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“The World’s Most Dangerous Myth – that we Need Meat to Be Strong”: Director Louie Psihoyos | The Game Changers

The Game Changers

As you made your film during the increasingly chaotic backdrop of the last year, how did you as a filmmaker control, ignore, give in to or, conversely, perhaps creatively exploit the wild and unpredictable? What roles did chaos and order play in your films?

We were making a film about how a plant-based diet might improve performance in elite athletes by improving blood flow, reducing inflammation and decreasing recovery time. It turns out that these advantages in athletic performance are caused by the same mechanisms that affect our overall health. In the middle of filming, our main subject’s father had a heart attack. Eating an animal-heavy diet dramatically increases the likelihood of having coronary heart disease and many other common health issues. Our main character, combatives trainer and winner of The Ultimate Fighter, James “Lightning” Wilks, and his father come from a town in England regarded as “The Rural Capital of Food.” It’s a picturesque town straight out of a cinematographer’s dream — a classic English village from the 1930s. It’s also the home of Stilton Cheese and the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie — classic heart attack food. The turn of events of James’ father’s heart attack were tragic, but it led the story in a direction that escalated the importance of the film beyond athletes and their quest for optimal performance. It also helped us expose the world’s most dangerous myth — that we need meat to be strong — in a way that didn’t feel like we were preaching. It became part of James’ emotional journey.

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Friday, January 19 at 3:30pm — Ray]

Sundance 2018 Responses

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