There are not many filmmakers who openly wish their movie to “be seen by people who don’t know and don’t care” about the subject matter it deals with. But that is exactly what GMO OMG (2013) director Jeremy Seifert is quoted as saying in a recent interview* about his breakout hit. Through this creative documentary, he wants to have a major impact on America’s flailing food industry – and failing that, raise awareness for future generations about a vital issue that is affecting us all in contemporary society.
GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. Should you not know much about them, or worse, have never even heard of such things (through no fault of your own but simply because major food corporations would rather hide the concept from you), then this film has been made precisely for you. Yes, you! Seifert has been firm about that; it isn’t about pandering to those who are already convinced. This attitude comes through clearly in his documentary, and for that it deserves great credit.
GMO OMG builds from the ground up. Crucially not taking its audience for granted, it sets the context for how GMO’s originated through an entertaining animated sequence accompanied by Seifert’s voiceover. From here it continues along a logical path that brings us to an undeniable conclusion about their potential harm to our future as a species. Sounds a little melodramatic I know, but the documentary never feels like it’s running away with itself. This is a product concerned primarily with normal people in everyday life, and it reinforces its point only as much as it needs to.
Seifert as both narrator and filmmaker is convincing not through any great charisma shown onscreen or flashy camera techniques behind it (creative instances such as the aforementioned animation are expressions artfully used to keep you going through a 90 minute running time), but in his sheer emotion and honesty. Here is a man motivated by the need to secure a healthy future for his children rather than any personal ideology. You feel their occasional presence in the movie is not necessarily for sentimental purposes, but is merely a sign of a loving father who finds it hard being separated from them.
To go into too much detail about the documentary’s content would be to steal Seifert’s thunder, as he does such an excellent job himself of covering the issue within GMO OMG’s superbly paced narrative. I would stop just short of labeling it ‘must see’ for everyone, if only because I know there are those of you out there who dislike the very idea of documentaries. But I would urge in this case not to let that stop you. Here is a film that you may just be doing yourself – and those you care about – an injustice by missing.
9 / 10.
*This interview is a great accompaniment to the film, or even something to watch first before deciding if you want to know more about the issue. Here is the link to it on YouTube.