I was lucky enough in the past week to host five screening + Q&As for a new Aussie film that’s about to take the nation (and probably western world) by storm.
It’s called That Sugar Film and is directed by Damon Gameau, an Australian actor and filmmaker, who actually won Tropfest Short Film Festival back in 2011 with Animal Beatbox, to much online debate.
His new film is kind of like a Supersize Me, but with sugar. But instead of chowing down on Maccas everyday, Damon eats 40 teaspoons worth of sugar everyday for 60 days – and only through foods advertised as ‘healthy’. So no chocolate, ice-cream or lollies. Just cereals, low-fat yoghurts, pre-packaged stir fry sauces and the like.
It’s astonishing to a) see how easy it is to eat 40 teaspoons each day and b) see just how sick he becomes.
What also surprised me, is just how palatable (no pun intended) this film is. A lot of people don’t enjoy documentaries, because the stereotype is they can be dry and intensely factual. But while That Sugar Film might lose a bit of steam about three quarters in, it’s hugely entertaining and tremendous fun, considering we’re watching a guy torture his body with sugar for two months. In the screenings I was at, small children sat as mesmerised as their parents while watching Damon happily poke fun at himself and get people laughing – and learning – at the same time.
It’s definitely a flick that stays with you. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to look at cereal the same way. And in fact, just today, in an effort to cut out some of the hidden sugars in my diet, I made some cottage cheese muffins so I wouldn’t reach for a chocolate pick-me-up. And after the shock-horror of seeing how much junk goes into wraps, I also whipped up a few homemade versions of them too.
That Sugar Film just got a limited run on screens here in Australia and it’s heading to cinemas around the world. Definitely worth seeing this doco, which packs a lot of food for thought. Just remember to skip the candy bar on your way – you’ve been warned!