected across all party lines. It was just such an honour.”
Meat the Future, which Marshall began in 2016, follows Dr. Uma Valeti, a Mayo Clinic-trained cardiologist, as he pursues his vision of “a world where real meat is produced sustainably without the need to breed, raise, and slaughter animals,” a film press release said. “Cultivated meat is a food innovation that grows real meat from animal cells and it’s now within reach.”
Valeti is the co-founder and CEO of Upside Foods (previously Memphis Meats), which, as the film documents, eventually produces cultivated-beef meatballs – at $18,000 per pound! We also see the company’s labs produce chicken and duck meat.
Within a few years, however, the cost of production plummets and meat-industry resistance mounts to the threat posed by a viable, fully compassionate method of high-protein manufacturing. (It’s estimated that animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined. And meat consumption is expected to double by 2050.)
The initial version of the film was released only in Canada (still viewable on CBC Gem) and was entered in national and international film festivals and award programs where it earned a half-dozen prizes and nominations. But even domestically, it has yet to get the attention it might, thanks to the pandemic.
“We got caught in that COVID-19 trajectory that a bunch of other global films got caught in as well,” Marshall said. “Very few of them actually saw the light of day in terms of either having a theatrical release or getting a good sale and distributor. We were one of the titles that decided to hold back (on international release) and wait for something better.”
Included in the repackaged film are updates about new climate change initiatives and recent technical and regulatory progress made by Upside Foods.
Marshall said she expects that an international launch plan will be in place within the next several weeks.
“I hope that the film really can do what it’s meant to do in the world,” she said, “which is to be seen by a global audience, to open hearts and minds to look at something that is possible.”