Robert Kenner is known for directing the following documentaries the Oscar Nominated “Food Inc.” and the recent “When Strangers Click”. Media Mikes had a chance to chat with Robert about working on his new documentary “When Strangers Click” as well as “Food Inc.” and also what he has planned next.
Mike Gencarelli: Can you give us some background on your newest film?
Robert Kenner: After doing “Food Inc.” which was a very serious topic I was sort of hijacked by the food world. It’s a great world and I think “Food Inc.” is about a lot more than just food. The film is more so about how the world of food has been industrialized. In a way “Food Inc.” taught you about how the world of food has changed and “When Strangers Click” is teaching about how the world of love has been changed. On one hand the film is about how we fall in love and on the other it’s about how the world has become a different place. For me some of the stories in the film are jaw dropping.
MG: How did you find the five people in the film?
RK: Marc Weiss had found a lot of these stories and he brought them to me. Marc was the guy who started “P.O.V.”. I initially wasn’t interested in the stories until I started to see how powerful they were. We had kept talking to people but the ones in the series really jumped out at us. They are amazing stories and characters that you could never write.
MG: How long did it take to complete the project?
RK: It was all pretty quick. We did the first pieces on spec and we added the last interview which we thought was the most unbelievable towards the end of the project. That interview was a whole new way of looking at the world.
MG: Production wise how do you feel this project differs from that on “Food Inc.”?
RK: These were much more self contained stories. Technically we broke some new ground and went to some different places. Shooting on second life was a brand new experience for me. I was amazed at how beautiful it. I was thrilled by this experience.
MG: What is the first thing you do when you decide to do a project?
RK: This project sort of snuck up on me. I went out and shot a few stories that were handed to me. We shot them all relatively quick. In the midst of shooting I thought the stories were just so great. I never really committed to making the film. We brought the stories to HBO and they fell in love with them the same way we had. The next thing I know we were making a movie. I thought I was just out there having some fun.
MG: Did you have to cut a lot of footage to get the movie to its final run time?
RK: No. That’s just where we were. I actually had one story that wasn’t going to be included but it was so well liked in ended up in the film. This was a film I never committed to making I just got sucked in. We shot for a few days and then we had a movie. It all happened so quick and easy. The film turned into so much more than I was anticipating.
MG: Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
RK: I have two projects. One is titled “Fixfood.org”. I will be small little videos about how we can change the food system combined with some very active political campaigns. The other film is about how doubt is created by tobacco companies telling you that cigarettes aren’t really bad for you. That film is titled “Merchants of Doubt”.