Past Event

Civic Cinema: King Corn

Join us for a screening of the critically-acclaimed documentary King Corn, followed by a thought-provoking discussion about the availability and sustainability of food in modern culture.

This event is free and open to the public. Reservations are required and can be made online, by e-mail, or by calling 312.422.5580.

King Corn is the story of two friends who grow an acre of corn in Iowa and learn the disturbing truth about growing and consuming food in modern America.

"Enormously entertaining! A moral, socio-economic odyssey through the American food system." The Boston Globe

The post-screening discussion with local food activist LaDonna Redmond and artist Claire Pentecost will ask: what exactly goes into making the food in a local grocery store? And what do you eat if there isn’t a store around you? How can we combat the "food desert" phenomenon? How can the average consumer agitate for greater access to local and sustainable products in their neighborhood? Join us for an intriguing look at the truth about what we eat every day.

LaDonna Redmond is a community food security activist working on Chicago’s west side. She is the President and CEO of The Institute for Community Resource Development (ICRD), a non-profit, community based organization that assists residents of urban communities obtain access to safe, healthy food through the development of alternative food systems. Ms. Redmond and her husband Tracey are involved in developing an urban farm in partnership with the University of Illinois. She sits on numerous local and national boards, including the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture and Governor Rod Blagojevich’s Advisory Council on Agriculture, the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago’s Children, and the Chicago Public School Task Force to Improve Healthy Eating. Ms. Redmond’s writing has appeared in Orion Magazine, New Farm, and the New York Times. She received her BA from Antioch College.

Claire Pentecost is an artist and writer, engaging a variety of media to interrogate the imaginative and institutional structures that organize divisions of knowledge. Having spent years tinkering in a conceptual laboratory for ideas about the natural and the artificial, her recent projects concentrate on industrial and bioengineered agriculture, the alternatives and the trade regimes that force one over the other. She is currently work-shopping a beta phase of VisibleFood: a wiki based website dedicated to exposing the hidden costs of the global corporate system that produces our food. Pentecost is Associate Professor in the Photography Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she teaches photography, drawing, critical theory and interdisciplinary seminars. You can learn more about her work at her website.

King Corn
is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the east coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America’s most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat-and how we farm. For more information, visit the film’s official website.

This program is co-sponsored by The Public Square at the IHC, Independent Television Service (ITVS), the Chicago Cultural Center, Independent Lens, and WTTW Channel 11.

This event is part of The Public Square at the IHC‘s Civic Cinema program, a series of films, forums, and conversations that uses the most exceptionally creative and engaging documentary films of our times as a springboard for talking about some of the most pressing and challenging social issues facing us.

For more information, call 312.422.5580. Reservations are required. The film runs approximately 85 minutes.