“The most important American issue you aren’t talking about.”
– Tablet Magazine
An exposé on the public health impact of factory farming across the United States, told through the eyes of residents in five rural communities. When pushed to their limit, these disenfranchised citizens band together to demand justice from their legislators.
Through the riveting stories of five rural communities, RIGHT TO HARM exposes the devastating public health impact factory farming has on many disadvantaged citizens throughout the United States. Filmed across the country, the documentary chronicles the failures of state agencies to regulate industrial animal agriculture. Known formally as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations – or CAFOs – these facilities produce millions of gallons of untreated waste that destroys the quality of life for nearby neighbors.
The film features agricultural economist John Ikerd, who abandoned industry beliefs after a 14-year career as a livestock marketing specialist. After the farm crisis of the 1980s he realized, “The farmers who were in the biggest trouble, were the ones doing the things we so-called experts were telling them to do.”
RIGHT TO HARM tracks the tribulations and triumphs of rural residents across America who are victims of the past 50 years of agricultural consolidation and the consequential laws that now govern the land. Fed up with the lack of regulation, these disenfranchised citizens band together to demand justice from their legislators.
Filmmakers Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher skillfully weave together five stories that span eight states from the Southwest to the Midwest to the Eastern Shore. Farmers, mothers, scientists and politicians share intimate stories of how their lives were forever changed by factory farming. RIGHT TO HARM is an enlightening exploration that questions whether citizens are entitled to clean air and water, while examining the political issues that stand in the way of nationwide reform.
ABOUT THE CAST
ABOUT OUR TEAM
Director / Cinematographer
Matt Wechsler is an award winning documentarian, sustainable food activist and urban gardener from Evanston, Illinois. His passion for filmmaking started when he was ten years old and has blossomed from making short films to exposing social injustice around the country. His 2012 New York Emmy-nominated documentary, Different is the New Normal, aired nationally on PBS and was narrated by Michael J. Fox. His latest film, Sustainable, is now available on Netflix and received the 2016 Accolade Global Humanitarian Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Director / Producer
Annie is a creative storyteller, filmmaker and sustainable food advocate. She started her career in television, editing Rick Bayless’ Mexico: One Plate at a Time. When she began working with Matt at Hourglass Films, she found her true calling in documentary film. Recently, she produced her first feature-length documentary, Sustainable, which explores America’s food system and how we can protect it for future generations. An expert producer, director, sound recordist and Hoosier at heart, Annie brings a boundless love for humanity to every production.
Mark Bittman is the author of 20 acclaimed books, including the How to Cook Everything series, the award-winning Food Matters, and The New York Times number-one bestseller, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00. For more than two decades his popular and compelling stories appeared in the Times, where he was ultimately the lead food writer for the Sunday Magazine and became the country’s first food-focused Op-Ed columnist for a major news publication. Throughout his career Bittman has strived for the same goal: to make the food, in all its aspects, understandable.
Kendra Kimbirauskas is an Oregon-based farmer who grew up on a Midwestern dairy farm. She has worked with the non-profit Socially Responsible Agricultural Project on its grassroots organizing and informational campaigns to hold factory farms accountable. Kendra has also collaborated with Sierra Club and the Oregon League of Conservative Voters, and co-founded the group Friends of Family Farmers. She and her husband currently farm 70 acres near Scio, Oregon, where they raise heritage breed animals.
Reven Fellars brought Robert Leathers to Chicago some thirty years ago to help with the design of Oz Park’s community-built children’s playground. More recently she has been involved with Chicago’s school food program, Cooking Up Change, Healthy Schools Campaign and other innovative sustainable food operations. Reven was also an executive producer on the 2016 documentary Sustainable by Hourglass Films.
Bess Celio was the founding Board Chair of the Healthy Schools Campaign, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to ensuring all students have access to healthy school environments where they can learn and thrive. For the past 20 years she has been involved with promoting local sustainable food projects and creating access to healthy food that is affordable and sustainably produced. Bess was also an executive producer on the 2016 documentary Sustainable by Hourglass Films.
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