Aube Giroux’s Modified to be Screened at Kings County Museum
By Wendy Elliott
October is non-GMO month, and the moving documentary Modified will be screened October 22 at the Kings County Museum in Kentville. That’s prior to its screening at the Seoul International Film Festival in Korea. Modified recently received its ninth festival award at Green Screen International Wildlife Film Festival in Germany.
Filmmaker Aube Giroux, who grew up in the Valley, lived in Europe for two years where genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are labelled on food products, and recalls coming home and feeling frustrated that they weren’t clearly identified on this continent. Her frustration grew learning that over 80 per cent of Canadians and Americans want GMO labeling. “The more we looked into it, the more it seemed that industry was calling the shots when it came to policies around GMOs.”
Giroux had always imagined the film would begin in her mother Jali’s lush garden, where their shared love of food and cooking came from, “but after she was diagnosed with brain cancer two years into the film’s production, the film unexpectedly became more personal and intimate than I had originally envisioned. It became a tribute to my mom’s deep love of gardening and cooking, and to her firm belief that we all have a right to know how our food is produced.”
Modified was sold out when it screened last year in Wolfville. Questioning why Canada does not label GMOs is pretty important, especially when you see Giroux held up by red tape. Audience members watch her calling Health Canada month after month trying to pose her questions. Giroux wanted to find out why Canada has refused to label GMOs since their introduction 20 years ago, and 64 countries around the world already require that GMOs be labeled in food products. Canadian taxpayers should know what their government is doing to regulate food, Giroux says. Giroux spent the past decade or so documenting the grassroots battle around GMO labelling on this continent. She brings her personal and family passion to the project.
A private member’s bill that would have required a label to sell “any food that is genetically modified” was defeated in the House of Commons. Quebec NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault introduced the draft legislation, which was supported by just 67 MPs. The majority of the Liberal caucus and all Conservative MPs voted against it.
Modified goes a long way to expose the cozy relationship between the biotech industry and government. It is anchored in a caring mother who died of cancer during the film’s production. Giroux almost gave up the project, but then found herself re-invigorated.
The film’s release came just one month after the announcement that five tons of GM salmon had been sold in Canada. Canada is the first country in the world to sell a GM animal for human consumption.
This documentary proves that Canadians deserve a more transparent and sustainable food system. If over 60 other countries can offer their citizens better information about what they eat, why can’t this one?
The screening in Kentville is set for 6pm.