Film Spotlight: Hungry
Jillie Simon, writer, co-director, co-producer and actress for Hungry shared the following post:
Thomas Simon (co-director/composer/editor/co-producer of "Hungry") brought to my attention stories of a couple of teachers around the country who found out that children in their classroom were going hungry, as a result of the cuts to the S.N.A.P. program in the Farm Bill, and took action, feeding them out of pocket.
I thought that was a very important topic and story to put out there, so I wrote a narrative about a woman teacher who makes that discovery, and helps the kids in her school with her own money (though to her chagrin, she finds out that she and her husband had less in the bank than she thought and now they're broke). Upon delving further she finds out that 260,000 children nation-wide are being affected by those cuts and are going hungry as well, and realizes that in order to really make a difference in the lives of hungry children, she must step up, overcome her fear of speaking up in public, and fight for change at the governmental level.
According to Feeding America, in 2014, 15.3 million children in the U.S. lived in food-insecure households. According to the World Health Organization, 66 million primary school-age children across the developing world attend classes hungry.
Chronic hunger can prevent students from making the most of a formal education, no matter how hard they try to ignore its effects.
Another tragic statistic, according to the Hunger Project, is that nearly half of all deaths in children under 5 around the world (around 3 million children a year) are attributable to under-nutrition.
Our story is set in the U.S.A., but also touches on the bigger story which is that no child anywhere should be suffering from hunger - the resources are out there - and there needs to be the political will to put an end to hunger across our planet. "Hungry" is about empowerment, about using one's voice and taking action, and about the urgent need to feed hungry children. We also sprinkled humor (and rock and roll!) into our drama/adventure because it's an important part of life. Humor along with hope, help people through.
Our heroine Allison is an idealistic and big-hearted grade schoolteacher who learns that she’s going to have to practice what she teaches - that it's important to speak up - and that once we do dare to take action, all sorts of positive things can result... and one voice can snowball into a multitude of voices creating an avalanche of change.
We were honored that Oscar nominee Eric Roberts lent his considerable talents to the film because of his belief in the script and the importance of the cause. He flew down on a Saturday from Toronto where he was working simultaneously on two different television shows in order to play the slick and smooth Congressman Thicke. We shot his scenes all day Sunday and he flew back later that evening to be on set Monday morning in Toronto.
It was a joy to cast the rest of the roles as well. I've worked as a NYC-based actress for many years, and this film was a wonderful opportunity to work with this great community of actors.
We hope that our film will be one of many sparks of light combining to shine a spotlight on, and help to eradicate, the unnecessary suffering of children in the world.
Hungry screens March 16 at 8 pm at Bow Tie Chelsea Cinemas.