Lunar Afternoon: The Future of Food – A failure of the imagination

Thursday 30th April at 2.30pm

The fact that we’ve been doing things wrong and change needs to happen, is now front and centre of many discussions for so many of us during the lockdown.  In order for our food supply to be sustainable, we need businesses that can viably sustain themselves. Part of that process, will inevitably involve marketing and communicating effectively.

Brighton based filmmaker, Matt Hopkins, is one of a growing number of creatives, who’ve risen to this challenge. He produced a short film, on the zero waste restaurant Silo. The resulting film A Failure of the Imagination, is a really inspiring piece that demonstrates perfectly, what is achievable with real determination and passion.

A Failure of the Imagination

Q&A with Matt Hopkins

AF: Matt, tell us a little about your background?
MH: “I’m a filmmaker from Brighton who works across documentary and commercials and I’m also founder of my own production company, The Progress Film Company as well as England Your England, the short film series of which A Failure of the Imagination is part of.”

AF: What’s the background to the film?
MH: “A Failure of the Imagination documents 5 years in the life of Silo – the UK’s first restaurant to not have a bin – and in essence, is a film about using creativity as a weapon to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues, being prepared to fail, and never ever giving up.”

AF: What were your motivations?
MH: “When Silo opened, I was interested to learn more in general, but over time (I spent 4 years making the film) and learning from Doug, I’ve become much more interested in food systems, zero waste and so many issues which are addressed in the film.   Aside from the environmental elements, I also wanted to make a film about the running of a business – the ups and downs and the perseverance needed to succeed.”

AF: What, if any, challenges did you face, that were unique to this approach to filmmaking?
MH: “Visualising waste was the biggest challenge.  Waste is hidden in modern society and it took a lot of persuading and false starts to get me into the waste processing plant to shoot the visuals which open the film.  Those images allowed us to contextualise the scale of the waste problem here in the UK and hopefully jolted the audiences attention right at the start of the film.“

AF: Environmental films have become a sub genre in their own right. Do you have any predictions for how this may evolve in the future?
MH: “I’m not sure how they will evolve but I’d love to see them appear from the fringes and into the mainstream as much as possible.   Mainstream entertainment has always focused on escapism and audiences don’t want to be hit with depressing facts about the environment at the end of their day.  So we’ve got to be as creative as possible to make these stories entertaining and not abrasive – creating work that leaves the audience inspired is going to be important I think.”

AF: Obviously, the events we are now living through, have focused a lot of minds on how our lifestyle impacts the planet. What do you think the benefits of this will be going forward?
MH: “The current situation is scary on many levels, but it’s also going to make us ask a lot of questions about our systems moving forward and hopefully it will create opportunities for models like Silo to become more widespread.   International supply chains are certainly going to become more strained, so food sovereignty with a focus on domestic rather than international farming is hopefully going to prevail.  There are a lot of innovators out there within the environmental communities and now is the time for them to step up and put their ideas into action.”

You can see more of Matt’s work at The Progress Film Company

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