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A Place At The Table Film Essay

A Place at the Table was produced by Participant Media, the same company that also produced other popular documentaries like Food, Inc. and Waiting for Superman.

In addition to stories of real individuals struggling with food insecurity, the documentary also includes interviews with a variety of food policy experts and activists.

Find out more information about the documentary here:

A summary of the documentary:

Fifty million people in the U.S.—one in four children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examine the issue of hunger in America through the lens of three people struggling with food insecurity: Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two kids; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calories her hardworking mother can afford.

Ultimately, A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides — as they have in the past — that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all.

A few of the featured individuals include:

Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics

Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved

Tom Colicchio, Chef and Co-Host of Top Chef

Dr. Mariana Chilton, Founder of Witnesses to Hunger

Janet Poppendieck, Author of Sweet Charity?

Ken Cook, President of Environment Working Group

Joel Berg, Executive Director of NYC Coalition Against Hunger

Jeff Bridges, Actor and Activist

James McGovern, U.S. Representative from Massachusetts/Co-Chair Congressional Hunger Center

Bill Shore, Chairman and CEO of Share our Strength

What the Critics Are Saying:

“The film explains with devastating simplicity why so many go hungry in a country with more than enough food to go round.” — London Evening Standard

“Filmmakers Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush present these facts in A HIGHLY POLISHED PACKAGE, intercutting real-life stories of people struggling to find sufficient food with interviews with policy experts and celebrities who have made hunger their cause” — The Salt Lake Tribune


“The Sundance Film Festival is chock full of documentaries this year about the troubles besetting America… but A PLACE AT THE TABLE may rank AMONG THE MOST MOVING in that it tackles a seemingly straightforward, solvable problem: hunger in the United States.” — LA Times


“A PLACE AT THE TABLE is an ENGAGING AND ENRAGING movie that will enlist supporters for its cause.” – Variety

“A PLACE AT THE TABLE doesn’t offer any answers. Instead, it asks you to help find them by getting involved, which is the mark of an EXCELLENT DOCUMENTARY.”
— Toronto Film Scene

“How can you be both hungry and obese? It’s a paradox that more and more people in the United States are beginning to understand, and a question that’s convincingly answered in Finding North, A PROVOCATIVE DOCUMENTARY about hunger within America’s own borders.” — Press+

For parents, A PLACE AT THE TABLE will be devastating to watch. Seeing eloquent fifth-grader Rosie explain how it's hard to focus in class because her stomach hurts from being hungry, or watching an unhealthy, overweight Mississipi girl reveal that the only food she has at home is cookies and chips is upsetting. What's even more disturbing is all of the documentary's evidence that private food relief programs -- through churches and nonprofits -- mean well but don't solve the fundamental problem of hunger.

On the other hand, the movie follows some real champions of the cause: a Colorado pastor who picks up and delivers four pallets of food -- in addition to hot dinners -- to his congregants and community; Dr. Chilton, who founded a program to empower "Witnesses to Hunger" -- families in which at least one adult works but they still can't afford to feed their kids; and Bridges, who is Hollywood's most outspoken advocate for ending hunger. This isn't a happy documentary, but it's an important one that challenges how you think and what you assume about hunger, public assistance, and the needs of people -- in some cases, our neighbors -- who are hungry every day.

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