If you haven’t heard of filmmaker Marisa Miller Wolfson yet, then you should get to know more about her. Her most recent film Vegucated tracked the lives of three meat and cheese loving New Yorkers who pledged to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks.
The best thing about the film is how it balances the issues tactfully and thoughtfully while also including some humorous moments. Like Marisa, I believe that when it comes to animal rights it’s important to not only talk the talk, but to walk the walk as well. Those of us who feel that real changes need to be made in the food industry have to actively seek ways to make those changes happen.
I recently interviewed Marisa and here is what she has to share:
How long have you been involved in animal activism?
I suppose I’ve always been an animal advocate ever since I was a kid, rescuing animals when they crossed my path.
How long have you been involved in vegan activism?
Can you share the story of how you became vegan and what prompted this work? Was the treatment of animals a factor in your upbringing?
It was one Sunday ten years ago that I attended a screening of an old documentary called We Are All Noah and learned how animals suffer in animal agriculture. I asked myself if it was ok to pay someone else to kill an animal for my pleasure. The answer was a resounding “no.” My mom taught me to be compassionate towards animals and to try to help them whenever I got the chance. I went vegetarian on the spot, then vegan three months later once I learned about the cruelty inherent in the egg and dairy industries, the environmental costs associated with animal ag, and the health benefits of going vegan.
How did Vegucated come about? How long has the project been in the works?
It was eight years ago that I was sitting in a screening of Super Size Me that I thought how amazing it would be to show someone detoxing from the standard American diet like Morgan Spurlock detoxed from his burger binge on a vegan diet. But that film would cover the environmental and animal ethics sides as well, since that’s where my heart is. My colleague at the time, Mary Max, shared the vision, and we decided to make a film.
What is the premise of Vegucated?
We took three meat and cheese lovers with different backgrounds and challenges and had them take a vegan challenge for six weeks. They learned the how-to’s of making the transition, but the really fun part was capturing how they navigated the challenges along the way and how their whole worldview changed when they learned the truth about animal agriculture.
How were the film participants affected?
Well, physically, their health improved, but mentally, they all had emotional and psychological 180-degree turns. They went from having all kinds of stereotypes of vegans and negative beliefs about what they themselves would be capable of to recognizing that plant-based
living makes sense for so many reasons and is super rewarding.
What message do you want the public to remember when they watch the film?
That they have the power to nudge the world in a more compassionate, sustainable, and healthful direction just by making simple food changes every day.
What would you tell future generations?
I believe strongly that in the future, a more socially evolved, more humane society will look back at us and wonder how we could have done such barbaric things to animals, to the planet, to our own bodies. To them I’d say that we did our best, that it’s a process, and I’d encourage them to always keep evolving, keep expanding their circle of compassion, and to see themselves as part of an interconnected web of life that deserves respect and protection.
When did Vegucated premiere?
What are your plans for the film, and/or do you have future films in mind?
We’re trying to get educational distribution so the film can reach more students in high schools, colleges, etc., and we’re going to translate it into several languages. We also just created Vegucated Challenges where people can sign up to go vegan for a month or go vegan within a month, and they get tips and tricks in their inboxes every day. Plus, we’re building a community site so people can connect with each other, post blogs and vlogs about their vegan challenges, and support each other.
Where can readers find out more about Vegucated?
Thank you so much for your time Marisa. I really appreciate you sharing your story and I applaud you in your effort in advocating for animal rights.
Marisa has sponsored two copies of the documentary in a giveaway for this site. If you would like to enter to win a copy of this amazing film, you can do so below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway