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by Indiewire
January 15, 2014 2:10 PM
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Meet the 2014 Sundance Filmmakers #26: Stephanie Soechtig is Sick of the System and Serves Up 'Fed Up'

"Fed Up," a 2014 Sundance Premiere

Stephanie Soechtig directed and produced the documentary "Tapped" (2009) as her directorial debut, bringing it to film festivals across the country and picking up six awards for Best Documentary Feature. She began her career in television, producing documentaries for "20/20," "Primetime Live," "The O’Reilly Factor" and "VH1." In 2008, she joined forces with Michael and Michelle Walrath to start the production company, Atlas Films.

What it's about: "FED UP blows the lid off everything we thought we knew about our food system and weight loss."

What it's really about: "How messed up our food system is. This film started as a movie about childhood obesity and I've seen it described as that, but this film is about how corporations have dictated what we eat and how our government let them do so to the detriment of our health, and worse yet, our children's health. You don't have to have weight problems to care about the issue - if you eat food you need to see this film. 'Fed Up' will show you that all the things you hold as fundamental truths about food are really unsubstantiated marketing claims- we've all been brainwashed."

Biggest challenge: "Interweaving the narrative with the talking head experts. There was so much information we needed to convey yet we also had these great kids we needed the audience to invest in. It was an incredibly difficult balance to get right without creating a 3 hour film. It was incredibly challenging but I think after much trial and error we finally nailed it!"

Any films inspire you? "Tons of films inspire me! Coincidentally, the film that inspired me to become a documentary filmmaker for a living was a food movie I saw as a teenager called 'Diet for a New America.' But more recent films that inspire me are 'Exit Through the Gift Shop,' 'Food, Inc.,' 'The Invisible War,' 'Blackfish,' 'Inside Job,' and 'The Lottery.'"

Cameras used: "We shot mostly on the 5D with Zeiss Primes. Towards the end though, we switched to the Sony F3 because the Canon was tough to use for the run-and-gun shoots."

Did you crowdfund? "No we did not."

Hopes for Sundance audience take-away: "I want the audience to leave the film with a burning desire to start a revolution. It doesn't have to be a national revolution - I'd settle for small personal revolutions in Americans' own homes, but I want them to leave angry and feeling like they've been duped and that they will never look at the cheese aisle of a grocery store the same way again. I want them to be counting the teaspoons of sugar in seemingly innocent products, and I want them to see how often corporations lie to consumers claiming junk food is 'fat free' and an 'excellent source of whole grains.'" 

What's next? "The real work begins now to try to make the film available and seen by as many people as possible."

Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2014 festival. For profiles go HERE.

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