Q&A details here
JON BETZ | Director/Producer
Jon Betz is an emmy-nominated, award-winning independent documentary filmmaker. He is the co-director and co-producer of SEED: The Untold Story and the producer and editor for QUEEN OF THE SUN: What Are the Bees Telling Us? (2010). QUEEN OF THE SUN was critically- acclaimed during it’s U.S. theatrical release and heralded by The New York Times as “Revelatory! A Critic’s Pick” His previous film, MEMORIZE YOU SAW IT (2008) journals his experience as an aid worker living with former-child soldiers in Eastern Uganda. Betz is a Fledgling Outreach and Engagement and Lab Fellow, a Britdoc’s GOODPITCH alumni and a graduate from Rhode Island School of Design. He is the director of Collective Eye Films, a non-profit media production and distribution organization based in Portland, Oregon.
TAGGART SIEGEL | Director/Producer
Taggart Siegel has produced and directed Emmy-nominated, award-winning documentaries including QUEEN OF THE SUN: What are the Bees Telling Us? and THE REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN (ITVS, Independent Lens). These films received critical-acclaim during their theatrical release and garnered over 40 international awards. Siegel is a Fledgling Outreach and Engagement Lab Fellow and was selected to pitch at Britdoc’s GOODPITCH for SEED: The Untold Story. His previous PBS films include: SPLIT HORN, (ITVS, Independent Lens), BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, BLUE COLLAR AND BUDDHA and HEART BROKEN IN HALF. Collectively, they capture the struggle of refugees and immigrants in America. He produced the National Geographic film DISENCHANTED FOREST about orangutans in Borneo and was the director of SHADOW OF A PEPPER TREE. Taggart is the founder and Executive Director of Collective Eye Films, a non-profit media production and distribution organization based in Portland, Oregon.
For years, we have passionately made films that reveal our deep connection to nature and our food. The Real Dirt on Farmer John (2005), tells the story of a maverick farmer who saves his family farm against all odds. Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? (2010) investigates the mysterious colony collapse disorder ravaging honeybees around the world. Our latest film, SEED: The Untold Story began with an article in National Geographic reported that up to 96% of the vegetable seeds available in 1903 have disappeared. Within moments we knew that was our next film. The speed and scope of this loss is staggering, and its implications for our future are stark. As the renowned naturalist and author Gary Paul Nabhan puts it, “Many of our seeds today are as endangered as a panda or polar bear.” In an era of climate uncertainty, this dearth of diversity is a recipe for catastrophic crop failure and human suffering–not unlike The Great Famine of Ireland that saw the starvation of nearly a million people when their sole crop variety, a potato, was wiped out by blight. SEED explores a topic that is still largely unknown, yet it is increasingly urgent with climate change and the consolidation and control of the seed industry. SEED completes a trilogy of films that uncovers the invisible connections between our food and the natural world. As we filmed seed savers, farmers, scientists and indigenous communities for SEED, we were struck by how little their voices are heard. SEED presents audiences with a hidden fabric of our food, the people that painstakingly and meticulously curate the diversity of our food. The film charts a David and Goliath battle as these marginalized people fight the large corporate power of chemical companies that now control the majority of our food.