Proud2Bme | Consumption: Where Science Fiction Meets EDs

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Consumption: Where Science Fiction Meets EDs

By Bailey Webber--An exciting, new film, called Consumption, is exploring the idea of food and how it affects our lives. The film takes place in a futurist society where food is outlawed, and humans survive on a supplement. The main character, Corinne, is faced with a life-defining choice: to blindly follow society’s norms or eat the forbidden food that she desires.

I had the privilege to interview the writer, producer, director and editor, Brittany Rafalak, to learn more about her film and the inspirations behind it!

Bailey Webber: Tell me a bit about yourself.

Brittany Rafalak: I grew up in Denver, CO and I started taking photos and making short films when I was a junior in high school. My family and friends were very supportive, so I decided to pursue a degree in film. I went to University of the Arts in Philadelphia and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film. Now I'm a graduate student at The New School and this year I'll have a Master of Arts degree in Media Studies. Consumption is my thesis project. I live in Philly with my husband and dog and I love it here! I also love making films in Philly, as it is a very unique city. Aside from filmmaking, I'm interested in learning, art, animals (especially dogs), traveling, and spending time with family.

BW: How did you come up with this idea and what inspired you to write about a society where food is outlawed?

BR: The idea for Consumption came from my thoughts about how food affects our lives, from the way we plan our lives around eating to the way food makes us feel. I wondered about how we need food to survive, but the way we can eat sometimes is so far from eating for survival. I also thought a lot about how societal moral codes change over time and how something that is taboo at one point can be accepted in the future. In Consumption, food is the vice but to us, food is natural, something we take part in every day. But in the film's society, food is looked down upon because of society's futuristic (yet fictitious) notions about food.

It's also about eating issues. This encompasses eating disorders and the undiagnosed eating issues people have that are results of the poor food quality and eating habits that are accepted as the norm. I feel that a lot of Americans have eating issues because of the food that's available to us in everyday settings (fast food, packaged food, food where a lot of the nutrition has been removed, etc.). Consumption is also a commentary about how society can be judgmental about actions rather than seeking the truth.

BW: It seems that Corinne’s relationship with food is very similar to people dealing with eating disorders in our society.  They feel as if some food is “outlawed” and there is a sense of guilt and regret. The Proud2Bme community will be very fascinated with your movie’s main character, Corinne, and her struggles with food.  What kind of impact do you want to have with your film in regards to eating disorders and struggles with food?

BR: I've noticed that American culture tends to encourage being thin, but when people develop eating disorders, their habits are seen as taboo or shameful. In Corinne's world, the situation is flipped—eating is seen as taboo. I thought this was an interesting way to play with the subject of societal judgment around eating and eating disorders.

I hope that people with eating disorders and struggles with food that watch the film see that if they take a step back and try to view things objectively (just as they are when watching Consumption—viewing Corinne's fictional situation), they will notice that feelings of shame, negativity, and judgment from others are not their fault—sometimes society sucks, and the best way to deal with that is to 1) focus on positivity and 2) help others, as Corinne does in the film.

BW: You’ve said that you want to present women and people of color as something that transcends stereotypes and your film, Consumption, is illustrative of this goal. Can you tell me a little bit more about this goal?

BR: Consumption's main character, Corinne (as well as the supporting protagonist, Zoe), are women of color who are not sexualized, stereotypical portrayals of Black women. This is important to me because I'm a woman of color and I grew up without positive, relatable black female lead characters in sci-fi and fantasy films (and most other genres of film and television.) This is surprising, considering I grew up in the 90s and 00s. Now that I'm a filmmaker, I feel that I have some control over how black women are portrayed. I can clearly see the state of how women are shown in film and television and I intend to do something about it!

BW: What stage of production is the film currently in? When and where can we expect to see the film?

BR: The film is finished. It screened with the improvised score on March 28th and I've entered it into a few local film festivals. Consumption will be posted online within the year. You can check my website for clips of the film and updates. 

BW: What advice would you give to young people about body positivity and creating art with a message?

BR: I think art and media that deal with body positivity, and even creative works that deal with body and eating issues are needed. I encourage young artists to create work that makes the world more just.

About this blogger: Bailey Webber is a student investigative journalist, writer and co-director of The Student Body - an inspiring new film being released this spring that explores the controversial issue of government mandated BMI testing of students and the ensuing 'Fat Letters'. 

Also by Bailey:

Presumed Guilty: The Public's Perception of Childhood Obesity

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