Ed. Note: Writer, activist, lecturer and filmmaker Byron Hurt takes on tough subjects for the right reasons. His previous film “Beyond Beats and Rhymes,” explored the world of Hip-hop and music videos, and its affect on ideas of masculinity among youth and the black community. In his latest documentary, “Soul Food Junkies,” the New Jersey native examines the history of African American culinary culture, its connection to black identity and the impact it has had on African American’s health. It also digs into the growing food justice movement now taking root. The film airs on PBS Monday Jan 14th as part of the Independent Lens series. Hurt spoke with Richmond Pulse editor Malcolm Marshall.
Richmond Pulse: Tell me about Soul Food Junkies and why you made this film.
Byron Hurt: The film “Soul Food Junkies” is a really personal and intimate story about my family and my relationship with my father and my father’s relationship with food, Soul food in particular but also fast food and other processed food. The story is about me sort of challenging my father to change his eating habits once he became seriously ill, and learning and realizing how difficult it was for him to do that. And then taking a journey to learn more about soul food’s history and why we’re so emotionally connected to the food. The film is humorous, informational and its emotional, and I think audiences will really appreciate it.
RP: How long did it take you to put this film together?
BH: I came up with the idea back in 2004 when my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I started working on the film in 2009, when I got my first funding. So we started shooting in June of 2009 and we finished in 2012 so it was about 3 years once we started production.
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