Q&A with Forks Over Knives Filmmaker Brian Wendel

By Jolia Sidona Allen February 8, 2011 Categories: Film, Interviews, Movie on a Mission

Q & A with Filmmaker Brian Wendel

While foodie blockbusters such as Supersize Me and Food, Inc. touched on the health benefits of plant-based eating, Forks Over Knives is the first flick to hit the big screen that has taken the subject on full-force. The documentary features interviews with top-notch physicians and nutrition researchers, including T. Colin Campbell, PhD, coauthor of The China Study. The curtain rises on May 6th in New York and Los Angeles, and May 13th nationwide. On the edge of your seat? Sit back, relax, and enjoy VT‘s conversation with the film’s creator and executive producer, Brian Wendell.

Q  Fork Over Knives makes the connection between the foods we eat and the diseases we suffer from. Why is it so difficult for many Americans to make this connection and, consequently, to make the dietary changes necessary to cure themselves?

A  The challenge is that we have been led to believe from the time we are young that a diet comprised of animal-based foods is healthful and necessary. So attempts to modify diet usually consist of substituting one animal food for another, removing some processed food, or modifying the presence of an individual nutrient like fat. The results in making these changes are not consistent, so it is easy to draw false conclusions about the power of food.

Looking at our daily caloric intake, most of the food we eat is animal-based and refined, regardless of what “diet” we are on. When people shift to a diet based in whole plant foods, there is usually a stark difference and consistent results—like what is seen in the film.  As more people shift to this way of eating, the connection will be more apparent, and even more will make the necessary changes to improve their health.

Q  One of the reasons this film is so powerful is that it weaves the lifes’s work of so many accomplished physicians and nutritional researchers into one tapestry. When you think back on all the interviews that you did for the film, what did you learn that was eye-opening for you?

A  The most revealing thing for me was learning about how our academic institutions have let us down as far as nutritional science is concerned. If they would have supported Dr. Campbell’s and others’ important research, the history of health and nutrition in this country would have been very different. Rates of degenerative disease would be on a downward slope now.

Q  The film connects the dots between so many unsettling statistics. Which of the many statistics cited in the film startles and scares you the most, and why?

A  The most startling statistic for me, because of its clear contrast to the US, is the number of prostate cancer deaths in Japan in 1958. The island nation had 18 and the US, even though it had only about twice Japan’s population, had over 14,000.

The statistics in the film do not scare me. They are evidence that we have control over these devastating illnesses, despite perceptions otherwise. This is good news.

Q  What is your best advice for those who see the film and are inspired to make the switch to a plant-based diet for the first time?

A  Enjoy the journey. There are often challenging moments any time you make a significant life change. Before long, you will likely see the benefits of a whole foods plant-based diet and won’t be missing the old lifestyle.

Want to watch the trailer or catch an advanced screening in your area? Visit www.forksoverknives.com.


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comments

Very insightful. Thanks VT for an excellent interview on a life-changing film.

Diane Krstulovich - 2012-05-22 00:21:00

Phoebe, thanks for your post. I didn't know there was certification course offered to the general public by Dr. Campbell. It looks very interesting and I am thinking of signing up! I plan to give FOK DVDs for Christmas and as the recipients to watch and pass it on as a FOK pay it forward. I hope to spread the word!!

Tia - 2011-12-20 10:35:09

Just saw the film, and it makes perfect sense. How does one go about learning how to cook,create and plan meals differently?! My husband and I are looking into this immediately; we eat organically, but now would like to try the whole plant food diet.

Paula Riley - 2011-10-07 21:33:57

When will we be able to see this movie in New Zealand or on video?

Janette M Riley - 2011-08-17 21:32:21

The film will be released on DVD in Fall 2011. Right now it is going through various movie theatres as a documentary. You could probably call your local theatre and ask them to show it.

Jim from Sacramento - 2011-05-06 18:02:19

Really looking forward to seeing the film, my husband and I have been on a plant based diet for 2 months now and have seen some changes for the better!

Sandy Dufresne - 2011-04-20 15:12:28

As a Certified Plant Based Nutrition Specialist, I couldn't be more excited about this film. I can't wait to go see it on the 6th! I agree that people are concerned about making the switch to plant based diets for fear of protein deficiency (which just won't happen). There are so many of us working to dispell the myths...I am passionate about getting the word out about the merits of a plant based diet and do so through my website: www.veggiegrettie.com

Gretchen - 2011-03-01 22:39:07

My husband, a physician, and I started the plant based diet last year after reading Dr. Campbell and Dr. Esselstyn's book. Our lipid panels are very much improved and between us we have lost 105 pounds. We love the food and improved health.

allison - 2011-03-01 20:26:17

Is this film available for purchase on DVD?

aj - 2011-02-27 00:01:46

I took the plant-based nutrition certification course by T. Colin Campbell and learned so much. However, it wasn't until I experimented with the diet that I fully saw the benefits. Energy is higher, I feel better–less digestive issues, and I stay slim. This is not about a "diet" to lose weight, rather it's a eating regimen that will help you live a longer, healthier life. http://ThePlantBasedDiet.com Can't wait to see the film...thanks for making it!

Phoebe - 2011-02-18 23:05:09

Hope it's going to screen in New Zealand?

Ruth Newbury - 2011-02-12 17:23:20

With a background in Social Science, much of my training was in research and in learning to think critically. I was impressed how this film was able to condense this important research, gather clinical evidence, and illustrate it in the lives of everyday people. The film was right, Preventing disease is a simple thing to do --if you have an open mind!

Clarence Widerburg, M.S.W., - 2011-02-10 04:54:29

I hope health care professionals see this film, as well as anyone who cares about staying healthy. If they apply what is learned we will see dramatic improvements in our nation's health. Looking forward to the theater release in May!

Armaiti May - 2011-02-09 21:41:16

The question and answer about why people hesitate to change their diet to plant based is as said, Fear of not getting the proteins and calcium that we are brainwashed into thinking are only contained in animal foods. Education is the key, and the sooner people learn what actually is real, the sooner they will venture out to make the change. This film, and others like it, will do exactly that!

adelle - 2011-02-09 19:33:00

This movie was fantastic! A must see for everyone, I hope it gets a wide distribution.

Sarah - 2011-02-09 17:39:51